Thanks to Cody Cedotal, Resident Small Game/ Wild Turkey Program Manager for the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for providing us with these exclusive insights into turkey season.
Question: It has been an exceptionally cold winter and the cold still lingered into the first week of spring. What effect will that have on turkeys?
As most are aware of by now, we have delayed the start of the LA Turkey Season by 2 weeks in an attempt to stabilize our harvest and increase our population. We are hopeful that this delay will allow more time for uninterrupted breeding and ultimately improve reproduction when coupled with favorable weather conditions during nesting and brood rearing periods. Due in part to the season change, the impacts of a cold winter on turkey breeding activity should be minimized as temperatures seem to be back on the rise as we start spring. The increase in day length should have signaled some hens to start the nesting process, although based on nesting data from research in LA, nest initiation will not peak until the second week of April (see chart below) No doubt gobbling has commenced, but based on my personal observations and reports I have received up until now, gobbling activity has been very inconsistent with birds gobbling a few times some mornings and not at all on others.
Here are the reported harvest numbers by parish for turkeys from last season:
High water during Spring and early Summer is always concerning. This is a critical time as hens are nesting and raising broods. Although river levels are falling at the moment, another “Spring” flood is being forecast for the future. Depending on timing, this could be detrimental to wild turkey reproduction in some of our bottomland areas and even force season closures on some WMAs. We are currently monitoring this very closely.
Question: Any general information you’d like to share?
I’d just like remind everyone to be safe in the turkey woods and wish everyone good luck this season!