Here are some interesting facts for next time you are talking turkey with fellow hunters. During the years following World War II, Louisiana’s eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) population was at its lowest point. In 1946 it was reported that only 14 isolated flocks totaling less than 1,500 wild turkeys remained throughout the state. Tireless efforts by LDWF biologists and other staff to restock wild trapped turkeys resulted in a rebound in Louisiana’s wild turkey population. During this effort, others such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, private landowners, and others lended vital support. Today, wild turkeys are distributed across Louisiana and most suitable habitat is occupied.
The eastern wild turkey is the largest game bird native to Louisiana. Gobblers average about 17 pounds with some birds weighing up to 25 pounds. Hens average between 8 and 11 pounds. Gobblers have a bronzy, iridescent body plumage with black-tipped breast feathers, and hens have light-brown breast feather tips. Gobblers typically have a tuft of modified feathers called a “beard” protruding from the breast, along with an upwardly curving spur on the lower legs. Hens lack the beard and spurs.
Got your gear ready? The season is just around the corner. Stay tuned for regular updates in the Simmons’ Turkey Report!