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Turkey Hunting in Louisiana



Not available

Wild Turkey Population


Turkey Subspecies

Estimated 24,400 turkey hunters

Number of Licenses Sold Annually


Basic hunting, $20; turkey, $12

Cost of Resident License and Permit

$100 to $250

Basic hunting, $200; turkey, $50; nonresident five-day basic hunting, $65; nonresident five-day turkey, $35

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: eastern_7_nation

Photo by Tom Reichner

We love Louisiana for its people, lifestyle, and culture. The state has a solid duck hunting tradition. Duck hunt the state. Fish it. Enjoy its fine food. But at Realtree's Turkey Hunting Nation, we're talking about turkeys.

Some history: According to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, before 1880, Louisiana's estimated turkey population was 1 million birds. By the 1900s, the state's turkey population saw a steep decline. Starting in 1962, the state initiated a trap-and-transfer restoration program of wild-captured turkeys released into suitable habitat. As noted on the state's website: During the years after World War II, Louisiana’s Eastern turkey population was at its lowest point. In 1946, it was reported that only 14 isolated flocks totaling fewer 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, turkeys are distributed across Louisiana and most suitable habitat is occupied.

For a time, solid results were seen from this conservation effort, and numbers grew. Unfortunately bird numbers have steadily declined of late. Just a handful of years ago, state officials estimated the turkey population at 80,000 birds. As of 2023, according to the NWTF, that number was 40,000. When you consider the declining turkey population, factored in with the limited amount of public land available to turkey hunting, Louisiana has just fair opportunities. For sure, the state's wildlife management areas are open to public hunting, but sources say not all hold turkeys or are recommended for turkey hunting. That said, LDWF’s wildlife management areas offer lottery hunts for youth hunters, physically challenged hunters, disabled veterans, and the public to hunt alligators, deer, dove, turkeys, and waterfowl. One important note, and it benefits turkey management: You cannot shoot a bearded hen.

Harvest data indicates 5,000 birds were taken during the 2023 season.

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