Release Date: 11/08/2005

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) will take into account the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries proposed changes and additions to the 2006 Turkey Hunting Rules and Regulations notice of intent they received at their Nov. 3 meeting.  The changes and the original notice of intent will be voted on at their next meeting slated for Dec. 8.  The changes include:

* Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closed to protect the remaining birds, while the habitat recovers from Hurricane Katrina damage.  This area has a low turkey population that was problematic for several years.  In the original notice of intent, LDWF recommended a nine-day season as opposed to a 25-day season in 2005.

* A small portion of Bossier and Webster parishes will be closed to protect the release of wild turkeys to help improve the population.  This area encompasses Camp Minden and wild turkeys are near absent.  However, the Louisiana Army National Guard has made improvements to the habitat on Camp Minden and the department has agreed to release turkeys on the site.  

* The statewide private lands youth hunt that takes place on March 18 and 19 will be expanded to include wheelchair-confined hunters of any age.  This recommendation is in response to a request by a disabled hunter at the August commission meeting.  Disabled hunters under the age of 18 must have a Physically Challenged Hunter Permit with wheelchair classification to participate. 

* By the request of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, a youth lottery turkey hunt will be added for the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  This will be the first turkey season for this NWR.

The original notice of intent for the 2006 Turkey Season included:

* Turkey Season will open statewide on March 25, 2006.  The season in area A would extend to April 23, Area B to April 16 and Area C to April 2.  These are basic calendar adjustments from last years framework.  The daily bag limit is one gobbler, and the season limit is two gobblers.

* Several changes are recommended for this years WMA turkey hunting.  The season on Pomme de Terre WMA will be closed due to declining turkey numbers.  Seasons on Bens Creek and Sandy Hollow will be shortened by a week this year.

* Youth lottery hunts will be added to Thistlethwaite and Spring Bayou WMAs.  WMAs with youth lottery hunts will be closed to all activities except fishing on the day of the youth hunt.  Applicants will have to be at least 8-years-old to participate on WMA youth lottery hunts.

Public comment on this issue can be submitted by Nov. 30 to David Moreland, Administrator, Wildlife Division, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000.

EDITORS:  For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-0823 or fkimmel@wlf.louisiana.gov.