Hunting

Resident Small Game Program

Resident Small Game Program

The Resident Small Game Program involves management, research and population monitoring activities for bobwhite quail, rabbits, and squirrels. Personnel also develop and participate in the wild turkey research conducted by the Department.  Cody Cedotal (ccedotal@wlf.la.gov), Resident Small Game and Wild Turkey Program Leader, coordinates the Resident Small Game Program.

In order to meet public demands for resident small game, the Resident Small Game Program and Technical Services Program offer technical assistance to improve habitat on public and private lands. Program biologists also conduct research to assess and improve management. Several population monitoring surveys are conducted by regional and program biologists to develop population indices and track population trends of small game species.  Personnel also represent the Department on various committees which are involved in monitoring and formulating regional and national programs which may have impacts on small game wildlife.

NORTHERN BOBWHITE

Population Status
Data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey show bobwhite quail populations in Louisiana have declined by about 75% since 1966. The Department's fall surveys also illustrate a general downward trend. This is due primarily to habitat degradation. Clean farming techniques in the agricultural regions of the state have all but eliminated quail from these areas. Intensive pine management that features short-rotation densely stocked monoculture pine stands and infrequent prescribed burning has reduced quail populations in the forested upland regions of Louisiana. In addition, a number of unusually dry summers in recent years has resulted in poor reproduction and exacerbated the effects of habitat degradation. However, much of the habitat loss occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. As a consequence, in recent years the population indices have been more stable and influenced primarily by summer weather conditions.

In an effort to address long-term population declines in bobwhite quail and other birds dependent on grassland habitat, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has joined 25 other National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) member states to support the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) to help restore bobwhite quail to their former range.  The NBCI was established by the member states to work fulltime at the state and national level to address landscape scale challenges limiting bobwhite quail.  To this end, a unified bobwhite quail restoration strategy named “NBCI 2.0” has been established.  The following NBCI information is available for use by state, federal, and private land managers:

NBCI Executive Summary

NBCI ver 2.0

 Since 1967, Louisiana's bobwhite quail populations have declined by approximately 75%.  Louisiana is not the only state where bobwhites have declined precipitously.  Bobwhite populations across the southeastern U.S. have declined by about 60%.  This downward trend is not limited to bobwhite quail.  Other species that require similar habitat such as eastern meadowlark and loggerhead shrike have also exhibited significant population declines.

There are a variety of programs available through federal and state agencies that provide technical and financial assistance to landowners willing to implement practices beneficial to quail and grassland birds.  LDWF is involved in efforts to inform landowners and promote participation in these conservation programs.

Reversing the downward trend in quail and grassland bird populations will not happen overnight.  This is a long-term venture that will require the commitment and cooperation of numerous organizations, agencies, and most importantly, individual landowners.  Agencies,  organizations and landowners will have to work together in a coordinated effort to restore the ecosystems and habitat that are home to bobwhite quail and many other species.

LDWF and its partners are engaged in a number of projects that are directed at restoring the type of habitat required by quail.

  • The West Gulf Coastal Plain Prescribed Burning Initiative and East Gulf Coastal Plain Prescribed Burning Initiatives – These projects fund 1 prescribed burn for private landowners with suitable habitat.  The goal is to familiarize the landowners with the benefits of prescribed burning and work with landowners to conduct subsequent prescribed burns.  Over 13,000 acres have been burned across Louisiana through these initiatives since they began in 2008.
  • Through the Technical Services Program, LDWF provides assistance to landowners seeking to manage and improve habitat for bobwhites and other wildlife. 
  • Working with partners, LDWF is engaged in regional efforts to improve habitat used by quail and other wildlife.  This includes the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, East Gulf Coast Joint Venture, TX/LA Longleaf Taskforce, and West Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership.
  • In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service the department is working to establish a bobwhite focus area on the Kisatchie National Forest.  This area will be subject to practices specifically designed to improve bobwhite habitat.  Surveys will be conducted to monitor population response.
  • LDWF,  working with the U.S. Forest Service has established a bird dog training area on the Vernon Unit of Kisatchie National Forest.  This adds to current BDTAs on Sandy Hollow WMA, Bodcau WMA, Lake Ramsay WMA, and Sherburne WMA.
  • LDWF has entered an agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide technical assistance to landowners interested in creating and managing quail friendly habitat in longleaf pine habitats.
  •  LDWF periodically conducts landowner workshops on a variety of topics, including management practices that favor bobwhites and other grassland birds. 
  • LDWF makes available specialized native grassland drills and burn trailers to landowners to aid them in their efforts to improve bobwhite habitat.
  • LDWF prescribed burns approximately 2,000 acres each year on the Sandy Hollow and Lake Ramsay WMAs to improve bobwhite habitat.
  • LDWF is working with the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation to conduct several thousand acres of additional prescribed burns on other WMAs to enhance wild turkey and quail habitat.

Notes
A statewide quail population survey (see documents section below) is conducted each fall. This survey is used to develop an index to the quail population for various habitat regions throughout Louisiana. Approximately forty 19-mile routes are run throughout the state in late October and early November. The routes are randomly located in 5 major habitat types.

To help determine bobwhite quail survival rates, harvest rates, nesting success, habitat use and movements, 178 bobwhites were radio-tagged and 245 were banded over several years on the Sandy Hollow Wildlife Management Area. Findings include:

  • Only 6.4% of bobwhites survive over 1 year. Most of the mortality was due to predators, both avian and mammalian.
  • Overall, less than 1 in 12 birds were taken by hunters and hunters harvested birds from less than 1/3 of the coveys. However, when a covey was found, about 1 in 5 birds were bagged. Both harvest rates (with crippling loss also considered) are within the recommended 30% value for the South.
  • Quail move considerable distances in the fall and spring. One covey moved over 3 miles and movements of 1 mile were common.

As a response to interest in releasing pen-reared bobwhites for population enhancement by some users of the Sandy Hollow WMA and quail hunters in general, 33 pen-reared female bobwhites were radio-tagged and released in groups on the area in good habitat and provided supplemental food and water. Within 3 days, 52% of the birds were dead and by the 12th day, 84% had died. Within 2 weeks, 97% of the birds were dead. Most of the mortality was due to predation. This study affirms the general principal that most pen-reared quail fare poorly when released into the wild. The potential problems caused by pen-reared introductions, such as disease introduction, outweigh the marginal benefits.

From 1984-2000, almost 8,500 wings were collected from hunters to determine production indices for quail and peak hatch periods.  Average chicks per adult hen was relatively high (greater than 6), but it varied greatly between years due to weather. Quail wings (see documents section) highlight the importance of July and August to quail production in Louisiana. 

National Farm Policy often shape quail and other farm wildlife habitat.  Many Farm Bill issues are currently being considered in Washington. The Wildlife Society maintains a website with up-to-date Farm Bill issues.  Other bobwhite information can be obtained at the NBCI website www.bringbackbobwhites.org.

SQUIRRELS and RABBITS

Population Status
Specific population surveys are not conducted for these species; however, the Department's annual hunter harvest survey provides indices to population trend.  The 2010 – 11 survey estimated that 72,500 squirrel hunters harvested 948,100 squirrels.  During the same period 36,700 rabbit hunters harvested 272,900 rabbits. It is likely that increased conversion of hardwood forests and stream bottoms to pine forests and poor mast crops have contributed to lower squirrel hunter success. In the absence of major habitat modifications, year to year fluctuations in rabbit and squirrel populations are due primarily to summer rainfall amounts in the case of rabbits and prior year's mast crop in the case of squirrels.

Notes
Louisiana has 2 species of rabbits: eastern cottontails and swamp rabbits.  Although the cottontail is considered more of an upland species and the swamp rabbit a wetland (wooded) species, both species occur within our coastal areas.

Rabbits can have high productive rates in Louisiana when habitat and weather conditions are good.  Adult cottontails may have as many as 6 litters per year and young of the year may contribute another 25% to the production.

Biologists monitored rabbit population response to rotational burning regimes on an old field alluvial site on Sherburne WMA for 6 years.  Rabbit use suggested that 2 or 3 year burning cycles were optimal for rabbits.

Louisianahas 2 species of squirrels: gray squirrels and fox squirrels.  However, there are 2 recognized subspecies of gray squirrels and 3 subspecies of the fox squirrel.  In addition, melanistic (black) color phases in each species.

In good production years, adult squirrels will have 2 litters--one in the spring and one in the late summer.

Resident Small Game Seasons

2015-2016 Schedule

 

Species

Season Dates

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Quail

Nov. 21 - Feb. 29

10

30

Rabbit

Oct. 3 - Feb. 29

8

24

Squirrel

Oct. 3 - Feb. 29

8

24

May 7-29*

3

9

 

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour
after sunset. Consult Wildlife Management Area and Federal
Land sections for specific regulations and dates on those areas.
*Spring squirrel season is CLOSED on the Kisatchie National Forest, national
wildlife refuges, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property and some state WMAs
(check WMA season schedule).

Regulations

 

Deer Tagging Information

Prior to hunting deer, all deer hunters, regardless of age or license status, must obtain deer tags and have in possession when hunting deer. Immediately upon harvesting a deer, the hunter must tag the deer with the appropriate carcass tag before it is moved from the kill site, and the hunter must document the kill on the harvest report card portion of the deer tag license.

The hunter must record the date of kill and the parish of kill on the carcass tag. The tag must remain attached to the deer while kept at camp, or while it is transported to the domicile of the hunter or to a cold storage facility. Hunters who keep the carcass or meat at camp must also comply with the game possession tag regulations. Within 7 days the hunter must validate the kill using the toll free validation phone number 866-484-4805 or the web link: www.la.wildlifelicense.com.

Hunters harvesting deer on DMAP lands should follow the instructions provided to them by LDWF. When deer check stations are in operation, hunters on WMAs can validate deer during mandatory deer check hunts.

Bag Limits

One antlered and one antlerless deer per day (when legal) EXCEPT on some Federal Lands where the daily limit shall be one deer per day (see specific Federal Lands regulations for details). Season limit is six, not to exceed three antlered OR four antlerless deer (all segments included) by all methods of take, EXCEPT deer harvested on property enrolled in DMAP will not count in the season or daily bag limit for hunters. See DMAP Regulations (LAC 76:v.111) for more information. Antlerless deer may be harvested during entire deer season on private lands (all segments included) EXCEPT as specified in the deer hunting schedule. Consult  deer hunting schedule for either-sex days for these parishes and areas.  A legal antlered deer is a deer with at least one visible antler of hardened bony material, broken naturally through the skin.

Hunter Orange

Any person hunting any wildlife during the open firearms deer hunting season and possessing buckshot, slugs, a primitive firearm or a centerfire rifle shall display on his head, chest and/or back a total of not less than 400 square inches of “HUNTER ORANGE.” Persons hunting on privately owned, legally posted land may wear a hunter orange cap or hat in lieu of the 400 square inches. These provisions shall not apply to persons hunting deer from elevated stands on property that is privately owned and legally posted or to archery deer hunters hunting on legally posted lands where firearm hunting is not allowed by agreement of the landowner or lessee. However, anyone hunting deer on such lands where hunting with firearms is allowed shall be required to display the 400 square inches or a hunter orange cap or hat while walking to and from elevated stands. While a person is hunting from an elevated stand, the 400 square inches or cap or hat may be concealed. WARNING: Deer hunters are cautioned to watch for persons hunting other game or engaged in activities not requiring “Hunter Orange.”

Deer Management Assistance Program - DMAP

For information on DMAP, see this link http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/deer-management-assistance-program.

Primitive Firearms Season

License Requirements

  • A Primitive Firearms License is required of all persons hunting deer during Primitive Firearms Seasons. See page 38 of the 2015-16 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet for exceptions and exemptions.

 

Prohibited Activities

  • Carrying a gun, other than a primitive firearm, including those powered by air or other means, while hunting during the primitive firearm season, EXCEPT it is lawful to carry a .22 caliber rimfire pistol loaded with #12 shot (ratshot only).
  • Hunting with dogs (All Primitive Firearms Seasons are still hunt only). 

Legal Gear

Legal Gear for Primitive Firearms Season includes:

  • Rifles or pistols, .44 caliber minimum, or shotguns 10 gauge or smaller, all of which must load exclusively from the muzzle, use black powder or approved substitute only, take ball, shot, or bullet projectile only, including saboted bullets. All of the above may be fitted with magnified scopes.
  • Single shot, breech loading rifles or pistols, .35 caliber or larger, having an exposed hammer that use metallic cartridges loaded either with black powder or modern smokeless powder. All of the above may be fitted with magnified scopes.
  • Single shot, breech loading shotguns, 10 gauge or smaller, having an exposed hammer, loaded with buckshot or rifled slug.

Exceptions

  • Youths 17 or younger may hunt deer with any legal weapon during the Primitive Firearms Season in each deer hunting area.

Either-sex deer may be taken in all areas open for deer hunting EXCEPT when a Bucks Only season is in progress. In such cases, hunters must conform to the bucks only regulations.

Archery Season

License Requirements

  • Bow License is required of all persons hunting deer with archery gear during Archery Seasons. See page 38 of the 2015-16 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet for exceptions and exemptions.

Prohibited Activities

  • Possession or use any poisoned or drugged arrow or arrows with explosive tips.   
  • Hunt deer with a bow having a pull less than 30 lbs.       
  • Hunt with a bow or crossbow fitted with an infrared, laser sight, electrically operated sight or device specifically designed to enhance vision at night (does NOT include non-projecting red dot sights; RS 56:116.1.(b)(4)).   
  • Hunting with dogs (All Archery Seasons are still hunt only).

Legal Gear

Legal Gear for Archery Season includes:

  • Traditional bow, compound bow, and crossbow, or any bow drawn, held or released by mechanical means.

Either-sex deer may be taken in all areas open for deer hunting EXCEPT when a Bucks Only season is in progress. In such cases, archers must conform to the bucks only regulations.

Physically Challenged Season on Private Land

Oct. 3-4, either-sex.

Restricted to individuals with Physically Challenged Hunter Permit. Permit applications are available at regional LDWF offices.                                                      

YOUTH AND HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERANS SEASON ON PRIVATE LAND

Either-sex.

Areas 1, 4, 5, 6 & 9: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6

Area 2: Oct. 10-16

Areas 3, 7, 8 & 10: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2

Restricted to youths 17 or younger only and resident honorably discharged veterans.

Youths must possess a hunter safety certification or proof of successful completion of a hunter safety course. Youths must be accompanied by one adult 18 years of age or older. If the accompanying adult is in possession of hunter safety certification, a valid hunting license or proof of successful completion of a hunter safety course, this requirement is waived for youths younger than 16 years of age. Adults may not possess a firearm. Youths may possess only one legal firearm while hunting. The supervising adult shall maintain visual and voice contact with the youth at all times, EXCEPT properly licensed youths 16-17 years old and youths 12 years old or older who have successfully completed a hunter safety course may hunt without a supervising adult.

Resident veterans must be properly licensed and must possess proof of honorable discharge. One of the following must be carried by veterans while hunting:

  • Louisiana OMV issued U.S. Veterans Driver’s License.
  • U.S. Department of Defense Form 214 or one of the following DD_214 equivalents:
    • Pre DD 214 era documents (1941_1950):
      • WE AGO (war department adjutant general) Forms, to include WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53_55;   
      • JAVPERS (naval personnel) discharge documents, to include NAVPERS 553, NAVMC78PD, NAVCG 553.
    • National Personnel Records Center NPRC “statement of service,” issued as a result of a destroyed discharge record during the 1973 National Archives fire.
    • National Guard/Air National Guard must have NGB_22 with 6 or more years of service.

See 2015-16 Louisiana Hunting Regulations for more information.

Deer Season 2015-16

 

DEER HUNTING SCHEDULES

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Consult Wildlife Management Area and Federal Land schedules for specific regulations and dates on those areas.

 

POSSESSION LIMIT                                                          DAILY  BAG LIMITS

6 per season, not to exceed                                        1 antlered and 1 antlerless (when legal)

3 antlered OR 4 antlerless per season

 

*For more details on the 2015-16 deer season, refer to the 2015-2016 Louisiana Hunting Regulations

 

    

 

Restocking

Habitat Assessment

Locating suitable release sites for wild turkeys has been key to the success of Louisiana’s restocking program. Over the years, LDWF received many requests from landowners and sportsmen to stock wild turkeys. LDWF continues to get 5-10 requests annually. It has been LDWF's policy for many years that restocking requests be evaluated by a Region biologist and/or Turkey Program Leader prior to being approved. Criteria used in the evaluation are the presence or absence of wild turkeys, distance from presently occupied turkey range to request area, amount of suitable habitat at the release site, support by local residents, land use trends, and potential for expansion.

Restocking Summary

The Department’s trapping and relocation efforts have resulted in the capture and release of 3856 turkeys. Wild turkeys have been released in 45 parishes since 1963. During the mid-1990s, a total of 766 turkeys (480 captured in-state and 286 received from out-of-state) were released at 35 sites in 20 parishes. Most areas in the state capable of supporting viable wild turkey populations have now been restocked.

Management

Turkey habitat management activities include improving turkey habitat on wildlife management areas and the Kisatchie National Forest as well as providing technical assistance to landowners and managers with an interest in improving turkey habitat on their lands. Habitat management techniques frequently used include maintaining openings, planting fall and spring food plots, hardwood composition enhancement, and, in pinelands, prescribed burning.

Wildlife Division personnel provide recommendations to LDWF on hunting seasons and regulations based on the results of the monitoring programs.

Dove

2015-2016 Season

South Zone

Sept. 5-13, Oct. 10 - Dec. 1 and Dec. 19 - Jan. 15

North Zone

Sept. 5-27, Oct. 10 - Nov. 8 and Dec. 10 - Jan. 15

The dove hunting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on all dates in each split, EXCEPT on Sept. 5 opening day on state wildlife management areas and LDWF leased fields, where the hunting hours will be 12 noon to sunset.  EXCEPTIONS: Dove hunting hours on the Pointe Aux Chenes WMA’s Point Farm Unit are uniformly ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon for all dates within all splits for the 2015-16 dove season. Elbow Slough WMA lottery hunt participants will also hunt from ½ hour before sunrise to 12:00 noon on Sept. 5 and 6.

 

Dove Hunting Zones

The following boundary divides the state into North and South dove season zones: Beginning at the Texas-Louisiana border on La. Hwy. 12; thence east along La. Hwy. 12 to its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 190; thence east along U.S. Hwy. 190 to its intersection with Interstate 12; thence east along I-12 to its intersection with Interstate 10; then east along I-10 to the Mississippi state line.

Bag Limit

Mourning and white-winged doves and fully dressed Eurasian collared- and ringed turtle-doves: Daily bag limit 15 in aggregate, Possession 45 in aggregate, but note: there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared-doves or ringed turtle-doves provided that a fully feathered wing and head remain attached to the carcass of the bird. Fully dressed Eurasian-collared doves and ringed-turtle doves (those without a fully feathered wing and head naturally attached to the carcass) shall be included in the aggregate bag.

2015- 2016 Public Dove Hunting Opportunities on WMAs

Wildlife Management Areas Dove Fields 2015

Bayou Pierre WMA, northwest Red River Parish 

  • 5 acres planted in brown-top millet, 3 acres barnyard grass and foxtail.  Open to all.

Big Colewa WMA, West Carroll Parish

  • 20 ac. Sunflower

Bodcau WMA, Bossier Parish

  • 15 acres brown-top millet and sorghum. Approximately 5 acres located by the shooting range and 10 acres located in the Whittington field area.

Boeuf WMA, Caldwell Parish

  • Elliott field – North tract 40 acres, planted in brown-top millet; South tract (located in Crow Field, Catahoula parish) 30 acres, natural vegetation, clipped and available to hunt

Clear Creek WMA, Vernon parish

  • Various clear cuts have a good goat weed (croton)  response, expect good dove jump shooting

Elbow Slough WMA, southeastern Rapides Parish

  • Field is roughly 60 acres.  Mostly planted with brown-top millet.  Also a little sunflower in one area.  Hunting by lottery draw only for the first 2 days of the season.  After that, open to all on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only from Sept. 5-27 and Oct. 10- Nov. 8. Non-toxic shot only.

Floy McElroy WMA, Richland Parish

  • 20 acres brown top millet. Youth only hunt on September 14 and 15. No hunting at any other time.  Only youth 17 years old and under with an accompanying adult will be admitted.  Only the youth may hunt.   The gate on LA Hwy 137, 2 miles north of Rayville will open at 11:00 a.m. on  September 13 and 14. Shooting will be allowed from 12 p.m. to sunset.  No ATVs allowed.

Fort Polk WMA, Vernon parish

  • U.S. Forest Service dove field (Vernon Unit, Calcasieu Ranger District) – 25 acres planted in brown-top millet. Holly Springs food plot 20 acres planted in partridge pea and 14 acres planted in brown-top millet, milo pearl millet, and sunflowers.

Pointe-Aux-Chenes, Lafourche Parish

  • 70 acres – brown top and Japanese millet. Non-toxic shot only.  Only open certain days and times, refer to the hunting pamphlet for exact dates and times.

Russell Sage, Ouachita Parish

  • 8 acres brown top millet

Richard K. Yancey (formerly Red River/Three Rivers) WMA, Concordia Parish

  • 120 acres of volunteer brown top millet.  The dove fields will be prepped before both the first and second splits.

Sandy Hollow WMA, Tangipahoa Parish  

  • Sept. 5 & 12 through the end of first split.  CLOSED Sept. 6 – 11 of first split,  second and third splits are the same as outside EXCEPT youth hunt on Northern Tract during the opening day of the first segment (Sept. 5). Hunt restricted to youths 17 or younger and supervising adult who must be 18 years of age or older.
  • North tract – 3 fields totaling 32 acres, planted in brown-top millet
  • South tract – open to all hunters, 12 acres planted in brown-top millet

Sherburne WMA, Iberville/St. Martin Parishes

  • 83 acres planted in brown top millet.  Dove fields will be prepped before first split.

West Bay WMA, Allen parish

  • Various clear cuts have a good goat weed (croton)  response, expect good dove jump shooting

 

 

Population Monitoring and Research

The Wildlife Division conducts/sponsors a number of survey and research projects to keep abreast with turkey populations status, turkey habitat needs, basic biology, harvest, and harvest rates. These include poult surveys, gobbling activity surveys, banding, and radio telemetry. While more complete information about these projects is contained in the turkey program reports, several generalizations can be made as a result of these activities:

  • Brood size has been found to be generally largest in the western longleaf region of the State.
  • Adult gobblers typically make up more than 80% of the reported harvest at check stations on a statewide basis.
  • Turkeys are quite mobile. Movements of 5-plus miles is common in contigous habitat. Two radio-tagged hens moved about 20 miles before radio contact was lost.
  • Gobbling generally increases until the start of hunting season, regardless of the start date.
  • Harvest rate can be highly variable depending on the site, bag limit, and season length.

Program

The Wild Turkey Program includes management, restoration, and population monitoring and research of the wild turkey in Louisiana. In order to meet public demands for this resource, Wildlife Division biologists offer technical assistance to improve habitat on public and private lands for the benefit of the wild turkey. In addition, monies for various projects are made available through LDWF's Wild Turkey Stamp Program and the Louisiana State Chapter of The National Wild Turkey Federation's Super Fund Program. Two population monitoring surveys are conducted to develop population indices and to track population trends of wild turkeys. The Program biologist Cody Cedotal (ccedotal@wlf.la.gov) represents LDWF on several technical committees that are involved in monitoring and formulating regional and national programs that can impact on the wild turkey.

Population Status

Prior to 1880, the wild turkey population in Louisiana was estimated to be as high as one million birds. However, by the turn of the century, the state's turkey population started a precipitous decline. Exploitation of our virgin forests, subsistence hunting, market hunting, and unregulated sport hunting played roles in the declining wild turkey population in the state. By 1946, Louisiana's turkey population was estimated to be only 1,463 turkeys. Beginning in 1962, a restoration program that consisted of trapping and releasing wild captured birds into suitable habitat was initiated. Since that time, the state's wild turkey population has grown to an estimated 80,000 birds.

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