With the knowledge, wealth of experience and skill of volunteer hunting guides, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) hosted youth turkey lottery hunts on Saturday (March 30) on three LDWF Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
A total of 30 youth hunters took part in the hunts conducted on J.C. ‘’Sonny’’ Gilbert WMA in Catahoula Parish, Peason Ridge in Vernon, Sabine and Natchitoches parishes and Tunica Hills WMA in West Feliciana Parish. The youth were selected through LDWF’s lottery application system and paired with volunteer guides to give them a unique hunting experience.
“We take great pride in our youth lottery hunts,’’ LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “The preparation and coordination by our staff in lining up volunteers, setting up the hunts and being onsite during the event is a key reason why they’re so successful. I would like to thank them as well as the many volunteers for their tireless work as we continue to grow the great sport of hunting.’’
Hunting conditions were great with most hunters hearing turkeys and five birds harvested. Three hunters took part at J.C. ‘’Sonny’’ Gilbert WMA with one turkey harvested. At Peason Ridge, 19 hunters took part with two turkeys harvested. And at Tunica Hills eight hunters took part with two turkeys harvested.
Although not all hunters harvested a bird, the experience allowed them to learn the nuances of turkey hunting, woodsmanship and hunting sportsmanship.
Each year LDWF staff enlist the help of experienced volunteers to serve as guides. A few weeks before the hunt, they scout and locate gobblers for the youth hunters in order to place them in areas where they have the best chance for success.
These events are supported by several agencies and organizations.
On Peason Ridge, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Forest Service, the WMA’s landowners, make sure that no military maneuvers are scheduled and that the WMA is open for the hunt.
The Lake Charles Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) provides food and drinks for breakfast and lunch for the hunters, their parents and the guides on the day of the hunt. The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office donated portable drink coolers that were used as goody bags for each of the hunters.
On Tunica Hills, the Feliciana Toms Chapter of NWTF provided lunch and various donated items.
And of course there is the time given by the volunteer guides, many of whom come back year after year to be a part of the event.
In addition to the guided lottery hunts on Saturday (March 30), unguided lottery hunts and open youth hunts were held on Big Lake, Bodcau, Clear Creek, Pearl River and West Bay WMAs where 83 hunters participated, harvesting nine gobblers.
There are several late youth season hunts remaining on Bodcau, Pomme de Terre, Sherburne and Spring Bayou WMAs, as well as open turkey seasons, which are open to hunters of all ages, on various other WMAs. Turkey season throughout the state opens Saturday (April 6).
For more information on these seasons, go to http://www.eregulations.com/louisiana/hunting/.
For more information on LDWF lottery hunts, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts.