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2019 Turkey Season (Year 2 of the New Normal)

Posted May 15th, 2019 at 02:56 PM by Black Spurs

For the 2018 season, I didn't even find it worth putting anything in this forum other than a short snippet about the one turkey I killed. This is the second year since they moved the season back to the first weekend in April. This year, it started April 6th. Eventually, it should work its way back to a day pretty close to the end of March.

Just prior to the season, I lost the one place I had full access to hunt because it got sold and leased about a week before the season. And, my trip out of state was cancelled due to my friend's unexpected work schedule. So, I stayed around the here and hunted. I was at the mercy of others, but I still had some good places to hunt and plenty of opportunities. I hunted 18 days, and 14 of those days I either heard turkeys and/or saw turkeys. I could have easily killed my limit of jakes if I had chosen to do that. I did not choose to kill one, but I don't have a problem with anyone who decided to kill one, or even two.

I never laid eyes on a longbeard this season. I did, however, encounter a seemingly endless supply of jakes. Perhaps that will be good for next year. Last year (2018), I heard one turkey gobble in Louisiana once the season opened. I killed him, a really nice gobbler. This year, I called up a turkey for a guy, and he killed him. It was a jake, but it was a very exciting hunt. I heard a bunch of turkeys gobble this year, but many of those were hard gobbling jakes.

As an educated person, I value empirical research over anecdotal evidence, but if the empirical research leads to incorrect conclusions, it has even less value than what I see with my own eyes in the areas in which I operate, which is anecdotal. We can assume that last year yielded a great hatch despite the data (see attached) used to determine that back during the summer based on what many saw in the spring in terms of jakes. That seems to be pretty consistent in the SE portion of Louisiana from what I can tell. I say it is pretty consistent because the biologist acknowledged that he has had the same reports. The question (or one of the questions) is whether or not that great hatch occurred as a result of the season being moved back or if it was just a lucky break in the weather. It is too soon to tell that. I think they look at 10 year trends.

In summary, I don't necessarily label my season bad because I didn't kill a turkey; I made a conscious decision to not shoot a jake. I label it bad because I didn't have as many good places where I could hunt at will this year. But again, I had plenty of opportunities to hunt and shoot had I chosen to do so. The LDWF can't do anything about my perceived lack of access, which is probably overstated here. On the places I did go, I saw more turkeys this year than I have seen in the last 3 years. I don't know the cause of that, but maybe in a few years we will be able to see the impact of the later season, good or bad.
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