Hunting is a way of life in Louisiana. It's a time-honored tradition that many families share from generation to generation. Those who enjoy hunting wild turkeys in Louisiana's outdoors need to be mindful there could be a major change in the state's hunting laws regarding the harvesting of those animals.

Cody Cedotal, wild turkey program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries believes that the state needs to be proactive in protecting Louisiana's declining population of wild turkeys. In a report published on and in the TImes-Picayune, Cedotal has proposed pushing the start of the 2018 turkey season back by one week.

The current season for Louisiana turkey hunters will open the traditional fourth Saturday in March. Under Cedotal's proposal that start date would be moved to the first Saturday in April.  The reasoning behind this move has to do with the breeding habits of the birds.

If we were going strictly off hunting biology, we'd want that opener to be the second Saturday in April, but we see this as a good compromise with hunters.

Research shows the peak breeding date in Louisiana to be April 9. That would be one week after the proposed start of the 2018 season. As of now, hunters are harvesting birds before they have the chance to breed. Naturally, the reduction in breeding means few birds for future generations.

The members of the regulatory board of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will consider Cedotal's proposal. Should they approve the idea it will then move into to a public comment period. During that time interested parties will have 90 days to offer comments on the proposal.

This year, the season will open statewide on March 25 and run through April 9 in Area C, April 16 in Area B and April 23 in Area A.

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