The Kisatchie National Forest will open up its entire 600,000-plus acres for a one-day youth turkey hunt on March 16. There are 115 slots available for the hunt. Friday is the application deadline to enter a lottery-style selection process. Wildlife biologist Jonny Fryar of the Calcasieu Ranger District said this will be the first time that all of Kisatchie will be open for a youth hunt. He said the event comes a week before the wild turkey season opener, and gives children ages 8-17 a better chance to call in a turkey.
“They can set up and maybe kill 'em a good turkey on public land, and not have the pressure of other hunters competing against them," Fryar said.
The wild turkey population in Louisiana numbers about 80,000, Fryar said. It’s made a huge comeback over the years thanks to conservation efforts. The youth turkey hunt is aimed at attracting a new generation of hunters. It seems, Fryar said, now it’s the hunters who are in short supply.
“There’s concern across the whole nation that the hunting heritage is declining," Fryar said. "There’s been a lot of efforts made by different conservation groups as well as state agencies, trying to get youth involved.”
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is handling the lottery selection. Fryar said the youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult.