Mississippi's Turkey Season Changes on South Delta WMAs
Flood events along the Mississippi River have had significant consequences for wild turkey populations within the Delta. Although most adult birds survived flood waters by moving to higher ground or treetops for extended periods; flood events during 2008, 2009, and 2011 all occurred during the spring nesting season. Wild turkeys nest on the ground; therefore, very little reproduction occurred in the Delta during these years. Conversely, reproduction was above average across the region during 2010.
This combination of events has caused turkey populations within the Delta to decline, and created a unique situation where harvest during the 2012 season will be primarily limited to gobblers hatched during2010. Excessive harvest of this cohort of gobblers could diminish future turkey hunting quality until adequate reproduction allows population levels to rebound. Therefore, to preserve future hunting quality, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) has made the following adjustments to season structure on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the south Delta for the 2012 spring turkey season:
- Spring turkey season will be CLOSED on Mahannah and Shipland WMAs.
- Season structure for Sunflower WMA will be as follows:
- YOUTH TURKEY SEASON BY PERMIT ONLY - April 2-8
- BY PERMIT ONLY - April 9-15
- TURKEY SEASON - April 16-May
3. Season framework for Twin Oaks WMA will remain draw-only, April 2-30,
with the exception of the statewide youth season.
The MDWFP has not proposed season framework changes toprivate lands within the flood-prone Delta region, however, officials urge private land hunters to be conservative with their harvest, and recognize that the degree of carry-over from the 2012 spring season will determine hunting quality for subsequent years.