When a decision is handed down by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (WFC) relative to duck hunting zone boundaries, number of zones, structure of zones and season splits, hunters are stuck with that decision for the next five years.
This is the year when proposed changes in the duck hunting picture can be made to change any or all these regulations if it seems in the best interest of the duck hunting situation. Any changes for the 2016-17 waterfowl hunting seasons must be decided on no later than December 1, 2015 with recommendations made to the WFC at it’s November monthly meeting
As a result of this “hurry up” situation, Larry Reynolds, Waterfowl Study Leader for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is proposing some changes in the hunting zone alignment and is wanting to hear from duck hunters whose comments and concerns will be presented to the WFC at its November meeting.
“In 2012, we made a pretty substantial change when we went from having two zones (West and East) to adding a third Coastal zone to the mix,” Reynolds said. “We changed to three zones by taking the old West zone and drawing a line forming a West and Coastal zone, we have been hunting these three zones now for four years and have received a lot of comments from hunters about changes they want to see made.”
Reynolds noted that in August when the WFC set the Coastal zone a week earlier than LDWF had recommended, there was a significant outcry from hunters in that area.
“There is a group of rice farmers and hunters utilizing the rice fields in southwest LA who had been wanting a little more time to get their second crop of rice off the land and get their blinds ready before season opened. Therefore, there is a new proposed boundary line in southwest LA that will move a lot of the rice acreage in Evangeline, Acadia, Jefferson Davis and Vermilion Parishes out of the Coastal zone and into the East zone so rice famers will have another week to get their second crop out and blinds ready,” said Reynolds.
Another proposed change if approved will have an effect on duck hunters in northwest Louisiana.
“In 2012, I had proposed straightening that zigzag boundary which has no biological justification. It runs through the middle of the piney woods. I suggested straightening that line making the boundary Highway 167 up to the Arkansas boundary. The WFC initially approved that line but then changed their mind and their decision when a group of hunters in eastern Claiborne Parish in the Corney Lake area objected strongly.
“In the last four years, I have received requests from hunters in that area to re-establish that line to expand the area of the West zone in that part of the state. This year,” said Reynolds, “there is a proposal to do just that.”
Reynolds cautions that these are only proposals and will not affect duck hunting for the 2015-16 season.
“What we’re asking duck hunters both in the coastal area as well as northwest LA to let us know what they want. We will take those comments, summarize them and present them to the WFC at their November meeting,” he said.
With the deadline date looming closer, duck hunters who would like to make recommendations need to act with haste; there are only a few weeks before that November meeting.
Hunters can make their wishes/concerns known by contacting Larry Reynolds at his phone of via e-mail. Call him at 225/765-0456 or e-mail email@example.com.
Glynn Harris’ column is sponsored every week by D.C. Pawn of Minden