Hunting

Bayou Macon

Acreage

6,919

Contact

mmcgee@wlf.la.gov; 318-343-4044; 368 CenturyLink Dr, Monroe, LA 71203

Parish

East Carroll

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Bayou Macon WMA forms one of the largest remaining tracts of bottomland hardwood forest which historically composed the lower Mississippi River floodplain from lower Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. LDWF purchased the majority of the property in 1991; the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development donated an additional 40 acres to LDWF as part of a mitigation project.

Bayou Macon WMA’s terrain is flat with relatively poor drainage; terrain varies from 88 to 94 feet above sea level. Two intermittent streams, Brushy and Buck Bayous, are located on the area.

LDWF has reforested almost 1,150 acres of reclaimed agricultural fields. Overstory timber species include nuttall, overcup, and willow oak; bitter pecan; hackberry; red maple; honey locust; rock elm; sweetgum; and green ash. Common understory vegetation includes deciduous holly, swamp dogwood, trumpet creeper, rattan, Japanese honeysuckle, swamp privet, pawpaw, dewberry, peppervine, hawthorn, greenbrier, and persimmon.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: The most popular game species on Bayou Macon WMA are white-tailed deer, squirrel, rabbit, and waterfowl. There is a youth deer season and a small game emphasis area. There is also a 2-day turkey hunt restricted to participants selected via a lottery. Limited woodcock hunting opportunities are also available. Trapping is permitted for raccoon, opossum, beaver, and other native furbearers. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Recreational fishing, crawfishing, and frogging are popular on Bayou Macon WMA. See regulations for details.

Birding and wildlife viewing: Birding is available year-round on Bayou Macon WMA. During the northward spring migration, dozens of species of neotropical migrants and passerine birds visit this area.

Louisiana black bear frequent this area; sightings have increased in recent years.

Camping: There is one primitive camping area on Bayou Macon WMA.

Other: hiking, horseback riding, berry picking

Directions

Bayou Macon WMA is located 3.5 miles east of Oak Grove and 7.5 miles northwest of Lake Providence. The major access route to this WMA is LA Hwy 2. LDWF maintains numerous ATV/UTV trails on this WMA. There are two self-clearing permit stations located at major entrances to the WMA.

Attakapas Island

Acreage

27,962

Contact

Tony Vidrine 

200 Dulles Dr.

Lafayette, La.  70506

(337) 262-2080.

tvidrine@wlf.la.gov

Parish

Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary

Owner/manager

State of Louisiana, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Description

The state acquired Attakapas Island WMA in 1976. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also owns several tracts of land, including Shatters Bayou, that are managed as part of this WMA.

The WMA’s terrain is characterized by flat swampland subject to periodic flooding and silt from the Atchafalaya River. Areas adjacent to the river and spoil banks from dredging activities provide upland habitat and refuge areas during periods of high water. Many areas within the WMA have silted in; siltation will continue to increase the land-to-water ratio.

The primary overhead vegetation in the swamp is cypress and tupelo with some oak, maple, and hackberry growing in the upland areas. Black willow is prevalent on the newly deposited lands, which are numerous throughout the WMA. Understory vegetation in upland tracts includes blackberry, deciduous holly, elderberry, goldenrod, greenbriar, peppervine, pokeweed, palmetto, and switch cane. Common swamp plants include lizard tail, smartweed, coontail, and pennywort. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew heavily damaged the forest canopy on Attakapas Island WMA. LDWF reforested many of the higher areas along the Atchafalaya River with cypress; ash; elm; water, nuttall, cherrybark, and cow oak; and other upland species.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include white-tailed deer, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl, and turkey. There is a youth-only season for deer. Trapping is allowed for furbearing animals. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Attakapas Island WMA is popular for fishing. Crawfish are found throughout the spillway; catfish, mullet, bass, bluegill, gar, bowfin, and freshwater drum are also common. See regulations for details.

Birding: hawks, owls, shorebirds, and neotropical migrants

Camping: There are three primitive camping areas and one camping area with picnic tables and running water located on Martin Ridge Road near Myette Point.

Hiking: LDWF has created and maintains about 30 miles of trails around the reforested plots on the east and west sides of the Atchafalaya River.

Directions

Attakapas Island WMA is located about 20 miles northwest of Morgan City and 10 miles northeast of Franklin. You can only access Attakapas Island WMA by boat. Nearby public launches include:

  • Myette Point boat launch on Martin Ridge Road off Hwy 87
  • Northeast of Charenton off Hwy 326, Charenton Beach Boat Launch
  • Above Morgan City on Hwy 70
  • Off Hwy 75 at Bayou Pigeon landing in Iberville Parish.

Atchafalaya Delta

 

Acreage

137,695

Contact

tcrouch@wlf.la.gov 337-735-8667

Parish

St. Mary

Owned/managed by

State of Louisiana

Description

Located at the mouths of the Atchafalaya River and the Wax Lake Outlet, Atchafalaya Delta WMA mostly consists of open water in Atchafalaya Bay. Within the bay, two deltas (Main Delta and Wax Lake Delta) have formed from the accretion of sediments from the Atchafalaya River and from dredged material deposited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Main Delta has about 15,000 acres of marsh and scrubby habitat; Wax Lake Delta has about 12,000 acres of marsh.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Deer hunting is not permitted on Wax Lake Delta; deer hunting on Main Delta is restricted to adult archery hunting and annual youth lottery gun hunts. Harvest per unit effort on deer is extremely high. Waterfowl and rabbit hunting and fur trapping are also permitted. See regulations for details.

Fishing and boating: Atchafalaya Delta WMA is popular for fishing, especially for redfish, catfish, bass, and bluegill. See regulations for details.

Camping: Atchafalaya Delta WMA has two campgrounds with primitive restrooms. There are also a number of pilings available for houseboat mooring. You must have a permit for overnight mooring (16-day or hunting season permit). You may obtain hunting season overnight mooring privileges via a 5-year lease or lottery. Year-round mooring is prohibited. 

Click here for the 2019-2020 Atchafalaya Delta WMA Houseboat Mooring Permit Application.

Other: birding

Directions

You can only access Atchafalaya Delta WMA by boat. It is located about 25 miles south of Morgan City and Calumet.

Alexander State Forest

Acreage

8,158

Contact

adailey@wlf.la.gov; 318-487-5885; 1995 Shreveport Hwy, Pineville, LA 71360

Parish

Rapides

Owner/manager

Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF)

Description

Alexander State Forest WMA is managed as a commercial forest with an emphasis on experimental forestry techniques. Much of the timber is managed as pine plantations. The forest overstory is predominantly loblolly pine with scattered stands of longleaf and slash pines. However, creek drainages have been maintained in hardwoods. In addition, red oak, blackgum, sweetgum, hackberry, beech, and water and willow oaks are widely scattered over the forest.

This WMA also includes Indian Creek Lake, a 2,600-acre reservoir, along with a 300-acre recreation and camping area.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting and trapping: Available game species include deer, quail, rabbit, squirrel, waterfowl, and woodcock. White-tailed deer are common on this WMA. Herd density is good; antler quality and body weights are typical of piney woods habitat. Hunter success during the either-sex primitive weapon hunts is generally above average. See regulations for details.

Physically challenged wheelchair-confined hunting areas are available on Alexander State Forest WMA. There is also a physically challenged deer season. Click here for a physically challenged hunter permit application and additional information.

Shooting range: LDWF operates a 100-yard rifle range, 50-yard pistol range, and shotgun range on this WMA. The public may use these ranges during specified times. Click here or call 318-482-2212 for more information on range hours and fees. Click here for the shooting safety zone map.

Fishing and boating: There are four boat launches on Indian Creek Lake, which is available for boating, swimming, and recreational fishing. See regulations for details.

Camping: LDAF operates trailer and tent accommodations with electricity, water, bath houses, and swimming areas. LDAF charges a fee for the use of these facilities. For more information, contact the Indian Creek Recreation Area at 318-487-5058.

Other: Woodworth Outdoor Education Center, Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery

Directions

Alexander State Forest WMA is about 10 miles south of Alexandria, off U.S. Hwy 165 and 1 mile east of Woodworth.

Acadiana Conservation Corridor

Acreage

2,285

Contact

Tony Vidrine 

200 Dulles Dr.

Lafayette, La.  70506

(337) 262-2080.

Parish

St. Landry, Evangeline, Avoyelles, Rapides

Owner/manager

LDWF

Description

Spanning about 26 miles, Acadiana Conservation Corridor WMA is a scenic easement located between the I-49 right-of-way west of the Bayou Boeuf-Cocodrie Diversion Canal. There is a small portion of private property within the boundaries of the corridor; the northern boundary of this property starts at the railroad crossing near mile marker 48 on I-49 and the southern boundary is approximately 1.3 miles from the railroad crossing.

This WMA is classified as bottomland hardwood; main overstory species include bitter pecan, overcup oak, sugarberry, swamp maple, water elm, and honey locust. This area has standing water for considerable periods after heavy rainfalls so understory vegetation is typical of poorly drained lands; common species include palmettos, deciduous holly, smilax, poison ivy, blackberry, dewberry, rattan, and peppervine, along with annual grasses and sedges.

Activities and Amenities

Hunting: Limited to deer by archery only. No other hunting or firearms are allowed on this WMA. See regulations for details.

Directions

Acadiana Conservation Corridor WMA can be accessed by boat only; public boat launches are available in Washington on Bayou Courtableau and at Hwy 29 on the west side of I-49. Self-clearing permits are available at these locations.

White Lake W.C.A. Youth Waterfowl Hunt Date Announced

Release Date: 08/24/2010

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold youth waterfowl hunts on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) near Gueydan on Nov. 6 and 7.  LDWF will sponsor the hunts to provide a quality experience for young waterfowl hunters.

 

The participants in the hunts will be determined by a lottery drawing.  Applications for the lottery should be submitted to LDWF before close of business on Sept. 23, 2010.  One applicant will be selected from each of the seven geographic LDWF regions in the state and one participant will be selected from the state at large.

 

Applicants must be 15 years of age and younger.  Selected hunters must be accompanied in the blind by a parent or guardian, though the youth will be the only one permitted to possess a firearm.

 

Applications may be obtained by contacting LDWF's regional offices or by visiting the LDWF Web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/lottery_hunt/32612-....  Completed applications may be delivered in person to Room 458 of the LDWF Building in Baton Rouge, or by mail.  The mailing address is: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Youth Waterfowl Hunt at P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

 

For more information, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-479-1894.

 

2010-251A  

Canada Goose Surveys and Neck Collar Observations

For a number of suggested reasons the Canada goose population that historically wintered in Louisiana decreased rapidly through the 1950's and steadily declined through the 1970's with only 2,000 estimated in the early 1970's. This phenomenon was frequently referred to as short stopping. Canada goose numbers began to increase in the 1980's and in more recent years peak counts of 20,000 have been documented. While this increase of Canada geese is encouraging, it is still well behind the number of white-fronted (150,000) and snow geese (1 million) that winter in Louisiana. The small-sized Hutchinson's Canada goose, which is now the most common Canada goose wintering in Louisiana, has a longer migration flight than any other race of Canada goose and is more susceptible to annual mortality factors such as hunting and disease. In Louisiana these Canada geese intermingle with the more common white-fronted geese requiring LDWF to monitor these geese with ground counts. Additionally, to more precisely identify migration and wintering areas and to estimate survival rates, intensive neck collar markings of snow, white-fronted and Canada geese has occurred in recent years on Arctic breeding sites.

Monitoring for neck collars has been conducted during the Canada goose surveys but primarily with assistance from local university students hired by Waterfowl Program personnel. These color and alpha/numeric-coded neck collars have been placed on snow, white-fronted and Canada geese across the wide nesting range these birds use in the arctic. Standard leg bands are also attached to each goose that receives a neck collar. Neck collar observations have allowed us to clearly identify specific breeding sites and migration patterns of all species of geese that winter in Louisiana over a relatively short time frame. Additional estimates of survival rates and annual mortality have been provided by the neck collar program and this information is used in management planning and in setting hunting seasons for these geese. Waterfowl Program personnel prepare technical and popular papers for publication on the results of these activities.

Research Projects

The importance of continued research in waterfowl ecology and management cannot be overstated. Our waterfowl resources are highly dynamic, with populations changing from year to year in response primarily to changing hydrology and land-use which affect habitat quality in both breeding and wintering areas. They are also highly mobile, and consequently, their distribution may change within a season related to weather, managed flooding, or hunting pressure. There are always questions needing answers to help us best use our time, effort, and money to most benefit waterfowl and maximize the benefits they provide to our sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts.

The Waterfowl Program typically supports research projects as a partner in a multi-organizational effort. By providing financial support, vehicles, aircraft, personnel, lodging, or equipment, Program personnel assist with finding answers to questions that often help us better manage our waterfowl resources. Research projects also offer opportunities to train and assess young biologists who will provide their knowledge, skills, and unique views to our future waterfowl management.

Some recent/current research projects:

Process for Setting Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

By Mike Olinde, Research Program Manager and Dr. E. Jane Luzar, LSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness

There has always been a great interest in duck hunting in Louisiana because of their abundant numbers in the state during the winter. However, with increased communication between hunters, between hunters and wildlife managers, and the use of mass communication, like internet websites and waterfowl forums, the interest in the processes by which ducks are managed and harvest regulations are determined has been heightened. Have you ever wondered how or what is the process for setting waterfowl regulations?

One of the first things you should know is that neither the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission nor the Department have the authority to determine the bag limit, season length or dates for waterfowl, better known as the Framework waterfowl hunting regulations. This authority lies with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) because of the migratory nature of the birds. The Service receives extremely broad guidance on how to manage this international resource through the Migratory Bird Treaty that includes the United States and the countries of Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the Soviet Union. Some of these agreements date to 1916. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 actually empowered the federal government to annually develop waterfowl hunting regulations. Our Commission can only select days, bag limit and dates within the framework of options permitted by the Service. This contrasts sharply with the Commission's total authority for the establishment of resident game seasons and bags.

The Service uses a number of surveys to annually monitor the size and distribution of waterfowl populations. These include May Breeding Population Surveys, May Pond Counts, Production Surveys, Migration/Mid-Winter Population Surveys, Harvest and Parts (Wings and Tails) Surveys and an extensive Leg-Banding Program. Some of these surveys date to the mid-1930's, and some of their most recent surveys are reported at: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/reports/reports.html.The most comprehensive data collection efforts began in 1955 with the initiation of the May Breeding Population Survey. This survey covers some 1.3 million square miles with transects flown throughout most of the duck breeding habitat in the northern United States and much of Canada to count breeding pairs of 10 species of ducks. A sample of these aerial surveys is then checked on the ground to insure accuracy of the aerial data. Information from these collective surveys is considered each year when hunting regulations are established. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries contributes annually to the Service survey process by conducting mid-winter aerial surveys in Louisiana and sending biologists to the annual Parts Survey (Wing Bee) and to Canada to assist in duck and goose banding.

National Regulatory Process

The states participate in the Service regulatory process through the Flyway Council system. There are 4 Flyways nationwide and Louisiana is in the Mississippi Flyway, which includes the 14 states roughly west of the Appalachian Mountain Range, and east of Texas. Each state and Canadian province has 1 member on the Council. This system was developed in the early 1950's as an administrative system to coordinate waterfowl hunting regulations and other conservation issues. A state's Flyway Council member is usually a high level administrative biologist of the state wildlife agency or its Director. A Flyway Technical committee, composed of waterfowl biologists, serves as consultants to each Council as they deliberate various waterfowl issues. Finally, the Service has a Service Regulations Committee (SRC), which is composed of 6 high level administrators, that listens to input from their staff, a Council representative, conservation organizations and private individuals. The SCR then makes its recommendation to the Director of the Service and the Secretary of the Interior who ultimately establish the regulation framework. As one might expect, this process has an extended timeline. The process begins in February and continues through early August when proposals by the Service are finally published and provided to the states and general public for comments or action

So what do biologists use to develop their recommendations at the Flyway level? Historically, the various surveys were used as general guides for recommendations. Today, a slightly different tool is used - in addition to the surveys.The management system known as "Adaptive Harvest Management" that was developed for use in the waterfowl regulation setting process. The Mallard Breeding Population and May Pond Counts on the breeding grounds are 2 factors that drive the Adaptive Harvest model used by the Service as a tool to determine the number of days of duck hunting and daily bag to allow. Under the system, there are currently 3 options: Restrictive, Moderate and Liberal. Depending on the option the model predicts, the season length can range from as few as 30 days to as many as 60 while the bag limit is either 3 or 6 ducks with varying restrictions on total mallards and hen mallards.

 

Option Season Length Daily Bag Limit (total/mallards/hen mallards Latest Hunt Date
Restrictive 30 days (3/2/1) Sunday nearest Jan. 20
Moderate 45 days (6/4/1) Last Sunday in January
Liberal 60 days (6/4/1) Last Sunday in Januar

 

State Regulatory Process

At the state level, once the Service has established the season length and bag limit frameworks, the Department makes hunting season dates and bag recommendations to our Commission. For the general waterfowl season, this is done at the August Commission meeting. The Department's biological staff uses a number of factors in developing its recommendation including historical duck migration patterns as determined by aerial surveys conducted by Wildlife Division personnel, historical marsh and weather conditions, and public input.

The waterfowl hunting season dates have traditionally opened in the West Zone of the state the first weekend in November when 55 days of hunting were allowed during the mid-1970's and early 1980's. This time was selected for a combination of reasons including (1) duck numbers, (2) water level conditions in the marshes and (3) traditional harvest area. Our waterfowl surveys have shown that large numbers ducks are in the coastal marshes during November, particularly blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwall, wigeon, northern shoveler and northern pintail. Water level is generally lower in our coastal marshes during November as compared to December and January. As a result, duck feeding (and hunting) conditions are also generally better at this time for most coastal marshes.

Flooded agricultural lands such as rice and soybeans and bottomland hardwood forest are also important to ducks and duck hunters, but not as important as our coastal marshes. Size and availability of water certainly plays a role in determining this relative importance. For example, our coastal marshes cover some 4 million acres. In contrast, rice production generally occurs on about 600,000 acres in Louisiana of which about one-third is second cropped. Coastal marshes in southwest Louisiana provide vast areas of waterfowl habitat and account for the majority of the dabbling duck harvest in the state. As a result, coastal marshes are also extremely important to Louisiana waterfowling and its associated economics. For example, Cameron Parish, which includes almost 1 million acres of marshland, generally accounts for about 60-80% of the regional harvest and 30-50% of the statewide harvest of these ducks.

The tasks of recommending and establishing seasons are often difficult for the Department and the Commission. When it comes to the duck season for the West Zone, the dilemma is that marsh hunting is generally better in earlier November before the rains raise the water levels in the marsh. However, hunting is better in the rice country and other agricultural areas in late November and December after the rains flood the fields and marsh conditions have deteriorated. We attempt to accommodate (which often means develop compromises) sociological and demographic concerns when biology is not the primary issue. To this end, responding to input from the public, the opening date in the West Zone was moved to the second weekend in November and the second split closed later in January a few years ago. The East Zone season dates are usually later and run until the end of the framework.

Public Opinion

An integral part of the process for setting waterfowl hunting regulations is providing opportunity for public input. Public comment periods are specified in the Federal Register to gather public opinion information prior to setting the Framework regulations. Similarly, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission and the Department make regular press releases and offer time at Commission meetings to accept and record statements of public opinion. Prior to the 2005 season-setting process, the Department solicited public comment via this internet site to make it easier for hunters or other wildlife constituents to comment on proposed alternative waterfowl hunting regulations.

In a continuing effort to understand the desires of our hunters, the Department conducts periodic special surveys. In the spring of 2005, the Department, cooperating with the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources conducted a mail survey of state duck stamp buyers. Over 6,000 waterfowl hunters were asked to share their opinions about recent waterfowl hunting quality in Louisiana and possible changes in the waterfowl hunting seasons structure and indicate their preferences for alternative management strategies. In addition, hunters were asked to provide information on their duck hunting characteristics. Preliminary results of this survey were presented to the Commission in November, 2005 and can be seen in the Research section.

As you can see, the waterfowl regulation setting process is quite involved. The Department listens and responds to constituent concerns. It is actively pursuing avenues and information that allow development of seasons which accommodate the hunting public's highly varied desires as much as possible.

Mississippi Flyway Council

The two waterfowl biologists in LDWF's Wildlife Division are active members of the Mississippi Flyway Council Technical Section (MFCTS). The MFCTS consists of biologists from 14 states, roughly aligned between the Mississippi River drainage and the Appalachian Mountains, and the 3 Canadian provinces that make up the Mississippi Flyway. Along with biologists from federal agencies from the U.S. and Canada plus private conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, the MFCTS is the science and technology arm of the Mississippi Flyway Council. Their role is to gather scientific data to provide the biological foundation to be strongly considered in waterfowl-management decisions made by members of the Council, who are usually high-ranking employees of participating agencies and organizations. No doubt, the most anticipated actions the Flyway Council takes is the setting of waterfowl hunting regulations.

Unlike for resident game animals, annual migratory waterfowl hunting regulations must be coordinated through this multi-agency international organization adding complexity to the season setting process. Hunting regulations can vary annually based largely on wetland habitat conditions in northern breeding sites and the success of nesting efforts. The Technical Section analyzes the status of waterfowl and recommends annual hunting regulations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Once hunting season packages are approved by the USFWS, Waterfowl Program biologists present Department recommendations to the Commission, hunting club groups and the media.

In addition to hunting regulations, the Section also coordinates and participates in flyway wide cooperative migratory waterfowl/wetlands research and management efforts. The goose neck collar program previously mentioned is an example of such a flyway project. The Waterfowl Program is responsible for preparing technical reports and publications on MFCTS activities and chairs several sub-committees within the MFCTS. Through the association with the MFCTS, one of the Program's biologists has been the Flyway's Representative on the Arctic Goose Joint Venture. This group consists of one representative from each of the 4 Flyways, federal U.S. and Canadians employees and provincial biologists. This Joint Venture primarily recommends and prioritizes goose research projects and coordination efforts associated with the current snow goose over- population crisis.

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