Current Waterfowl Hunting Zones
Current Waterfowl Hunting Zones – East and West Zones with the boundary described as:
Beginning at the Arkansas-Louisiana border on LA 3; thence south along LA 3 to Bossier City; thence east along I-20 to Minden; thence south along LA 7 to Ringgold; thence east along LA 4 to Jonesboro; thence south along HWY 167 to Lafayette; thence southeast along HWY 90 to the Mississippi state line.
Intention: Having 2 zones allows separate hunting season dates in each zone. Although no boundary can be definitive and there are tremendous differences in particular locations within each zone as well as lots of overlap across both zones; the West Zone is dominated by the estuarine marshes and associated agricultural fields along the coast then up to the reservoirs of western and northwestern Louisiana where the waterfowl harvest is characterized by earlier migrating species like gadwalls, shovelers, green-winged and blue-winged teal, and pintails. Seasons in the West Zone typically open earlier to take advantage of these earlier migrating species in habitats like coastal marsh and reservoirs that tend to have available water earlier in the season compared to the East Zone, which is dominated by the forested wetlands in floodplains of major river systems of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley and associated agricultural fields which tend to become available later in the year and are used to a larger extent by later-migrating species like mallards.
We have used East and West Zones for over 30 years.
3 Zone Option 1
3 Zone Option 1 – East, West, and Coastal zones with boundaries described as:
From the Arkansas-Louisiana border south on HWY 167; thence west on LA 106 to Oakdale; thence south on HWY 165 to Kinder; thence west on HWY 190/LA 12 to the Texas state line. From the junction of HWY 167 and LA 106 south along HWY 167 to Lafayette; thence southeast along HWY 90 to Boutte; thence along HWY 310 across the Mississippi River; thence west (up river) along the east bank of the Mississippi River to the St. Charles/St. John the Baptist Parish line; thence along LA 628 to LaPlace; thence north on HWY 51 to I-55N to I-12; thence east along I-12 to Slidell; thence east along I-10 to the Mississippi state line.
Intentions: The first intention is to create a 3rd zone by dividing the current West zone into a Coastal zone and a West Zone. The western and northwestern portion of the state are part of the West Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion, but habitats are generally different from the coastal marshes and associated agricultural fields of the West zone and different from the Mississippi Alluvial Valley of the East zone. Creating a 3rd zone in this area would allow setting season dates separate from the Coastal zone which could provide season dates more satisfying to hunters in that region and provide additional harvest opportunity for hunters that use more than 1 zone. One aspect of that new West zone is the straightening of the zone boundary in NW Louisiana from Jonesboro to the Arkansas border to both simplify the boundary and to put similar ecogeographic habitat types together.
The second intention is to put the coastal marshes around Lake Pontchartrain into the Coastal zone along with similar marsh types that are used by similar duck species have long been in the West Zone. When changes to the East zone season in 2011 reduced the number of early-season hunting days, LDWF received complaints from hunters in that region, so this option intends to group those similar habitats into a Coastal zone.
3 Zone Option 2
3-zone Option 2 – East, West, and Coastal zones with boundaries described as:
From the Arkansas-Louisiana border south on HWY 167 to Opelousas; thence west on HWY 190 and LA 12 to the Texas state line. From the junction of HWY 167 and HWY 190 south to Lafayette; thence east on I-10 to Baton Rouge; thence east on I-12 to Slidell; thence east on I-10 to the Mississippi state line.
Intentions: This option has the same intentions described in the 3-zone option 1, but provides simplified zone boundaries. The simplified zone boundaries in this option also moves a larger portion of the East zone into the Coastal zone, specifically the habitat south of I-10 from Lafayette to Baton Rouge and south of I-12 from Baton Rouge to Hammond that were traditionally in the East zone would be moved into the Coastal zone.