The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has posted a survey on their Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/surveys/surveys/?id=9 to collect opinions from dove hunters in the southern portion of the state for dove hunting zone options for upcoming seasons.
Louisiana has had the ability to zone the state for dove hunting since 1973. A zone boundary currently exists, but hasn't been used since 1986 because of federal restrictions.
"Dove hunters in the south zone were unsatisfied with date selections because of the federal restrictions, so zoning in Louisiana was not in the hunter's best interest," said LDWF Upland Game Biologist Mike Olinde. "But with a recent change in the federal frameworks relative to zoning for mourning doves, upcoming dove seasons may provide the opportunity to better satisfy dove hunters in the south zone while offering north zone hunters opportunities similar to the statewide seasons currently used."
A Dove Focus Group, comprised of dove hunters and commercial operators from within or near the south zone, was convened in August to discuss two main issues: zone boundary and allocation of days among the three hunting segments.
The current established boundary, if used, is U.S. Hwy. 190 from Texas to Mississippi. It was the consensus of the focus group that the zone boundary be changed to La. Hwy. 12 from the Texas state line to Ragley, U.S. Hwy. 190 from Ragley to Covington, Interstate 12 from Covington to Interstate 10, and I-10 to the Mississippi state line.
Relative to segments, the recommendation was for the south zone to have nine days during the first segment in September, 45 days during the second segment beginning about mid-October and running continuously into November, and 16 days in the third segment beginning before Christmas week and ending the weekend after Jan 1. This selection is a longer second segment than is traditionally used with the statewide or North Zone season.
Under this allocation of days, the next 5 south zone dove hunting seasons would resemble the following:
Oct. 13-Nov. 26
Dec. 22-Jan. 6
Oct. 18-Dec. 1
Dec. 20-Jan. 4
Oct. 17-Nov. 30
Dec. 19-Jan. 3
Oct. 16-Nov. 29
Dec. 18-Jan. 2
Oct. 15-Nov. 28
Dec. 17-Jan. 1
Segments one and three would begin on a Saturday and end on a Sunday. The second segment begins on a Saturday and ends on a Monday. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays would be open during all of these suggested season dates.
LDWF wants to determine whether hunters who would be within the South Zone agree with the focus group's recommendation. A survey was sent to a random sample of dove hunters who reside within parishes impacted by the current zone boundary. The web survey was posted on our web site to allow other hunters in the potentially impacted areas to voice their opinions. After this survey is complete, a similar process will likely occur addressing interests of the dove hunters within the North Zone.
For more information, contact Mike Olinde at 225-765-2353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.