The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has posted a survey on their Web site to collect opinions from dove hunters who hunt in the north zone (Opelousas to Arkansas) for dove hunting zone options for upcoming seasons. To take the survey, please go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov and click on the "Surveys" link in the footer.
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 this state were not satisfied with date selections because of the federal restrictions, so zoning in Louisiana was not in the hunters 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 all portions of the state."
It was the consensus of the dove focus group and subsequent survey 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. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) will decide whether to use this boundary or the existing one, which is Interstate 10 from Texas to Baton Rouge, Interstate 12 to Slidell and I-10 to the Mississippi state line.
In late summer of 2006, LDWF sought public input relative to south zone preferences through the use of a south zone subcommittee of the dove focus group, random surveys of dove hunters residing in or near the south zone boundary, and an Internet survey on LDWF's Web site. LDWF is currently doing a similar exercise for the north zone.
The LWFC can establish a maximum of 70 days of dove hunting under the federal framework. Because of changes to federal guidelines relative to opening dates for a south zone, LDWF is considering recommending the use of zoning again in Louisiana.
"We would like to know how you would like the dove season structured in the north zone if zoning is used," said Olinde. "If you have an interest in dove hunting, we encourage you to complete the on-line survey. The survey should only take a few minutes of your time and will provide us with valuable input that will be used to set future dove seasons."
For more information, contact Mike Olinde at 225-765-2353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.