If youve been waiting for the opportunity to introduce someone you know to the wonders of Sportsmans Paradise, nows the time.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is urging licensed hunters to invite new or one-time hunters to experience the outdoors during Discover Louisiana Hunting (DLH) weekend, Nov. 25-27.
It could be a relative, best friend, spouse, or neighbor who youve promised to take hunting, but never followed up on. With the DLH permit, valid for this Thanksgiving weekend, its easy to get involved for a weekend of hunting without the expense of a hunting license.
The program allows both Louisiana residents and non-residents, 16 years of age and older, to experience recreational hunting for the first time or enjoy the sport again with a DLH permit, said LDWF Secretary Dwight Landreneau. We want to stimulate interest in hunting, promote gun and hunter safety, and foster an appreciation for the conservation and habitat management mission served by LDWF.
James Newell, a teacher from Lafayette, is participating as a host hunter for a friend of his son. Newell, who has hunted for 34 years, will be the mentor for his guest at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located halfway between Lafayette and Baton Rouge, off Interstate 10.
I think this program is great, Newell said. It gives people a chance to experience the thrill of the hunt and the diversity of the woodlands in Louisianas WMAs that we all enjoy.
Interested DLH participants need to obtain hunter safety certification, or be enrolled in a class by Nov. 15 to qualify for a DLH permit. Permits can be obtained online through Nov. 21. A host hunter requirement for DLH participants adds additional safety for everyone hunting Thanksgiving weekend.
It has never been easier for hunters needing to take a hunter education course, said John Sturgis, LDWF Hunter Education Program manager. If your busy schedule does not permit you to attend the standard education course, you can try our home study program. Students can study at their own pace and convenience and attend a six-hour field day for course completion.
Interested participants can complete the course by accessing the www.discoverlouisianahunting.com  Web site. Then by clicking on the Hunter Ed tab located at the top of the page. Next, click on the online link located in the second bullet from the top of the page. Then follow the on-screen directions. A list of standard classroom hunter education courses around the state is also available at the DLH Web site.
DLH is targeting new hunters and non-residents that want to enjoy the Louisiana outdoors for the first time and experienced hunters that want to try the sport again by making this weekend available at no cost.
This program gives non-residents a chance to see what Louisiana has to offer, non-hunters a chance to see what hunting is all about and retired hunters a chance to see what they are missing, Newell said.
To sign up for a permit simply visit the DLH Web site and click on the Register tab at the top of the page. Then fill in the blanks on the registration form and hit Submit.
Obtaining the permit was easy, Newell said. All you have to do is submit the information online. Using the DLH Web site was so easy--you just answer the questions.
During the Discover Louisiana Hunting weekend, only quail, rabbit, squirrel and deer can be hunted. For daily bag and possession limits and deer zone restrictions refer to the 2005-06 Louisiana Hunting Season and WMA Regulations Booklet or go to www.discoverlouisianahunting.com  and click on Regulations.
Once a participant utilizes this no cost weekend hunting option, appropriate licenses and permits must be obtained for all future hunting trips in Louisiana.
Any interested participant without Internet access can call any of the following LDWF offices Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for permit application assistance:
* Alexandria: 1995 Shreveport Hwy., Pineville, LA 71360; ph. 318-487-5885
* Baton Rouge: 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808; ph. 225-765-2346
* Ferriday: 261 Wildlife & Fishery Road, Ferriday, LA 71334; ph. 318-757-4571
* Lake Charles: 1213 North Lakeshore Dr., Lake Charles, LA 70601; ph. 337-491-2575
* Minden: 1401 Talton Street, Minden, LA 71055; ph. 318-371-3050
* Monroe: 368 Century Tel Drive, Monroe, LA 71203; ph. 318-343-4044
* New Iberia: 2415 Darnall Road, New Iberia, LA 70560; ph. 337-373-0032
* Opelousas: 5652 Highway 182, Opelousas, LA 70570; ph. 337-948-0255
DLH Weekend supporting sponsors and partners include: Academy Sports & Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops/Bossier City, Bayou State Bowhunters Association, Bowie Outfitters, Ducks Unlimited, Hunters Run Gun Club, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Foundation, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Whitetail Association and Safari Club International.
EDITORS: For more information, contact John Sturgis at 225-763-5448 or firstname.lastname@example.org .