March 26, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) manages the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA) for a variety of aquatic and wildlife species, but the habitat is especially attractive to waterfowl and wading bird species.
The 71,000-acre WCA in Vermilion Parish, south of Gueydan, requires a managed hydrology to provide a consistent wetland environment for species native to southwest Louisiana. Management of this property includes creating and maintaining sufficient habitat, while also ensuring abundant refuge areas. These management strategies provide substantial wintering waterfowl habitat which enhances hunting opportunities throughout the area.
Aerial waterfowl surveys indicate that WLWCA holds huge concentrations of ducks that move around the property. During the 2013-14 waterfowl season, over 70,000 ducks were observed on the property on numerous occasions. In addition to providing superior hunting opportunities, waterfowl movement from WLWCA to private lands creates enhanced hunting opportunities for landowners in the area. This provides a substantial economic impact to the area in the form of waterfowl blind leases, hunting lodge leases, premium waterfowl hunting trips, and patronage of local businesses.
Additionally, LDWF offers public lottery waterfowl hunting opportunities at WLWCA each year. These opportunities include teal hunts, youth hunts, marsh hunts and rice field hunts. Applicants selected get the chance to experience a premier hunting opportunity.
“Extra lottery slots were created in 2012 for increased public access to marsh and rice field acreage and we continue to fill all available lottery dates each year,” said LDWF Biologist Schuyler Dartez.
The results for the various types of guided Marsh Lottery Hunts on WLWCA during the 2013-14 Waterfowl Hunting Season were as follows:
- Teal season concluded with 105 hunters harvesting 461 teal, and averaging 4.4 teal per hunter.
- A total of 16 youth hunters harvested 79 ducks and 4 geese during the youth weekend hunts on WLWCA, averaging 4.94 ducks per hunter and 0.25 geese per hunter.
- Group hunts attracted 196 participants who harvested 989 ducks and 96 geese for an average of 5.05 ducks and 0.49 geese per hunter.
- One hundred seventy three marsh lottery hunters harvested 891 ducks and 99 geese for an average of 5.15 ducks and 0.57 geese per hunter.
- The predominant species of ducks harvested on the guided public marsh hunts were Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, and Blue-winged Teal.
The results for the WLWCA Rice Field Lottery Hunts during the 2013-14 season were as follows:
- A total of 276 hunters participated in the non-guided rice field hunts. These hunters harvested 542 ducks and 84 geese, which averaged 1.96 ducks and 0.30 geese per hunter.
- The predominant species of ducks harvested on the rice field hunts were Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Pintail, and Mallard.
“White Lake WCA is a valuable habitat in southwest Louisiana and it supports large numbers of wintering waterfowl and a diversity of other wildlife species,” said Wayne Sweeney, WLWCA’s hunt coordinator. “The Department will continue to provide public access opportunities for outdoor recreation at the WLWCA in a fashion that is compatible with protection of this sensitive ecosystem.”
Waterfowl hunt applications for the 2014-15 hunting season will be available via the Department’s web site in mid-summer.
*PHOTO CAPTION: 2013 White Lake WCA youth waterfowl hunt participants.