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Hunting, Research, and Management

Louisiana is one of the most important wintering areas for waterfowl in the United States. For centuries, hordes of ducks and geese have used the state’s coastal bays and marshes, flooded swamps, agricultural fields, inland lakes, river backwaters, and oxbows during migration and winter. These areas also provide breeding habitat for wood ducks, mottled ducks, and a growing number of whistling ducks. This tremendous resource supports some of the top waterfowl hunting in the United States. Louisiana’s waterfowl resources also attract numerous birdwatchers and scientists.

Lottery Hunts

LDWF’s wildlife management areas offer lottery hunts for youth hunters, physically challenged hunters, disabled veterans, and the general public to hunt alligator, deer, dove, turkey, and waterfowl. There are also lottery hunts at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.

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Mandatory Harvest Information Program

If you are licensed to hunt migratory birds (ducks, coots, geese, doves, woodcock, rails, snipe, or gallinules), you must get a Harvest Information Program certification and carry proof of your HIP certification with you whenever you’re hunting migratory birds. If you are age 17 or under, you do not need a HIP certification unless you are participating in a WMA youth waterfowl lottery hunt. You must get HIP certified in every state you hunt migratory birds.

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Federal Duck Stamps

All waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older, even those who are not otherwise required to purchase a license, must have a Federal Duck Stamp.

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Louisiana Duck Stamp Program/Contest

The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Program (Duck Stamp Program) funds the creation, restoration, and enhancement of wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife in Louisiana. This program includes a contest to select the design of the annual state duck stamp.

more informationLouisiana Duck Stamp ORder Form

Surveys and Research

Waterfowl populations are highly dynamic—they change from year to year in response to changing hydrology and land uses which affect habitat quality in both breeding and wintering areas. These birds are also highly mobile, and their distribution may change within a season in response to weather, managed flooding, or hunting pressure. LDWF conducts aerial waterfowl surveys, wood duck banding, harvest surveys, and other research to determine how to best use our time, effort, and funding to most benefit these resources and their habitat as well as our sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts.


LDWF manages waterfowl to provide hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts optimal use of the state’s waterfowl populations while conserving these resources for future generations. Since waterfowl use habitats in a dozen different states and provinces throughout their annual life cycle, we coordinate management with other governments and organizations through the Mississippi Flyway Council. We focus on managing waterfowl habitat in Louisiana and beyond through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, conserving breeding ground habitat, installing wood duck nesting boxes, and providing free assistance to private landowners interested in managing their property for waterfowl.

Migratory Bird Preservation Facilities

A Migratory Bird Preservation Facility is any person, taxidermist, cold storage facility, locker plant, or hunting club which receives, possesses, or is in custody of any migratory game birds belonging to another person for purposes of picking, cleaning, freezing, processing, storage, or shipment. To operate as a Migratory Bird Preservation Facility, the facility must:

  1. Ensure incoming birds are properly tagged
  2. Keep an accurate record of both incoming and outgoing transactions
  3. Allow the premises to be inspected.

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