BY JOE MACALUSO
Advocate Outdoors writer
November 08, 2012
Deer hunters across most southeastern parishes will face restricted dates and limits after a post-Hurricane Isaac report discussed during Thursday’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.
The report, compiled by Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Wildlife Division, examined Isaac’s high-water effects on the deer populations in what Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck said was the Lake Maurepas Basin and in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.
While the archery seasons throughout these areas will remain the same, primitive and modern firearms seasons will be shortened by as many as 14 days in some places with a near complete reduction in either-sex hunting days, a move that will make the firearms season most buck-only hunting.
Ribbeck said staff estimates as high as 90 percent fawn mortality and termed adult mortality was “light to moderate” in the 391,000 acres making up the Maurepas Basin. This includes 140,000 acres in LDWF wildlife management areas, mostly the Maurepas Swamp, Joyce and Manchac WMAs.
The Maurepas Basin includes all or parts of Livingston, Ascension, St. James, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes.
Ribbeck said Isaac’s 5-6 foot high storm surge lingered over the Maurepas Basin for an extended period to further contribute to deer mortality.
WMAs affected by the restricted seasons in the Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes include Biloxi Marsh and Pass-a-Loutre, and private lands mostly on the east side of the Plaquemines Parish and most of St. Bernard Parish outside the new flood containment levee. Ribbeck said a 14-foot storm surge was the main factor in what was “likely high fawn mortality and likely low adult (deer) mortality” in these two parishes.
Ribbeck said the information was gleaned from ground, water and air reconnaissance by LDWF personnel, including information from Enforcement Division agents during search-and-rescue operations, the public, landowners and hunters.
Other LWFC action included:
- learning that the U.S. Forest Service approved a regional plan that would ban the use of dogs to hunt deer on the Kisatchie National Forest;
- approving the 2013 spring turkey season dates for a March 23 statewide open day with seasons to run through April 21 in Area A, April 14 for Area B lands and April 7 on Area C lands. The statewide private-lands youth and physically challenged hunter weekend will be March 16-17. Ratification of the dates includes additional youth lottery hunts on Catahoula, Caney, Kisatchie and Winn ranger districts in the Kisatchie National Forest;
- approving a Notice of Intent to drop the crappie daily limit from 50 to 25 on Lake D’Arbonne near Farmerville;
- approving a notice outlining changes in hunting regulations governing the use of hawks and other birds of prey after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced state regulatory agencies will take over management of these programs effective Jan. 1, 2014;
- learning that Enforcement Division agents issued 798 citations and 256 written warnings in September. The division also reported a single boating fatality during September to bring 2012’s boating fatality to 28 compared to 32 reported during the first nine months in 2011;
- listening to a complaint from north Louisiana landowner Michael Gough about a high-fence operation in a three-parish area that’s restricting whitetail deer movement;
- and approving its February 2013 meeting for Feb. 7 in Baton Rouge.