Duck hunters say they’ve had enough rain

Photo provided by RODI RISPONEA bow-hunting world recordMichael Rutland stands behind the bull elk he took last August on the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Idaho. The LSU student, son of former LSU football player Pepper Rutland, received notice last week from Safari Coub International that his trophy, taken with a bow, is the largest nontypical elk ever submitted in North America. Official scorer Garet Jones measured the giant elk with a score of 566 4/8, a total that beat the then-world record of 460. The elk came from the Blackfoot Mountains in Bingham County, Idaho ranch owned by former Denver Broncos defensive end Rulon Jones. The main beams measured 59 2/8 inches on one side and 59 inches on the other, and the total length of the elk's typical tines were 266 5/8 with the circumference of the main beams measuring a total of 79 inches.
Photo provided by RODI RISPONEA bow-hunting world recordMichael Rutland stands behind the bull elk he took last August on the Broadmouth Canyon Ranch in Idaho. The LSU student, son of former LSU football player Pepper Rutland, received notice last week from Safari Coub International that his trophy, taken with a bow, is the largest nontypical elk ever submitted in North America. Official scorer Garet Jones measured the giant elk with a score of 566 4/8, a total that beat the then-world record of 460. The elk came from the Blackfoot Mountains in Bingham County, Idaho ranch owned by former Denver Broncos defensive end Rulon Jones. The main beams measured 59 2/8 inches on one side and 59 inches on the other, and the total length of the elk's typical tines were 266 5/8 with the circumference of the main beams measuring a total of 79 inches.

OK, so now that Mother Nature has given duck hunters what they asked for, namely enough rain to fill the marshes and agricultural fields, those same hunters are asking for her to turn off the spigot.

“There’s so much water here, I don’t look for a good last couple of weeks for the season,” Billy Sims said after surveying his field south of Monroe. “We were doing real good on greenheads (mallards), pintails, some grays and ringnecks around New Year’s (day), but the fields have too much water now and the birds aren’t coming in.”

Catahoula Lake guide Mike Bradford said he canceled hunts for next week after he and friends “spent a day in our favorite blind and didn’t fire a shot. You can take some diving ducks (ringnecks, redheads, scaup and canvasbacks) on the south end of the lake, but that’s not the birds we’re after. We had good hunting on mallards and springs (pintails), but that’s gone now.”

Rains since the extreme Christmas Day storms have some of the most productive southwestern marshes with too much water, and the unusually wet conditions over fields void of water last season have sent blue and snow geese packing to central Louisiana fields.

Last week’s harvest surveys from four wildlife management areas shows only Pass a Loutre WMA south of Venice with above-average takes. The area showed an average of five ducks per hunter, while Pointe- aux-Chenes dropped to 1.5 per hunter, with Atchafalaya Delta down to 1.1, and Salvador at 0.8.

The stormy weather conditions have delayed the Wildlife and Fisheries’ January aerial survey, so don’t expect the January numbers any time soon.

On Peason Ridge

Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck cleared up a misunderstanding regarding Peason Ridge from last week’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.

Ribbeck said the U.S. Army asked Wildlife and Fisheries to cancel the season after low participation, and Ribbeck sent a note that the Army’s reference was to the state’s only fall turkey season, not the other resident-game deer seasons on the 33,000-acre wildlife management tract the Army uses for training troops stationed at Fort Polk.

The Army allows hunters the use of the area during the hunting seasons, and Ribbeck’s staff confers with Fort Polk brass before establishing dates for deer and other hunting seasons.

Ribbeck said the Army spent funds to open Peason Ridge for a lottery hunts three years ago, but only 36 hunters used the area for the 2012 fall turkey hunts, a number too low to make the expenditure worthwhile.

Ribback will announce hunting dates for all wildlife management areas at the Feb. 7 commission meeting.

Latest bust

Wildlife and Fisheries’ Enforcement Division agents arrested Winnsboro city police officer Chester Coleman, and cited Winnsboro policeman Joshua Martin and Franklin Parish Detention Center corrections officer Hunter Guimbellot for allegedly taking a deer during illegal hours.

The LDWF reported the incident happened Monday.

Coleman was arrested for using a light to take a deer at night, hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting without proper licenses and failing to tag the deer. Martin was cited for taking the deer with the light and hunting from a moving vehicle.

The LDWF release stated Coleman was on duty at the time of the alleged incident, used Martin’s rifle to take the deer, and the three men put the deer into the trunk of the police vehicle. An informant called to report the incident.