Deer seasons on agenda

Photo provided by TROY WILLEFORDHunter's first trophy buckHunter Willeford shows off a giant 180-pound, 8-point buck he took during a holiday vacation hunt with his family in south Mississippi. The 14-year-old Walker Freshman High student used a 30-30 rifle passed down from his dad to take the giant whitetail. Anna Coplin, 7, left, was along for the holiday hunt. Show caption
Photo provided by TROY WILLEFORDHunter's first trophy buckHunter Willeford shows off a giant 180-pound, 8-point buck he took during a holiday vacation hunt with his family in south Mississippi. The 14-year-old Walker Freshman High student used a 30-30 rifle passed down from his dad to take the giant whitetail. Anna Coplin, 7, left, was along for the holiday hunt.

Bayou Corne cabins open despite sinkhole problems

The ink is hardly dry on the tags that went on all those thousands of deer taken during Louisiana’s 2012-2013 and this coming Thursday, state wildlife biologists and managers will lay out what they believe will be the best way to approach resident-game hunting season through the 2015 season.

South Louisiana deer hunters likely will not see the rubber stamps on the 2014-2015 season as they’ve seen during the past 10 or so years, and might not see the same setup for the 2013-2014 season even though the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission already has set the deer dates in the state’s seven deer areas.

It’s not like Wildlife and Fisheries’ Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck let anything out of the bag when he talked about the prospects of what the next several seasons hold for whitetail deer hunters.

Ribbeck and State Deer Study leader Scott Durham and their teams of field biologists have been putting the south-central and southeastern parishes under a microscope during the last months.

And since the tragic run of devastating storms since 2005, Ribbeck said his section has listened to the pleas of thousands of hunters who’ve responded to the LWDF’s annual hunter survey or called or written to talk about deer in their area.

Comparing the studies, surveys and comments, Ribbeck said weeks of meeting likely will produce a map with more than the current seven deer hunting areas. (Remember that State Deer Area 4 was merged into Area 1 for the 2012-2013 season).

Ribbeck said he was certain that there will be a continued shortened season in portions of State Deer Area 6, which takes in most of the lands in the southeastern parishes south of Interstate 10. These abbreviated seasons will take in parts of seven parishes surrounding Lake Maurepas and will mimic the biologists recommended shortened seasons approved by the commission last October in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

LDWF teams estimated as much as 90-percent fawn mortality in this area after the storm pushed then held, flood waters over low-lying lands around Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

Hunters and landowners in these areas also complained to the Wildlife Division that allowing either-sex hunting season (allows for taking female deer) to be counterproductive to reestablishing deer herds in these hard-hit swamps and marshes and have recommended bucks-only seasons.

Ribbeck said the full outline of their findings and other recommendations will be presented during Thursday’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting scheduled to convene at 9:30 a.m. at the Waddill Wildlife Education Center on North Flannery Road in Baton Rouge.

Still open for business

Most Ducks Unlimited members know Dennis Landry for his lively auctioneer antics at banquets, but another interest is the Sportsman’s Landing & Cajun Cabins at Bayou Corne.

Last week, a landowner closed a canal off Grand Bayou after bubbles coming from the canal (presumably from the nearby sinkhole) put methane gas over the water. The landowner, Steve Landry, said the popular fishing canal would be reopened as soon as the danger from the gas was gone.

The sinkhole is south of La. 70 between Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou, which lay between La. 1 and Pierre Part.

Dennis Landry said the sinkhole has not affected his place.

“Just wanted to let everyone know that Bayou Corne and Sportsman’s Landing of Bayou Corne are still open, have never been closed to boating and fishing,” Dennis Landry said. “We’re still open to the public.”