For West Zone duck hunters wanting a sneak peak into what awaits them for Saturday’s opening day, maybe all they have to do is check out what young hunters did during last weekend’s special youth-only hunt on public areas.
Estimates from those hunts showed a high of 5.7 ducks per hunter on the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area near the mouth of the Mississippi River, to 4 ducks per hunter at Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA in Terrebonne Parish, to a 3.4 average in the Wax Area of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA to 1.6 per hunter on the Salvador WMA southwest of New Orleans.
The first three listed are exceptional showings for public-hunting areas.
With most reports indicating bluewing teal dominating the landscape for Saturday’s opener of the first split in a 60-day regular West Zone season, it was odd that Pointe-aux-Chenes (36 percent) and Salvador (75 percent) showed a predominance of bluewings in the youth-hunt bag.
Greenwing teal (27 percent) and pintails (21 percent) dominated the take from the Atchafalaya Delta, while pintails (33 percent) and gray ducks (28 percent) topped the Pass a Loutre action.
All totaled, the estimates were that 120 young hunters took 480 ducks Saturday at Pointe-aux-Chenes, 90 hunters claimed 305 birds on the Atchafalaya Delta, 15 hunters had 85 ducks at Pass a Loutre, and 15 hunters carried out only 24 ducks at Salvador.
The cold front that blew Wednesday into south Louisiana should push more ducks to the coastal marshes for opening weekend.
The two factors that could hurt opening morning action are that the north winds pushed water from already low ponds in the southwestern parishes and a return to southeast winds on a chilly Saturday morning.
South Louisiana anglers Dwayne Eschete and Eddie Adams wound up in fifth place Sunday in the IFA Redfish Championship out of the Gulf Outlet Marina in Chalmette, a finish that earned them $5,000 for the circuit’s Cabela’s 2011 Team of the Year Award.
Two more Cajun anglers, Chad Dufrene and Jay Cedotal, won $5,000 for taking the IFA Ultra 6 Award.
In Monroe, Jason Pecoraro caught five-bass limits all three days but finished 19th (20 pounds, 3 ounces) in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship held on the Ouachita River. Alabama angler Jamie Horton won with a 36-2 total.