Waterfowl hunters will get their wishes Saturday when a cold front arrives just in time for opening day of the special 16-day September teal season.
Reports from the southwestern parishes, especially those spots in the Grand Chenier and Little Chenier areas, are that teal have been feeding in marshes — some are scattered in rice fields — in big numbers for the past two weeks. The cold front should push more teal into the state for opening weekend hunts.
Scattered reports from the south-central and southeastern marshes are teal are in smaller ponds from south of Lafitte and across the Mississippi River into the Delacroix and Biloxi marshes. Teal are also scattered in the off-the-river areas east of Buras. There were no reports coming from the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area, although hunters familiar with that building delta say the approaching front will push birds into those freshwater marshes.
“I’ve seen a few birds in there in the last week, but nothing to write home about,” Ronnie Hebert said. “We’re still planning to hunt there, because we know the teal like to find small pockets in the (Atchafalaya) delta, and all we have to do is find them.
“It’s not going to be easy, because of all the high water this year. After almost six months of high water, we know the delta has changed. There will be more land, more little islands, and that’s good because it’ll give us more places to find teal,” he said. “And the good part is that the teal moving in with this front will stay bunched up and give us good hunting opportunity.”
Hunters’ takes during the special teal season is for bluewing, greenwing and cinnamon teal only.
Nontoxic shot is mandatory, and hunters are required to have state and federal waterfowl stamps. Hunters with state lifetime licenses are not required to have the state waterfowl stamp, but all hunters ages 16 and older must have a current federal waterfowl stamp. And, remember the federal stamp went up to $25 this year.
Hunters also are required to have a state hunting license and the no-fee federal Harvest Information Program certification.
And if you’re planning to hunt the Biloxi WMA, state Wildlife and Fisheries managers sent out a notice that hunters need to heed new engine restrictions on that WMA.
The new rule is that mud boats or air-cooled propelled boats “can only be powered by straight-shaft, long-tail, air-cooled, mud motors that are 25 total horsepower or less. All other types of mud boats or air-cooled propulsion vessels, including surface-drive boats, are prohibited.
For more on the Biloxi WMA, go to the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/32647.
Boating safety class
This just in, the Baton Rouge-based Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 4-10 is offering a one-day About Boating Safety course Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Cabela’s in Gonzales. The course meets the state’s mandatory boating education standard, and boat drivers born after Jan. 1, 1984, must successfully complete a boating education course, and carry proof of completion, to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.
There’s no charge for the course, but the course’s book costs $25. Flotilla officers would like to know if you plan to attend. Email: email@example.com to let them know.
Remember the story about Tim Champagne’s catch of a massive mangrove snapper, an 18.63-pounder that shattered the state record. It’s been approved for the State Top 10 Record List, and after he submitted his catch to the International Game Fish Association, it’s a pending world record.
Other top catches in the summer fish-record update are Grant Derouen’s giant 108.8-pound cobia that moved into third place on the state list, and a state-record gray triggerfish, a 12.4-pound whopper taken by Chad Bonvillain in June from state waters.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge announced plans for an open archery deer season and a lottery waterfowl hunts for adult and youths.
The refuge is about six miles southwest of Houma, and is accessible only by boat.
Archery hunting will conform to State Deer Area 9 dates, a bucks-only hunting from Oct. 1-15, then an allowed either-sex take Oct. 16-Feb. 15. Go to the refuge’s website for complete rules and regs: www.fws.gov/mandalay/.
There’s an Oct. 15 deadline for applying for the lottery waterfowl hunt, which will be held Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the 60-day Coastal Zone waterfowl season.
The youth lottery is for the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 youth-only hunt. Open/adult lottery hunts will begin Nov. 11 and run through Jan. 16. Five hunters will be drawn for each date to hunt from five floating/boat-hide blinds. Each blind has a three-hunter maximum, and hunters will have to furnish boat, decoys and other equipment. A completed lottery application must be at refuge headquarters by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15. Applications are available and can be delivered or mailed to refuge headquarters at Mandalay Waterfowl Lottery Hunt, 1725 Willow Street, Franklin, LA 70538, faxed (337) 828-0061, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications are available on the refuge’s website.
Call Brian Pember at (985) 860-6681 for more information.
Catahoula drawdown over
State Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds said the annual drawdown of Catahoula Lake finally has been completed after a prolonged period of spring-summer flooding. Wildlife managers draw the lake’s water down to produce the grasses and other food for overwintering waterfowl.
“If the water level stays within our target levels, there is still enough time to get production of desirable waterfowl food plants like millet and sprangletop before re-flooding in November,” state Catahoula biologist Cliff Dailey said.
The LDWF and the Army Corps of Engineers co-manage the lake’s water.
Eagle Lake sac-a-lait
In a joint agreement with Mississippi fisheries managers, the LDWF announced that as of Oct. 1 there will be new sac-a-lait regulations on Eagle Lake, an oxbow bordering both states. It’s in Madison Parish on the Louisiana side.
Both states will have a 30-fish-per day limit with an 11-inch minimum length limit. The agreement between the two states calls for a population stock assessment after four years, along with a fishermen’s survey, to determine future sac-a-lait management for this lake.