Hunters have good news for the coming weekend.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the reopening of Maurepas Swamp, Manchac and Joyce wildlife management areas, that take in parts of Ascension, Livingston, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Tangipahoa parishes.
The areas were shut down to all but waterfowl hunting for the 12 days beginning Jan. 12 after continued heavy rains flooded rivers and streams throughout southeast Louisiana.
Reopening these areas allows hunters access to more than 130,000 acres in the middle of the state largest metropolitan areas.
The Pearl River WMA in St. Tammany Parish remains closed because of high water that continues to block access at the Old U.S. 11 gate.
Though later than last year because water temperatures remained too high for the project, four ponds located in BREC parks have been stocked with rainbow trout.
They are Forest Park off South Harrell’s Ferry Road, Perkins Road Park, North Sherwood Forest Park and Zachary Community Parks off La. 964 in Zachary. The first three are in Baton Rouge.
There is a four-fish-per-day limit, and anglers who need a state fishing license must have it in their possession to fish the ponds.
Young hunters ages 8-17 have a Feb. 1 deadline to apply for one of the spots for the March 16 lottery turkey hunt on Kisatchie National Forest lands.
It’s a first lottery hunt for the KNF.
KNF wildlife biologist Jonny Fryar said the lottery hunt allows access to vast acres for the special youth hunt.
“Opening the 600,000 acres of forest land that make up the KNF will almost double the amount of land available, and more importantly, double the opportunity for youth turkey hunting in Louisiana,” Fryar said.
The hunt is a cooperative effort among the KNF, the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The Kisatchie folks are opening five ranger districts inside the national forest.
There will be 20 young hunters allowed on each of four districts and 15 spots in the Caney District.
A lottery drawing by the LDWF at its state headquarters in Baton Rouge will determine the lucky hunters.
Lottery applications are available at the LDWF’s website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts. Follow the instructions for mailing. Each application requires a $5 nonrefundable “administrative” fee.
All applications must be in the LDWF office no later than 4:30 p.m. Feb.1.
The drawing will be held in early March, and the hunters drawn will be notified by mail.
For more information about the lottery hunt or the Kisatchie National Forest hunt, call the Forest Supervisor’s office in Pineville at (318) 473-7160.
The 35th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show — The SHOT Show — ended its four-day run Friday in Las Vegas.
The show, open to vendors, buyers and media only, drew a record crowd of 62,371, including in excess of 1,600 vendors, making it the fifth-largest trade show in Vegas.
Clearly the biggest draws are hunting weapons, ammo and all manners of hunting-related and sporting guns-related gear, and the most discussed topic was continued discussion of a tax on military-style weapons purchased by the public.
Dog Leg done
State Natural Resources Department folks announced earlier this month that dredging of the Dog Leg Canal in the Attakapas Island Wildlife Management Area inside the Atchafalaya Spillway was completed in six weeks and should begin to move more water from the Atchafalaya River into the swampy, backwater areas in the spillway’s central section.
The $184,000 project was designed to restore the canal’s sediment trap at the cut and improve water quality around the east bank of the Atchafalaya River near Grand Lake. The total cost of the project was $184,000.