Hunters who use dogs to hunt deer on Kisatchie National Forest lands in north Louisiana likely will have a season. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has set a special meeting for Wednesday in Baton Rouge to consider the matter.
During its Aug. 4 meeting, the LWFC heard pleas from dog hunters to re-establish dates on Kisatchie. A U.S. Forest Service ruling turned back the Atlanta regional office’s earlier decision to ban the use of dogs on the more than 600,000 acres that make up Louisiana’s largest national forest.
The LWFC meeting is 9:30 a.m. in the Louisiana Room on the first floor of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters on Quail Drive.
Several commission members told the petitioning hunters that the time to establish hunting seasons in the state had run its course in June. Wednesday’s meeting comes after the LWFC’s decision to use “emergency declaration” provisions in state statutes to establish what appears will be an eight-day with or without dogs deer season on Kisatchie.
The state is offering waterfowl lottery hunts for groups of up to 12 hunters on the waterfowl-rich White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.
Although the $30,000 price for the two-day hunts limits the field of applicants - there’s a mandatory $2,500 deposit required for each application - the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has had problems filling out the hunting schedule in recent years.
The application deadline is the close of business Aug. 31. The application and complete rules are listed on the LDWF website: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts.
The schedule calls for hunters to show up the afternoon prior to the first hunting day. Lodging, meals, licenses, shotshells, hunting and fishing guides, game and fish cleaning, and transportation to Jennings or Lake Charles airports are available.
Call Wayne Sweeney at (337) 479-1894 for information.
Lottery deer hunts on the Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge are open to primitive-weapon and youth hunters. The application deadline is Aug. 31.
There are three primitive firearms deer hunts options: Dec. 3-4, Jan. 7-8 and Jan. 21-22. One application is good for five hunters. the application fee is $5 (money order only), and hunters drawn for the hunts must buy a $15 Central Louisiana NWR Complex permit.
There is no fee for the youth (ages 12-15) deer hunts Nov. 22, Dec. 10 and Dec. 19. Ten young hunters will be drawn per hunting date, and each hunter drawn must be accompanied by a parent or guardian age 21 or older. The hunts will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon each day.
Application and regulations are at http://www.fws.gov/lakeophelia.
The approach of the hunting season triggers a spurt of LDWF-approved hunter education classes, in which younger hunters can get the hunter-education certificates they need to buy a state hunting license.
State law requires anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, to successfully complete a hunter education course to hunt in Louisiana. An exception allows those age-class hunters to go afield “under the direct supervision of someone over 18 years old that has a valid hunting license or proof of completion of a hunter education course.”
Hunters have two options: either attend a 10-hour classroom course (offered over two or three days) or complete the classroom work with a home-study CD-ROM or online through the LDWF website. The home-study option must accompany a field day on the firing range.
Program administrator John Sturgis said there is no minimum age for attending a hunter education class, but a person must be at least 10 to receive hunter education certification.
Sturgis said hunters planning out-of-state hunts should find out about the hunter-ed requirements for the states they plan to visit: The Louisiana hunter education certification is valid in all states.
Five classroom courses begin Friday, including a class at the Waddill Wildlife Education Center on North Flannery Road. Others are set for Ponchatoula, Pollock, Pineville and Reeves. Another begins Saturday at the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Training Center in Pearl River.
For a list of courses, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/hunter-education.
For information, call Sturgis at (225) 763-5448.
Open WMA, NWR
Closed in May after the opening of the Morganza Floodway, the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge has been reopened by federal officials just days after the LDWF reopened the nearby Sherburne Wildlife Management Area.
The lands within both the NWR and the WMA are open, but La. 975 south off U.S. 190 (near Krotz Springs) is closed while repairs are being made to the roadway. Roads north from Interstate 10 at the Whiskey Bay exit are open and provide access to both areas, including Happytown, Bayou Manuel, Refuge, Double Gate, Landing and Section 120 roads.
The LDWF announced last week that the Sherburne public rifle, handgun, archery and shotgun ranges are open.