West Zone duck hunters successfully beat back an amendment to the 2016-2017 hunting seasons that would have dramatically altered their season dates, but more than a dozen members of the Louisiana Hog Hunters Association were unsuccessful in their bid to keep three wildlife management areas open for using dogs to take feral swine.
The votes came during Thursday’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s regular monthly meeting in Baton Rouge.
For duck hunters in the now three-year-old redrawn West Zone, the issue was an amendment offered in March to create a near three-week opening between first and second splits of the 60-day duck season.
Bossier City hunter John Clark spoke against the move: “Northwest Louisiana is a staging area for ducks, not an overwintering area, and we’re taking ducks passing through our area. It would be detrimental to our hunting.”
Clark said the proposed three-week split would come at a time of heavy duck movement into the northern parishes.
The move to amend the season failed for the lack of a second, and will keep the West Zone duck season with Nov. 12-Dec. 4 and Dec. 17-Jan 22 splits with youth-only dates remaining Nov. 5 and Jan. 28.
The LHHA members were seeking to overturn a proposal that would eliminate the Boeuf, Richard Yancey and Dewey Wills WMAs from an approved list of 13 WMAs with February-only uses of dogs to take feral hogs. An amendment offered in March, and approved Thursday by the LWFC, will allow the season to continue on a part of Dewey Wills WMA north of the Catahoula Lake Diversion Canal.
The LWFC ratified two other amendments, one that moved the opening date of North and South goose-zone seasons from Nov. 12 to Nov. 5 (adding seven days to the season) and the other to allow the use of mud boats and other surface-drive boats after 2 p.m. in Pass-a-Loutre and South, Southeast, Loomis, Dennis and Cadro passes in and around the Pass-al-Loutre WMA. A new Pass-a-Loutre WMA regulation prohibits the use of these vessels after 2 p.m.
Other commission actions included:
Approving a resolution directing the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to continue support for the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority, and urging the U.S. Congress to transfer fisheries management authority to the five Gulf States;
Hearing a update about Chronic Wasting Disease action plans, and learning the always fatal deer disease has not been detected in the state;
Hearing an updated report from legislative liaison Cole Garrett about 34 bills affecting the LDWF, including House Bill 178 to complete the every-four-year process of recreating the department, another that would increase from five to 10 percent the reduction of constitutionally protected finds like the Conservation and Artificial Reef funds, and another that would abolish those two funds;
Learning Enforcement Division agents worked seven boating accidents, including two fatalities.
, rescued more than 750 during March flooding events in 19 parishes, and issued 690 citations, including eight for hunting turkeys over baited areas;
And, setting it’s August meeting for Aug. 4 in Baton Rouge.