It’s an annual appeal, and it comes from biologists who manage the two most hunted species in Louisiana.
Federal and state waterfowl biologists want duck and goose hunters to report taking banded birds.
And state’s wildlife biologists want deer hunters to use tags, and to receive a call when a trophy buck is taken from woods and fields.
It was during one of the recent appeals for waterfowl hunters to report bands, that Cordell Haymon called The Advocate to talk about a once-in-a-lifetime hunt.
No, it wasn’t that he’d taken a limit of ducks, or his favorite quarry, the specklebelly goose, but that one of the “specks” he’d taken on a hunt near the White Lake Preserve in Vermilion Parish was wearing what hunters call “jewelry,” a band.
Haymon followed the instructions on the bank, called the band’s number in to the 24-hour hotline, and waited for a response.
“The band was worn, but I could read it. (The band) looked old, but I didn’t know how old,” Haymon said. “I was stunned when I got the certificate, because it showed that the goose was hatched in 1992 or earlier, making it almost 17 years old — at a minimum — at the time it was shot (in 2009).”
While the major effort among bird biologists targets ducks and geese — and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has targeted wood ducks and mottled ducks for state banding programs — state and federal staffs also band woodcock and doves, and those bands need to be reported, too.
Band data is an important management tool, because biologists use them to continue studies in populations and migration patterns of migratory birds. State teams band in excess of 2,000 wood ducks annually and, in August, completed another banding effort on mottled ducks, the state’s only native duck.
To report taking a bird with a band, call toll-free 1-800-327-BAND (2263). Operators are on duty to 24 hours daily through the hunting season to take calls. The operator will ask for the band number and when and where it was recovered.
Like Haymon, you will receive a certificate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with information about the bird, and the band, a true prize for waterfowl hunters. You also can report bird bands to the U.S. Geological Study’s website: www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl.
Now that the modern firearms season is open statewide, the LDWF’s Deer Study Program is continuing its monitoring of trophy bucks through its Big Game Records Program. There are minimum Typical and Nontypical antler sizes in Modern Firearms, Archery and Muzzleloader (but not all primitive weapons) in State Recognition, State Record and Boone and Crockett lists.
For instance, for “typical” antlers, the minimum score for State Recognition is 130. It’s 160 for the State Record list and 170 points to make the national Boone and Crockett list.
For “nontypical” antlers, the respective points minimum jumps to 165, 185 and 195. The Pope & Young and Longhunter groups have respective lists for archery and muzzleloader hunters with minimum points standards for trophy bucks.
These minimums and the LDWF-compiled lists can be found under the “Hunting” tab on the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana,gov.
Deer must be scored by a biologist who’s a certified scorer. Call the LDWF (225) 765-2800 and ask for the Wildlife Division during weekday work hours to find an certified scorer in your area.
Remember your tags
Citations for failure to tag deer taken in the state began showing in November’s LDWF Enforcement Division report, and years into the tagging program, hunters should know to carry and use the tags.
Try making a tagging kit: Using a Zip-Loc or similar closable, waterproof plastic bag, fill it with your tags, a pen or pencil and a handful of wire ties. Make sure the writing instrument can write on the tags’ waterproof paper. Then keep this kit in the sack you carry to the field. Deer, both does and bucks, must be tagged before leaving the field.
Another note about tags, this one about waterfowl and deer.
If you’re transporting another hunter’s birds or deer then those need to be tagged, too.
Possession tags for both resident game and migratory birds can be found in the back of this year’s Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet. Or you can make one. You need the hunter’s name and address, his LDWF number or an authorization number for licenses issued by telephone or through the Internet, the date the game was taken, species, number of animals for that tag, and, if deer, then the animal’s sex. The hunter’s signature is required only for transporting migratory birds.
A new duck area
The LDWF announced just before Thanksgiving that a new waterfowl impoundment has been completed north of the Catahoula Lake Diversion Canal on the Dewey Wills Wildlife Management Area. Dewey Wills is about 20 miles northeast of Alexandria in the southern reaches of LaSalle and Catahoula parishes.
The advisory came with a note that flooding has temporarily closed Camp Bayou Road off La. 28. There’s a gate at this road and hunters can park near the gate to upload ATVs. Hunters will be allowed to use the portion of the road that is closed.
Hunters also can walk or paddle this new area from any designated access point. A map of the area can be found on the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2753.