The only decision sportsmen across the Sportsman’s Paradise should have to make is what kind of fish is on an evening-meal menu.
Yes, fishing — freshwater and saltwater — is that good, but remember we have nine days left get in on terrific red snapper action.
Yet, for thousands of Louisiana outdoorsmen, decisions reached during the next months will affect how they spend tens of thousands of hours in the next months and years. What’s best is that they can have a hand in making those decisions.
Come Aug. 4, the seven-members Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will decide when ducks hunters can move to blinds for the coming season. Sometime in the next months, the LWFC could decide to change the face to Louisiana duck hunting through 2015-2016.
State Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds outlined a somewhat minor shift in the 60-day 2011-2012 duck season: The West Zone’s season splits will remain intact (except for calendar adjustments), but a change will move the youth-only hunt to Dec. 10-11, a departure from the customary weekend before the regular season. That means the proposed West Zone dates are Nov. 12–Dec. 4 and Dec. 17–Jan. 22.
East Zone hunters face the biggest change. Reynolds cited a recent survey to recommend cutting seven days from the customary 16-day first split and adding it to the second split. That means proposed East Zone dates are Nov. 19–27 and Dec. 10–Jan. 29 with the special youth-only weekend set Dec. 3-4.
At Thursday’s LWFC meeting, Mandeville wild waterfowler Perry Scioneaux said he liked the move because it gives East Zoners more days in the year when ducks move into East Zone areas.
Guess my only problem with all that are the youth days. What’s wrong with giving youngsters first shots at ducks. Sticking the youth weekend in the middle of the closed-between-splits days interrupts the “resting days” for ducks.
Anyway, Reynolds wants to hear hunters’ reactions. He’ll take comments through Aug. 4 at Larry Reynolds, Waterfowl Program Study Leader, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s not all: Reynolds said the survey indicated hunters would like to see a bigger change and he said he believes a three-zone, two-splits-per-zone duck season could be the solution.
The short version is that the state would be divided into East, West and Coastal zones. Redrawn lines would loop Catahoula Lake into the West Zone (from the East Zone and move the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain into the Coastal Zone, which would have early-in-the-season dates similar to this year’s West Zone dates.
Reynolds said the LDWF could forward that decision to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service next year, and that he wants input on this, too from sportsmen, too. Please oblige him.