After nearly a month of public comment that mostly decried a proposal to shift the youth waterfowl weekend away from the customary start of the duck season, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission voted to open the state’s two duck-hunting zones with the two-day special youth hunt.
The proposal heard at the LWFC?s July 7 meeting sought to push the youth weekend in the state’s East and West Waterfowl zones to the weekend between the first and second splits in both zones.
State Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds said respondents votes 158-58 to retain the traditional openers the weekend before the regular 60-day duck season opens in the two zones. West Zone hunters were 75-19 against the proposal.
“There was a strong outpouring of animosity about moving that (youth) date,” Reynolds told the commission.
It means that hunters 15 and younger will be able to hunt ducks Nov. 5-6 in the West Zone and Nov. 12-13 in the East Zone. The West Zone?s first in a 60-day duck season is Nov. 12. It?s Nov. 19 in the East Zone, where the first split has changed to a nine-day run (through Nov. 27) with the balance of 51 days coming in a Dec. 10-Jan. 29 second split.
The only other notable change in the late-season migratory bird seasons approved Thursday by the LWFC was adding two days to what usually is a 72-day goose season.
Other commission action included:
-?Setting the opening date for the Fall Inshore Shrimp season for 6 a.m. Aug. 22 in all three state shrimping zones;
-?Approving a notice of intent to have state regulations comply with federal rules for taking yellowfin tuna (3 per person per day) and bluefin tuna (1 per boat per year as an incidental catch) and size limits on yellowfin, bigeye and bluefin tuna. The major change in regulations is moving the minimum size on bluefin from 27 inches curved fork length to 73 inches curved fork length;
-?Learning about the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries? new Louisiana Hunting Heritage Program;
-?Approving a notice of intent to allow taking mullet to be resold as live bait. The proposed regulation allows taking mullet with a cast net - of no more than 12 feet in radius, operated manually, during any season;?
-?Approving a notice of intent that sets the Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permit to run from Oct. 1-Sept. 30 and limited the number of annual permits to 126;
-?Approving a notice of intent that removes the safe-boating Rules of the Road from Title 76 (Wildlife and Fisheries statutes) and moves the same regulations into Title 34 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes;
-?Learning that state Enforcement Division agents issued 1,691 citations and 744 written warnings during July with 26 of the citations involving driving while intoxicated.
-?Learning there were four boating fatalities in the state during July, that all four victims were not wearing life jackets and there have been 31 boating fatalities in the state this year;
-?And approving its December meeting for Dec. 1 in Baton Rouge.