As difficult as it is to believe, three weeks hence the first shots of the hunting season will have been fired in fields across the state.

The dove season is scheduled to open Sept. 6 in the state’s North and South zones, and the special September teal season will begin its 16-day statewide run the next Saturday, that’s Sept. 13.

These approaching seasons bring several reminders:

The state Department of Revenue has set Sept. 5-7 for the Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday, a state law that provides “an exemption from state and local sales and use taxes on individuals’ purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies on the first Friday through Sunday of each September.”

Almost any item than can be used for hunting is tax exempt, and with federal regs giving dove hunters an extra 20 days this year — it’s going to be a 90-day season up from the 70 days of the last 15 or so years — the tax-free weekend gives hunters a chance to stock up on shotshells for the liberal migratory bird and migratory waterfowl days before stocks get low as has been the case in the late days of the last three bird-hunting seasons.

Hunters, no matter their ages, must have a no-fee Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification before they can legally take any and all migratory birds. This includes doves. HIP endorsements are available from state license vendors; from the state Wildlife and Fisheries website (www.wlf.louisiana.gov/licenses, there’s a $2 online handling fee) and from the state LDWF office on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, needs to successfully complete the Hunter Education Course to get a state hunting license. You need a state license when you reach age 16. An exception for hunters 15 and younger is they can hunt without a Hunter Ed certificate if, according to state regulations, “they are under direct supervision of a qualified person,” who is licensed hunter born before Sept. 1, 1969, or is 18 years or older and carries a Hunter Ed certification.

Ten years old is the minimum age for Hunter Ed certification in our state, and most other states require hunter ed course certificates to obtain nonresident hunting licenses. For instance, slews of Louisiana hunters heading to Colorado to hunt elk, mule deer and pronghorns are surprised when that state requires hunter ed for anyone born after Jan. 1, 1949.

Louisiana’s hunter ed certificates are honored by all states and in all the Canadian provinces.

There are two ways to obtain a hunter ed certificate. One is a by completing a no-fee 10-hour classroom/firing range session (usually over 2-3 days), or, for 14-and-older hunters, an online, home-study $15 course followed by a field-day class. Both require passing a written test.

For details, call Fred Kimmel at (225) 765-2355 or email: fkimmel@wlf.la.gov.

In the mood

The annual Gueydan Duck Festival begins Thursday in the heart of Vermilion Parish.

In addition to retriever trials and an ultra-competitive skeet shoot, the Festival’s headliner comes next Sunday with the annual State Duck and Goose Calling Contest with winners in three age groups earning the right to represent the state in the World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

The Gueydan Duck & Goose Calling Contest, a competition the locals call the “meat-calling contest,” is held the same day at the Civic Center on Wilkinson Street.

Oops, Antique Decoy Show

Thursday’s Outdoors carried a story about the 3rd annual Baton Rouge Antique Decoy Show, a story that was written to run in Sunday’s editions. That’s because the show will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 at BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center off Bluebonnet Boulevard in Baton Rouge, not this weekend as suggested in the story.

Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for youngsters ages 2-17, who’ll have activities like duck identification games, face painting and soap carving mixed with the display of the art that’s come from more than 100-year-old passion for carving waterfowl decoys throughout the state.

Bayou Lafourche carvers with names like Carl Danos, Barry Chauvin and Brian Cheramie will be featured at this year’s show. Cheramie will be the guest speaker at Friday’s 6:30 p.m. dinner set for Ralph & Kacoos in Baton Rouge.

White Lake lotteries

Waterfowl hunters 15 and younger can apply for one of eight spots in special Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 hunters on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish.

There is no fee for any of these spots, and hunters will be selected by lottery with one winner selected from each of the seven geographic areas covered by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Office of Wildlife’s and one at-large hunter drawn from the applicants who did not get drawn for one of the seven spots. The hunts are for one day, which means 16 young hunters will drawn for the weekend hunts.

An LDWF mandate is that the selected hunters must be accompanied in the blind by a parent or guardian, but the young hunter will be the only person in the blind allowed to possess and fire the shotgun.

The application deadline is the close of business on Sept. 11. Applications are available at LDWF field offices, the state office on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge and from the LDWF’s website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications.

For details, call Wayne Sweeney (337) 536-9400, Ext. 1 or email: wsweeney@wlf.la.gov.