Before we get waist deep in a big hunting seasons push, it’s time to take a quick look at the changes approved earlier this year.

The big change for duck hunters is the switch from a three-zone plan to two zones (East and West) with different dates amidst the 60-day season for the two splits in each zone.

For waterfowl hunters taking to the major public wildlife management areas, a new regulation allows the use of battery-operated trolling motors to get to the limited-access areas on these WMAs. LLAs are designated areas within each WMA where combustion engines are banned. Also, waterfowl hunting will close at 2 p.m. on the Salvador/Timken WMA.

For deer hunters, there’s a continued one buck and one antlerless deer per day limit except when there’s a mandated bucks-only season, but while the season limit remains six total deer, hunters will be restricted to taking no more than three antlered or four antlerless deer in State Deer Areas 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

In Deer Areas 4 and 10, the season limit is three with a season limit “not to exceed two antlered or two antlerless deer.”

Other major changes include:

  • Allowing the use of air rifles and bows/arrows to take raccoons and opossums;
  • Removing the requirement to obtain a LDWF permit to take nuisance wildlife and outlaw quadrupeds at night during hunting season on private property, but continuing the requirement to advise local law enforcement of the nighttime hunting;
  • A change in the deer-tagging requirement means, “once a harvested deer has been tagged and validated, the hunter will no longer be required to possess antlers or sex organs as long as the tag remains with the carcass.” This allows a hunter the need to retain fewer body parts to transport a deer, which reduces the potential of the spread of CWD from infected body parts.
  • And allowing tracked ATVs and UTVs on WMAs’ ATV/UTV trails as long as the vehicles meet current LDWF length and width requirements for those trails.

The Louisiana Hunting Pamphlet 2021-2022 is available on the Wildlife and Fisheries website: wlf.louisiana.gov. Printed copies are available at LDWF offices and should be available at license vendors.

USA on the Ouachita

More than 100 qualifiers in Boater and Nonboater divisions from most of the lower 48 states are in Monroe this week for the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on the Ouachita River.

Competition runs Wednesday through Friday with a 7:15 a.m. daily launch and a 3:15 p.m. weigh-in at from Forsythe Park.

The anglers come from the five B.A.S.S. Nation regionals and finished atop their state teams in the regionals. This tournament will take the top three anglers to the 2022 Bassmaster Classic.

The commission

Speckled trout tops the discussion for Thursday’s 9:30 a.m. Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set for state Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters on 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

Two agenda items will focus on trout, namely a “Summary of 2021 Spotted Seatrout Surveys,” and state marine biologist Jason Adriance’s updated trout assessment, which will delve into “basin-specific trends and updated spotted seatrout management measures."

Other items will discuss limits and seasons on sharks in state waters, and confirmation of commission meeting dates for each month in 2022.

The meeting will be available via Zoom, and public comment can be filed by 2 p.m. Wednesday via email: Comments@wlf.la.gov, or by attending the meeting.

Red snapper

Through Oct. 17, our state’s private recreational red snapper landing estimate stands at 679,307 pounds about 81% of this year’s 832,493-pound allocation. That’s an increase of 24,274 pounds from the Oct. 10 report and comes after Wildlife and Fisheries opened the season to a daily take of four red snapper (16-inch minimum length) per person.

  • Offshore fishermen should note the greater amberjack season is closed Monday and will not reopen until May 1.