Outdoors photo

Lauren Taylor, left, made her dad, Porter, proud during the recently concluded special 16-day September teal season on a hunt east of Alexandria. 'She more than held her own with the men in the blind,' Porter Taylor said. Like most teal hunters, the four hunters and their guide found enough birds to make a successful hunt — they were two birds shy of a limit — but had to take their birds from scattered flights of bluewing teal. 'It was a great birthday present for her,' dad Porter said, adding his St. Joseph Academy freshman daughter 'is a fully committed hunter now.'

Any evaluation of September’s 16-day teal season has to be taken with a grain of salt, maybe a little pepper and, for some, the onions and other spices making a celebratory duck dinner.

Smiles were mixed with a near equal number of frowns from the reports of 22 hunters who spread out across central and southern parishes.

“We had to work for the birds,” Baton Rouge hunter Porter Taylor said. “We hunted an area east of Alexandria toward Catahoula Lake and we finished with 28 teal for the four hunters and our guide.”

That’s two shy of a six-per-hunter limit, and, by any account, that’s a successful hunt and more than enough for a family supper.

Most folks were like the Taylors — dad Porter took his high school-aged daughter, Lauren, on the hunt — and found the teal came into ponds in small groups. That means remaining constantly on the watch, staying still and quiet and working calls well into mid-morning to make those numbers.

Hunters able to get into the Mississippi River delta came away with smiles, mostly because there was a lack of hunters in the wake of Hurricane Ida and because access was drastically limited. Most notable were reports of limited damage to the delta’s marshes in stark contrast to reports from the Delacroix and MRGO/Intracoastal Waterway area where the storm severely impacted submerged aquatic vegetation, the food that attracts and holds ducks.

Word from the Cameron-Vermilion parishes marshes was freshwater marshes continued to recover from 2020’s storms.

September’s success mirrored the 2020 big-duck season when hunters found good numbers of birds early, but had empty skies in subsequent days.

Hunters there enjoyed limits in the first four or five days of this September season, then were able to take only two to three teal in the next few days, then didn’t fire a shot in last days leading to the Sept. 26 closure.

Now, a week after season’s end, waterfowl hunters have six weeks to get ready for the 60-day, big-duck season, and will see the results in the fall flight from what looked like a dry and warm breeding season in the Canadian provinces.

H4H’s thank you

Julie Grunewald, the Louisiana Hunters for the Hungry boss, sent along a note thanking area sportsmen for donating a little more than 17,000 pounds of frozen game and fish during last week’s Clean Out Your Freezer Day.

“We are in awe of your generosity and can't thank you enough for your time, resources, and dedication to this program,” Grunewald said.

She said if anyone needs donations to be picked up, email: julie@h4hla.org

ID your target

Here’s hoping Louisiana can avoid the tragedy that unfolded in Colorado in mid-September.

It’s hard to visualize how a bowhunter could mistake another hunter for an elk, but that’s what happened in the fatal hunting incident. Even cow elk are massive animals and bulls have antlers that cut into the sky — I've seen several massive bulls in the Rocky and Smoky mountains — and it’s difficult to imagine how this could happen.

With the deer season open across our state, it’s imperative for you to make sure you know your target.

Hot spots

The Atchafalaya Basin continues to be the hottest bass/sac-a-lait spot in the area, but waters throughout most systems have muddied after last week’s deluges.

Even Lake Verret is muddy and runoff from the rains will push into larger systems on the north wind’s push we’ll get from the approaching cold front.

Old River sac-a-lait have moved in from the depths, and, remember, False River and Lake Henderson are on drawdowns.

The commission

Thursday’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting (9:30 a.m., Baton Rouge state headquarters, Quail Drive) will have restricted access because of the pandemic.

Top agenda items include:

  • Notices to add coastal buffer zones to commercial menhaden harvest regulations; to establish regulations for hunting guide licenses; new alligator regulations; and, add/update domesticated aquatic organisms permit fees;
  • Consideration of declarations of emergency to amend either-sex firearm and primitive firearm seasons to bucks only on Joyce, Maurepas Swamp and Salvador/Timken WMAs; to set the 2021-2022 oyster season; and, to designate a temporary natural oyster reef in Lake Barre ahead of Terrebonne Marsh Creation Project;
  • A decision on awarding waterfowl breeding grounds funding;
  • A discussion of the impact of Hurricane Ida on the seafood industry;
  • and, recognizing Waterfowl Officer of the Year Lt. Chad Watts.
  • The meeting will be streamed via Zoom: wlf-la.zoom.us.
  • If you can’t attend the meeting, there’s a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline to email public comment: comments@wlf.la.gov.