Deer photo

All smiles for a first deer

Ella Ortego made the most of a Thanksgiving holiday hunt with her dad, Shane, and her grandfather, Larry, in the Tunica Hills area in West Feliciana Parish. The seventh-grader at Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic, calmed her nerves after Shane Ortego said six deer walked into the bottomland near their stand. Ella took her first deer with one shot from a youth model .308 rifle just after sunrise.

The first split in the 60-day duck season for all three of the state’s duck-hunting zones ends with Sunday’s sundown.

In most of the coastal marshes, the first split provides the best hunting, but this year’s mixed results only can leave waterfowlers wanting more from second-split hunts.

State biologist Shane Granier’s report from the four major wildlife management areas showed average to above-average success with the best action, an average of 3.7 ducks per hunter on the Atchafalaya Delta and Pass a Loutre WMAs. Atchafalaya’s newly expanded Limited Access Area led all areas with an average of 5.1 ducks per shooter (17 hunters took 87 ducks).

Salvador and Pointe-aux-Chenes were at 2.3 and 2.2 ducks per hunter for Wednesday.

While those numbers are up from the mid-November hunts, there’s something strange in Granier’s report.

On three of the four WMAs (Salvador is the exception), dos gris (lesser scaup) was the top duck in hunters’ bags, like 77 percent at Pointe-aux-Chenes, 42 percent at Pass a Loutre and 26 percent at Atchafalaya Delta. And that’s with a daly limit of three dos gris, while the other top species found in bags, like teal and gray ducks, have a six-duck limit in the six-duck daily limit.

It points out what State waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds and his crew found in the state’s first fall aerial survey this season, that being the extraordinary high number of scaup in the state for so early in the season.

Naturally the end of the first split comes just days before the coldest cold front of the season is expected to blow into the state. The only hope is that the front, predicted to push low temps into the mid 30s by week’s end, will get those late migrants remaining in Iowa and Missouri to move south and load up the state when the second split begins Dec. 16 in all three zones.

Your photos

We've never shied away from running photos of a youngster’s first deer or a memorable hunt or fishing trip, and yes The Advocate Outdoors has had a years-long commitment to sharing a youngster’s major outdoors memory and acknowledging his or her accomplishments afield.

And, we have rules, first of which is hunting photos must be of youngsters age 9 and older, and it’s a good idea if the photo includes a deer taken in Louisiana, and it’s a good idea to have the state deer tag properly affixed to the whitetail.

Quality is next, and most cell phones have terrific cameras. Image density makes a better photo, and when emailing a photo, (it’s best sent as an attachment) make sure to send the image as large as possible. We like an image 1 megabyte or larger.

And, there are settings to reduce “red eye” in both the young hunter and the animal. In low light, make sure the red-eye reduction setting is used and there’s enough flash to give the subject the proper light. We require an image size of 1 megabyte or larger.

Other tips and notes include:

  • Make sure the subject of the photo is in focus. Fill the lens with the young hunter and his or her quarry, and eliminate as much of the background as possible, and make sure the focus is not on the background.
  • If the youngster is posed with a weapon and their newly earned trophy animal, that the weapon’s action is open and pointed in a safe direction.
  • Pose the animal with the dignity due it and honor the opportunity that animal gave the young hunter. That means eliminating blood, and please, if a deer, make sure its tongue is where it’s supposed to be. As a rule, we reject deer photos showing blood and an exposed tongue.
  • If waterfowl is the quarry, show the backs of the bird. This helps identify the species and makes for a better photo.
  • To submit a photo, email:, and make sure to include all names, location, hunt date, other perticulars, and parent/guardian and phone numbers.

2018 calendar

Dec. 22 is the deadline for submitting activities and events for The Advocate's Outdoors 2018 Calendar scheduled to be published Thursday, Jan. 4.

Please include: Event's name/title, time, date and location including the site, address and city.

Also include all fees, age limits or skill-level requirements and any other particulars for the event, including beneficiaries for fundraising events.

Other requirements are a full name of the contact person with the area code and phone number and e-mail address.

Send to Joe Macaluso, Advocate outdoors, P.O.Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or email: