Harvey’s drenching rainfall notwithstanding, the biggest change for public-fields dove hunters this Saturday is a ban on the use of lead shot.
Hunters taking to any of the four leased dove fields and the 15 wildlife management areas must use nontoxic shot in shot sizes no larger than No. 6.
In the LDWF's announcement, approved by the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the move “is intended to reduce the deposition of lead shot and potential effects of lead on wildlife. Current research has demonstrated that in dove fields and areas surrounding dove fields, deposition of lead is high and concentration of lead is elevated in the soil.”
That said, Harvey controls this Labor Day weekend opening of the hunting season.
In whatever form and path this disastrous storm takes during the next day, it’s likely to affect Saturday’s dove-season opener, which begins a half-hour before sunrise for those on private lands, and at noon on public and leased lands.
It’s going to be wet no matter where you plan to hunt, and that’s especially true for at least three of the four fields the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries managers have leased for opening-day hunts — two near DeRidder and one near Ragley on LA. 171 north of Lake Charles.
The fourth leased field is near Wilmer in Tangipahoa Parish, where the LDWF will open 155 acres of a “prepared native grass pasture” to a limited number of hunters. Need directions? Take La. 10 east off U.S. 51 to La. 1061 North to the check-in area on Olon Bankston Road. Call Adam Phelps at (985) 543-4784 for more information.
Directions to the leased fields north of Lake Charles can be found on the LDWf’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov.
These leased-field hunts are limited to Saturday only. All hunters will need a permit to enter the leased areas. Hunters 17 and younger will not be charged for the permit.
Dove hunts also will be open on 15 wildlife management areas. Saturday hunting will begin at noon and run through sunset on the leased areas and on the WMAs.
For most WMAs, shooting hours will be one-half hour after sunrise to sunset after opening day.
For a complete list of leased fields and WMAs open for dove hunters, go to the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/dove
WMAs in the southeast and Acadiana areas open to dove hunts include:
- Sherburne WMA: 83 acres in sunflower and brown top millet, but note the sunflowers will be prepped for the second split.
- Sandy Hollow WMA: A youth-only, 17-and-younger hunt Saturday on the WMA’s North Tract (a supervising adult must accompany the young hunter), otherwise open only Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 and closed Sept. 3-8 (the second and third splits are the same as outside lands). The North Tract has three fields totaling 18 acres planted in brown-top millet, and the South Tract, open to all hunters, has nine acres in brown-top millet.
- Richard Yancey WMA in Concordia Parish: 84 acres in brown top millet.
- Pointe-Aux-Chenes WMA in Lafourche Parish: 70 acres in brown top and Japanese millet. Hours are one-half hour before sunrise to noon. Access restricted to certain days and times and you need to read restrictions in the 2017-2018 Louisiana Hunting Pamphlet.
- West Bay WMA in Allen Parish: Clear-cut areas have a goat weed.
Other WMAs with dove fields include Bayou Pierre, Big Colewa, Bodcau, Boeuf (2 fields), Clear Creek, Elbow Slough, Floy McElroy, Fort Polk and Russell Sage, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Calcasieu Ranger District, Vernon Unit in Vernon Parish.