Deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease

Provided photo

This doe, affected by Chronic Wasting Disease, is the biggest reason for moves taken by state Wildlife Division biologists and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour for a proposed ban on the use by Louisiana hunters of deer urine as an attractant for whitetail deer. 

With thousands of hunters still afield for any or all of the state’s resident game, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission accepted, then amended parts of the proposed 2019-2020 hunting seasons for game and migratory birds during Tuesday’s meeting in Baton Rouge.

Deer and turkey seasons headed the list.

After the discovery of a deer infected with chronic wasting disease nearly a year ago in a Mississippi county adjacent to three top-flight Louisiana deer-hunting parishes, state Wildlife Division biologists and managers working hand in hand with Wildlife and Fisheries’ veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour, came up with a plan to keep CWD from infecting the state’s whitetails.

Now, for the 2019-2020 hunting season, deer taken from “lands east of the Mississippi River in East Carroll, Tensas and Concordia parishes” will fall under the same regulations as deer taken outside the state. To wit, it’s a ban on transporting or possessing any part of a carcass. What you can bring from these areas are cut and wrapped meat, boned-out meat, quarters without any part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, cleaned skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls, capes, tanned hides, finished Taxidermy mounts and cleaned teeth.

The effort is to keep any brain matter and spinal fluid from leaving these areas because CWD resides in those tissues and fluids.

Another proposed move to control CWD will ban the possession and use of “natural scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other (cervid) bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting or scouting wildlife.”

Whitetail deer are in the cervid family, which also includes all other native and nonnative deer and elk.

For the 2020 turkey season, hunters in some 1,300 square miles of land in all of Pointe Coupee and West Baton Rouge parishes, and parts of Avoyelles, Iberville, St. Landry and Upper St. Martin parishes will face a two-week reduction in their season dates.

LDWF Upland Game manager-biologist Cody Cedotal said the 2011 flood in the upper Atchafalaya Basin reduced the turkey population and numbers have not increased to the point where these lands can remain in Turkey Area A, lands in the state’s most liberal turkey hunting season. These areas will be moved into Area C, which has a 16-day season, some two weeks shorter than Area A.

The survey of these affected areas also brought a proposed closure of turkey seasons in the Attakapas and Dewey Wills wildlife management areas, a reduction from 16 to nine days of turkey hunting on the Yancey WMA and from five to three days on the Sherburne WMA.

For waterfowl, LWFC member Chad Courville looked at the proposed Nov. 16 opener of the Coastal Zone duck season and offered a quickly approved amendment to begin this zone’s season to Nov. 9 with the special youth-only weekend coming Nov. 2-3. The move will give Coastal Zone hunters equal 30-day splits (Nov. 9-Dec. 8 & Dec. 21-Jan. 19) for the 21st season of a 60-day duck season.

Other than that, the only major waterfowl season change was a reduction in the daily allowed take of pintails from two this season to one for 2019-2020.

Other proposals

  • Removes the in-season primitive weapons periods from the middle of the modern firearms seasons in Deer Areas 3, 7, 8 and 10 and places this special period at he end of the season. It means losing days of the modern firearms season and adding at least two days to the end-of-the-season primitive weapons period;
  • Allows taking nuisance and outlaw animals at night year-round on private lands;
  • Bans the use of “unmanned aerial vehicles” along with drones on state wildlife management areas;
  • -Mandates the use of self-clearing permits on WMAs for all activities, and incorporates the new self-clearing app for cellular devices;
  • Allows the use of airboats only on the Maurepas Swamp WMA;
  • Restricts the use of electric bicycles to WMAs’ designated roads and trails;
  • Prohibits commercial fishing in Wonder Lake in the Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA;
  • Expands by some 230 acres the limited access area (a ban on using motorized watercraft) on the Joyce WMA;
  • Bans the use of motorized decoys for hunting turkeys.