With Mother Nature spreading misery across the Gulf Coast, and coronavirus continually wreaking havoc in our communities, the need for those of us unaffected by these tragic turns of events is as great now as any in our lifetimes.

Sunday, you can help.

It is Clean Out Your Freezer Day.

The list of collection/drop-off points is the largest ever in The Advocate’s circulation area: 15 sites in and around Baton Rouge (1-4 p.m.), seven in the Acadiana area (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) and one each in the New Orleans and Covington areas (1-4 p.m.)

Collection sites can be found on the Hunters for the Hungry website: h4hla.org.

What this day is about is giving hunters and fisherman the chance to clean our their freezers in anticipation of taking game and fish in the coming months.

The call is for “properly packaged, labeled and dated game, fish, or other protein.”

And we can answer this call.

Teal

Despite the dusk until 7 a.m. curfew in Cameron Parish, it appears the opening week of the teal season was successful. Even knew some who took a couple of hours off from clean-up and repair to take limits and near limits for supper and more meals amidst the devastation.

With a four-year high in the number of teal — and this week’s cold front surely pushing more birds to rice fields and marshes — last week’s take was solid.

Problem on the public hunting areas appeared to be the usual after-opening-weekend lull, or maybe it’s just there weren’t enough hunters to get the bluewing teal moving on the vast Atchafalaya Delta and Pointe-aux-Chenes areas. The estimated 80 hunters on those two areas took an average of 1.3 teal.

While only five hunters took to the Pass a Loutre WMA, the take was a haul — a limit of six per hunter.

The Sept. 12 opening-day take at Pointe-aux-Chenes was only 1.4 per hunter (180 hunters), and, a 2.7 average, was a bit better for the 271 hunters on the Atchafalaya Delta.

Again, those numbers paled compared to the 5.5 teal per hunter (20 hunters) at Pass a Loutre, a place where prehunt scouting is a must, and the most veteran hunters know where to first locate the migrating birds.

Reports from the rice fields were mixed, but all six hunting groups contacted said they came away with enough action to fill out limits or take near the six-teal daily allotment.

For our wetlands

News from Washington last week is the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission — Interior secretary David Bernhardt chairs this body — will send $1 million to Louisiana for the 3,950-acre Chenier Plain Marsh Enhancement project.

It’s part of the $130 million in wetland conservation projects from the 2020 North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants earmarked for waterfowl “and other birds” habitat restoration and enhancement.

Assistance

Wildlife and Fisheries began taking applications for $14.6 million in federal COVID-19 financial aid made available to Louisiana fishermen and others in the commercial fishing business who have been affected by this pandemic.

You must submit applications online: wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cares-act-assistance, and will be open for the next five weeks.

More dollars

The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service has set a Nov. 4 deadline to apply for funds from a $360 million pool (that’s a pretty deep pool) in its Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

It’s for “locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.”

These “partnerships” must work up a plan in what can only be understood as an agricultural environment to accomplish those aforementioned goals. Sure sounds like a good way for communities to rebuild quail, deer and waterfowl habitat in places where local economies thrive on those activities.