Coots, known in south Louisiana as poule d’eau — Cajun French for “water chickens,” will surely be all over the marsh this year, and charter skipper and waterfowl guide Ryan Lambert plans on mowing them down.

“We’re going to shoot the poule d’eaus this year because I’ve been seeing videos of them rolling eggs out of the ducks’ nests, particularly canvasbacks,” he said. “If the eggs have already hatched, they’ll get in the nest and actually attack the babies.

“We’re going to whack on some poule d’eaus this year.”

Coots have large gizzards that are tender and tasty when fried, and they make for a dark, hearty stew.

Plaquemines tracts open

Thanks to the federal and state governments, local hunters without high-dollar leases have incredible hunting options in lower Plaquemines Parish.

Delta National Wildlife Refuge is a 49,000-acre tract that runs from just south of Baptiste Collette to just north of Pass a Loutre on the east side of the Mississippi River.

The refuge offers excellent hunting, particularly for pintail, in the young, mini deltas that sprout up every year in ponds on the tract. Delta is open to waterfowl hunting until noon, and only on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

All hunters are required to have in their possession a signed copy of the regulations brochure, which is available online and can be found by Googling Delta National Wildlife Refuge.

Farther to the south is state-owned Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area, a 115,000-acre tract that includes most lands from Pass a Loutre to just east of Southwest Pass.

Numerous campsites cater to waterfowlers, who may hunt this WMA every day of the 60-day-season.

Todd Masson