When Bart Yakupzack wanted to elicit public comment on a hot-topic waterfowl issue, he got what he wanted.
The Wildlife and Fisheries commission member from Lake Charles made a motion, and received a second, to amend the proposed season dates and bag limits for the 2019-20 hunting seasons.
Yakupzack said he wanted to stir discussion on waterfowl limits, notably for teal. Until recently, the daily teal limit during the special September season was four, before it was expanded to six. Apparently, Yakupzack had heard from folks in his stomping grounds in the southwestern parishes, that maybe six was too many.
So, in January, when the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced its proposals for next season, the commission went along with the amendment to push the limit back to four.
And the comments rolled in, notably that bluewing teal, and their cousins, the greenwings, had numbers well above the long-term (near 55 years) average, and there was no need to cut the limit for hunters, who, for many, had just come through what only could be described as a “tough” and low-in-numbers duck season.
So, at its February meeting in Baton Rouge, the commission, hearing hunters’ voices, decided to return the limit to six teal per day for the special September season, and during what will be another in a long line of 60-day duck seasons.
For hunters, there are many more lines in the volume of pages for the proposed resident-game and migratory-bird seasons and regulations.
For instance, the commission maintained the requirement for a permit for the nighttime hunting of what the regulations describe as “nuisance animals and outlaw quadrupeds.”
The permit will be needed from the last day of February until Aug. 31 annually, a move the commission, and law-abiding hunters, hope will curtail illegal night stalking and killing of resident game animals.
Next, the LWFC cleared up the wording in a proposed new regulation that would place all deer taken in state lands east of the Mississippi River in East Carroll, Madison, Tensas and Concordia parishes under the same “cervid carcass” importation regulation that currently holds for importing deer and other cervids from other states.
And, earlier this month, the LWFC also approved the use of trolling motors in the new limited access waterfowl hunting areas on the Boeuf, Dewey Wills and Russell Sage Wildlife Management areas.
Another group of deer hunters have voiced their concerns about the late archery-only deer seasons in State Deer areas 5, 6 and 9. As a group, these men said there is so little interest in the last 15 days of this deer season that lands should be opened to small-game hunters, because some deer-hunting clubs ban small-game hunting while a deer season is open.
Because of late fawn drop in these three areas, archery hunters are restricted to bucks-only hunting from Oct. 1-15 annually, and the 15 days at the end of the season is open to either-sex take of whitetail deer.
For hunters, the LDWF’s Wildlife Division will hold a series of public meeting and hearing including:
• Feb. 25, 6 p.m. Ponchatoula High library, 19452 La. 22, Ponchatoula;
• Feb. 26, 6 p.m. LDWF field office, 200 Dulles Drive, Lafayette;
• Feb. 27, 6 p.m. LDWF field office, 9961 U.S. 80, Minden;
• Feb. 29, 6 p.m. LDWF field office, 368 Century Link Drive, Monroe;
• March 1, 6 p.m. Convention Hall, 915 Third Street, Alexandria;
• March 2, 10 a.m. LSU AgCenter office, 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles.
Public comment also will be heard during the commission’s March 3 meeting at the Woodworth Wildlife Education Center south of Alexandria. That meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
The complete, now amended, notice of the proposed hunting season dates and regulations, and those for LDWF managed state and federal lands are on the agency’s website:wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
Public comments can also be filed with the Wildlife Division’s Tommy Tuma by mail: Tommy Tuma, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public-comment deadline is 9 a.m., March 7.