Thursday’s Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting will likely have far-reaching impacts on virtually every segment of the state’s hundreds of thousands of hunters and fishermen.

Scheduled to convene at 9:30 a.m. in the first-floor Joe Herring meeting room inside state Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge, the seven-member commission is scheduled to consider plans for all 2020-2021 hunting seasons along with data and possible proposals covering speckled trout, red snapper, squirrel seasons and an appeal to open more state water bottoms to oyster growers.

The major items outlined on the agenda include:

  • A notice of intent for rules and regulations, including any new regs, for resident game and migratory waterfowl/birds, wildlife management areas and proposed season dates for all game for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons;
  • A report on speckled trout “management options,” coming after 2019’s date from state fisheries biologists showed a decline in numbers of larger adults in at least three of the state’s coastal basins;
  • A “discussion of the 2020 recreational red snapper season structure,” and, a “notice of intent to modify” opening and closing dates of the recreational red snapper season;
  • A notice of intent for “language clarification on extended season options and extended squirrel season on Tier 1 participation in the (Louisiana) Deer Management Assistance Program.

The agenda also includes honoring Enforcement Division Sgt. Mitch Darby with the Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award; an item to honor the memory of former LWFC member and outdoor magazine publisher Ann Taylor; and, consideration of rules and regs for the newly established Queen Bess Island Refuge.

And, in a continuation of the battle for control over the importation and handling of wildlife, namely deer and other cervid animals, to consider a commission resolution asking the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to “establish a mandatory Chronic Wasting Disease Testing Program for Cervid Alternative Livestock Industry in Louisiana.” The LDWF and LWFC have been at odds with the LDAF over deer and other imported animals being classified as “livestock” and the possibility of bring CWD-infected animals into the state.

The LWFC also will receive an update on the LDWF’s efforts to collect civil restitution fines from convicted game and fish violators along with a notice of intent to increase the values of game and fish in civil restitution cases.

The meeting can be viewed an heard on a live stream from LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/news/43210.

Notices of intent on hunting seasons are proposals and is the first step in the process of the final dates and bag limits for the next seasons.

After Thursday’s outline, LDWF managers will set a series of statewide public hearings to elicit comment on the notice, and will accept public comment during the commission’s February and March meetings along with written comment to Tommy Tuma email: ttuma@wlf.la.gov – from the public through March 5. LWFC members also will be allowed to the proposals.

The complete hunting seasons notice will be available Friday on the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.