When Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Shane Granier sends along the news showing duck hunters averaged 4.5 ducks per person on the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area and a 3.6 average per man on the Atchafalaya Delta WMA, then there’s usually great news for wild waterfowlers across the state’s Coastal Zone.

And there was grand news: LDWF Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds and his crew reported a substantial increase in their December aerial survey compared to the November estimate worked up before opening days in the state’s three zones.

“The 2.57 million ducks on this survey is 2.5 times the November estimate of 1.04 million, 32 percent higher than last December’s estimate of 1.94 million, but is still 8 percent below the long-term December average of 2.81 million,” Reynolds said.

The big jump came in the number of gray ducks, up from 327,000 to 944,000; ringnecks, from 112,000 in November to 488,000; and, mallards, from 3,000 early last month to 88,000 in the week leading up to the Dec. 21 second-split opener.

The increases in grays and ringnecks appeared to favor the southeastern marshes. The count there erupted from 357,000 to 1.33 million n just more than a month.

The southwestern marshes jumped from 597,000 to 1.09 million.

Reynolds further reported: “The 149,000 ducks counted at Catahoula Lake is 45 percent higher (than November) … water level remains at management target, and foraging conditions are very good for both dabbling and diving ducks … canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks were counted across the open water of the center to east side of the lake, while pintails were using shallow flats further north and east.”

More for youngsters

The Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge lost youth hunting days because of floods in November, and announced a Jan. 4-5 Youth Deer Gun hunt.

This modern firearm weekend is still-hunt only and young hunters can take either sex deer along with “incidental” take of hogs.

If you need more info, or clarification of rules and regs for this special hunt, call the refuge office at (985) 882-2000.

Turning back CWD

LDWF wildlife managers and its veterinarian staff is reminding deer hunters traveling to other states for their holiday hunts to be aware of Louisiana’s ban on returning home with cervid carcasses.

The state warning follows a citation written by LDWF Enforcement Division agent who found three Acadiana men had violated the importation ban after returning from a Texas hunt.

From the regulation, the ban reads, “no person shall import, transport or possess any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass originating outside of Louisiana, except meat that is cut and wrapped, meat that has been boned out, quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts, and cleaned cervid teeth."

The idea is to keep all bones and brain tissue from making their way into the state. Chronic Wasting Disease has been found in the three surrounding states, but not as yet in Louisiana.

For the complete regulation, go to the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pagehunting/32522-deer-season-2016-17/cervid_carcass_importation_regulation.pdf.

The ban includes all animals in the cervid family Cervidae, which includes whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer.

The LDWF also has an instructional video on deer caping: wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/CWD .