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I hope LS will quickly provide more background on JBE's recent appointee to the Wild Life and Fisheries commission Telley Savalas Madina. From what I can determine he looks like an odd choice. Sure he has some association with the Louisiana Oystermen Association but no real qualification via life experience or education involving wildlife or biology. Most information I find involves him being a bit of a leftist activist. Hopefully there is more to this story, some non-political affinity for the broad issues at stake for our states natural resources, commercial fishers and sportsman. Appointing folks with no personal understanding of hunting and fishing is the first step down the slippery slope to losing our heritage as The Sportman's Paradise. I'm not sure 'advocating for minority fishing communities ' after BP is really a key qualification to being a top level decider of critical wildlife management decisions. Hopefully LS sportsman can get an interview and some more background.

June 04, 2016 at 5:22am

Y'all see this !

Wonder what the ticket is??? Is the channel itself really part of the refuge??? Crazy! Why not have lottery hunting on the portion inside the levees where the ducks actually are and leave the brackish marsh as a rest area and not screw over fisherman??? Typical they give with one hand (limited crappy hunting) and take with the other!

December 04, 2015 at 5:48pm

Well after prolonged Indian summer, it looks as though liquid water will be in short supply north of MO by turkey day. Will this result in a glut of birds and an end to gripin or will the tales of short stopping by DU and it's endless acres of flooded sauna heated corn fields commence????

PS can't post pics from my iPhone quatro.

November 22, 2015 at 6:20am

Was done at 6:15 this morning. We aren't holding as many birds as opening week last year but the ponds with good wigeon grass have grays. Set up alone (you should've been there pops), and was done quick with decoying grays. Water was back down to normal and there were gulls on trout in Bayou Louttre on the way in.

November 10, 2015 at 6:25pm

I was helping a friend run gator lines today. Saw several flocks of 5-20 teal trading.

August 26, 2015 at 11:28pm

The science of waterfowl management is presumably THE MOST data driven set of hunting regulations in the world, certainly the scale and effort of data collection is an amazing thing. This data is used to generate season frameworks and by all appearances AHM has succeeded in ending decades of contentious and reactionary waterfowl management by federal fiat.

However in stating that maximizing harvest counts is the ultimate goal of setting zonal seasons within the federal framework I feel you are missing the mark. Waterfowl hunting is by its nature a recreation and a pastime. As such one can readily argue that hunter satisfaction with the waterfowling experience is the most realavant statistic. Ordinarily such a mark would be emphearal and hard to quantify, but lo and behold we find ourselves with data showing the previous season's dates produced and unprecedented level of satisfaction amongst coastal zone hunters! It would seem logical to continue in the vien of such sucess.

As to the concept that 'no other game season is managed by popular opinion' realize that most resident game seasons are 4-5months in length and involve hunting realatively static quarry. In other words rabbit season opens in early October but by preference we (the members of my hunting club)will not hunt rabbits on our leases until December or later. If folks in another area choose to brave the heat and snakes their success will in no way be to my detriment and since the rabbit season is long I can get several rabbit hunts in in cool weather while those who prefer it hot can make a fair number of hunts in their preferred conditions. Also hunting rabbits on their property does not affect the behavior of rabbits in my area.

The waterfowler on the other hand is faced with a much more limited season, he is faced with a widely ranging quarry who will become more wary as the season progresses regardless of whether or not a given piece of acerage is hunted. Thus it is much harder for us to 'pick our days' and most of us will simply hunt when we are off. Waterfowling also differs from deer and turkey hunting where optimal hunting period (as determined by breeding behavior of males) occurs in a highly geographically predictable manner. In reality we all know that wind, rain, temperature and tidal conditions frequently have more to do with duck hunting sucess than raw duck counts. There is no way to predict these factors ahead of time but we can predict with fair certainty that balmy and buggy conditions often prevail for the first week of November! In the end however a duck hunter feels a fool for foregoing the opener in the way many rabbit, squirrel and bow hunters do. The season is too precious and the birds too transient to wait on weather. On the other hand in a variety of settings we have voiced our preference to delay said opening till mid November when more enjoyable environmental condition are possible if not likely.

You are correct in contending that a winter weighted season (with most days in late December and January)is sub-optimal for coastal gunners. Most coastal bags consist of species who migrate based on photoperiod as much as weather. You are incorrect however in extrapolating that because a given duck species is not migrating to flee ice-up weather is not still part of the equation and thus 'earlier yet is even better' for duck season. You are also misguided to ignore the recomendations of your head waterfowl biologist who's life work and passion centers on this very topic (who is also a coastal zone waterfowler with skin in the game). He is indicating to you the wisest way forward balancing the realities of hunter preference, meterorogical conditions and both population and harvest data.

August 17, 2015 at 1:25am

Hey was anybody at the commission meeting to know how they set the snipe season? Just curious if they split it the way they have been (hoping they did).

August 06, 2015 at 8:16pm

Here is a study from immediately before and after the MRGO opened. It basically proves the point of both those who want the MRGO to stay closed and those who want it reopened. It addresses Lake Borgne but one can be certain that Lake Pontchartrain was no saltier. The operative point is that L. Borgne had a mean annual salinity of 5 ppt. Also that most speckled trout over 12 inches were captured post and pre spawn in the fall and spring. Bottom line is as always we can' have our cake and eat it too, we can have a dying system that due to saltwater intrusion provides ready near launch access to all esturine species (until final collapse) or we can have a dynamic surviving or even growing system where certain halophilic species will have a seasonal abundance in the upper parts of the estuary.

July 08, 2015 at 2:51pm

Hunted in the winds this morning. The MRGO was rocking when we crossed it in the dark! Got to my pond and set up with 15 decoys just upwind of the point the blind was on. It's a good thing I set up that way because 30 MPH winds made it hard to finish the birds. But despite half the flocks landing short we managed 7 grays, 3 bluewings, 1 greenwing and a spoony by 7:15. Saw more high migrators coming in so you weekend warriors should have fresh birds next Saturday. Even saw a lost lone snow but couldnt get him to circle by the time I dug my goose call out. Altogether a memorable day.

November 17, 2014 at 5:52pm

Hunted my lease in Hopedale this morning. Had a limit of teal by 8 am. If our shooting had been better we would have been done by 7:15. Decoyed 200-250 teal in flocks of 2-30. My friends in the area also limited (12 hunters total). Some had mostly grays, some a mixed bag. Some divers were killed (2 dosgris) and one Greenhead.

November 15, 2014 at 12:54pm

Hunted alone this AM and limited out by 7:45. Would have been no problem to have had a second person limit with me. Had teal coming in as I picked up the decoys. Water is VERY high though and the birds are in the flooded marsh think of the shallowest pond you know and go there. Road around some bayous checking on thins for a friend and it looks like birds were holding on the small potholes just off the ridges where the three corner grass and pig weed was growing. Stopped at a high point on the back levee (on my lease) on the way in and got three rail as a bonus (makes the dog really happy to get some actual hunting in as apposed to just retrieving). Hope everyone finds some this weekend, I'm done since I work the next four.

September 24, 2014 at 11:09am

Killed 5 teal between two hunters in Hopedale this morning. If only we could shoot BBWDs in September ............, I could break out the big gumbo pot. Didn't hear much shooting around me and water was goofy high.

September 20, 2014 at 12:41pm

Got 4 this morning with two of us in the blind. Could have had a couple more. From what I heard the we were top of the leader board in Hopedale. Hopefully we get some more birds down soon. I'll be back at it Tuesday!

September 13, 2014 at 7:23pm

Saw about 100 teal in 4 flocks when I went to dress blinds today. Fingers crossed.

September 06, 2014 at 3:15pm

So Mary Landrieu announced her latest attempt to betray our state today, turning the bulk of the Atchafalaya Basin into a national park! While at first that may sound like a good thing, she is lauding fictitious restoration funds and 'improved acess for tourist', what it really means is a giant NO HUNTING sign in the center of our coast. Also no further oil and gas activity in the area. This designation would serve little other purpose since the bulk of this land is either state or federally owned already and the remainder is protected from development by wetland protection legislation. The main agitators behind the fiasco are the Sierra club, formerly a conservation organization but now overrun by liberal zealots who only want to block all human activity on massive areas of our nation's landscape! So call the traitor Landrieu, call Vitter and call your congressman and tell WE DO NOT WANT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE LOCKING US OUT OF A BIG CHUNK OF OUR SPORTSMANS PARADISE!!!

July 24, 2014 at 3:30pm

Louisiana has always allowed small bore muzzle loaders (the 'squirrel guns' of battle of New Orleans fame) for small game hunting including on WMAs. I do believe that when the requirement was moved from 'muzzle loader' to 'primitive rifle' the wording was changed in reference to small game as well as large. So theoretically any one with a single shot cartridge rifle suitable for the 'primitive arm' deer season could get a second sub-35 caliber barrel for that rifle (it's a really inexpensive if somewhat complicated process if you have a Handirifle) and have a qualifying small game 'primitive arm' for hog killing on a WMA. Granted you won't be able to blaze away at multiple pigs but a single 308 is a lot more effective and from much farther than say 5 .22 magnums or 3 goose loads. Hopefully someone from LDWF enforcement can comment on my reading of this.

April 25, 2014 at 2:17am

Hunted a pond where I scouted 250-300 BW teal a week ago and all we killed today were grays and a couple spoonies. Plenty of grays in Hopedale today. Kill a three man limit before 7:30.

November 09, 2013 at 2:17pm

Grassed blinds today saw more birds than I expected. Checked 4 ponds, best had 250 mostly grays, worst had a few dozen bluewings. Saw birds trading in fair numbers . The key is going to be widgeon grass and seclusion. Between the sight fishing for reds and the surface drive motors I think the birds are keying in on really isolated locals where they can avoid disruptions. Hopefully there will be more by the ninth since there are a couple more fronts to come.

October 28, 2013 at 8:17pm

Scouted 10 ponds from pisana to the southernmost border of Biloxi WMA. No teal seen. Did catch enough fish for dinner.
Not happy but not terribly worried often don't scout well out there for teal and then do well for the opener. Wish the giant high north of us would dissipate!

September 09, 2013 at 10:31pm


February 15, 2013 at 11:43pm
A comment titled: Re: 1st time marsh fishing question in response to a report titled: 1st time marsh fishing question

Not sure where you have fished before but the marsh is all about the tides. For small boats the falling tides are best as fish will be concentrated at cuts and drains in the marsh. Rising tides are great on the outside but a bit more challenging on the inside. On a rising tide for small water focus on where the cuts and small bayous feed into the ponds from main bayous and any bottlenecks between ponds. Shell Beach will mean crossing the MRGO and/or running it to get to most fishing spots. Hopedale and Delacroix have more abundant 'protected' water spots. aerial maps are a good bet, pick a named bayou then fish the drains leading into it from ponds on a falling tide with either live shrimp or Gulp lures on a jig head under a popping cork and you should catch some reds, come fall you will also catch specks and bass are often around too. If there isn't much tide troll grass lines and cast spinner baits for reds. Once you learn to run the marsh you can start to fish bigger bays and areas further from the launch with the knowledge that shelter is usually not too far away should weather worsen. Keep in mind that winds with an Easterly component will exaggerate the rising tides while west winds especially in winter will drop water levels considerably. Make a note of water levels at the dock and water depths where you fish each trip and realize that places you may catch fish one day may be mud flats another if the wind shifts. Keep moving and look for moving water and bait and you will figure it out. Good luck!

August 01 at 4:00am
A comment titled: Re: Safely run the Spoil Canal in response to a report titled: Safely run the Spoil Canal

Great, like we need more boats out there!

July 17 at 9:19pm
A comment titled: Re: Who Dat Goona Eat Dem Fish-Not Me!! in response to a report titled: Who Dat Goona Eat Dem Fish-Not Me!!

YYYYEEEEAAAAHHHH............. there is a lot of bad with the spillway opening, but i really doubt large scale contamination of the indigenous animal protein is occurring. The DEQ has a pretty liberal number of fish consumption advisories for various waterways but none for the muddy Mississippi. I don't think concerns about toxic cyanobacteria are as dire as the media is making it out to be, we haven't seen pets, wildlife or people getting ill; mostly just precautionary beach closures. Sure there are industrial contaminants in that river but they have literally never been more dilute than they are at this moment since this is the highest flow the river has ever seen on an annual basis. People have been eating fish from venice, the canaervon and lake Salvador without any anxiety and all theses areas have routine river water injections. What is the alternative??? Chicken nuggets from chicken fed crops irrigated with river water and pogies cuaght out of venice?? But I applaud your caution and I hope everyone else goes totally catch and release or just quits fishing before they drop the trout limits!!! More seriously my friends currently working in water quality frequently tell me 'DON'T EAT THOSE FISH' from freshwater waterways in the state but have not said that about the river or the lake. The bigger issue I see with the river water is the chronic turbidity throughout the estuary which is inhibiting all manner of normal processes. As well as the excess nutrients that cause algal blooms ect. And of course you can't have a brackish fish fisheries in a kentwood jug! Assuming that the river does not make a habit of being out its banks for 10 months at a time I don't think we will see permanent environmental collapse of the Pontchartrain Basin but going forward the lake will be (as it traditionally was before the MRGO) a fresh to modestly brackish body of water. As far as using the morganza; forget it since it puts Morgan City at risk so that will never be the preferred way of dispensing with overflows. If you look at the history of the Mississippi river the pattern seems to be one of a decade or so of flood events then 10-25 years of normal to low flows, hopefully this will be the last spillway opening of the current outbreak.

July 17 at 9:17pm
A comment titled: Re: 2019-20 Louisiana Waterfowl Season in response to a report titled: 2019-20 Louisiana Waterfowl Season

I'm more encouraged by the shift from the Canadian side of the border to the US side by many gray ducks and teal that is being reported and that wetland conditions in the Dakotas should yield better numbers of young birds. Generally years with good conditions in the Dakotas have yielded good results for me. Got my wing results and something on the order of 80% of the limited grays i shot were adults. I'm ready for September at any rate!

July 12 at 2:25am

Don't think it will get that fresh but if it does we can fish sacalait on the causeway. I think the days of catching trout in the western lake in the summer are coming to a close but that was always an artificial circumstance wrought by the MRGO. I doubt back to back spillway openings will be the norm let alone double openings but a much less saline inner estuary will. You just have to adapt with it; I would never have thought 20 years ago that we would catch bass in Pisana routinely but then again in the 1950's likely no thought there would ever be a time when there WERE NOT bass there. Fishing on the east bank will be more like fishing Venice in the future I would think, sans getting crushed by cargo ships, it will take more effort to figure out but there will be more options.

May 18 at 11:31pm

The water is fresh way past lake robin. I doubt the river water is changing spawning dates as much as it is displacing spawning activity. Females that are ready to spawn will seek saltier water to spawn which right now might be all the way to the chandeleur islands so if you are fishing in fresh water you probably won't have a lot of roe to fry for lunch. In normal years I see this; on trips to the rocks ect. we get good roe from the females whereas the trout we catch close to the launch in fresher water don't have well developed ovaries. Likely they go out to spawn then come back to fatten up for the next round of spawning on the inside where there is more food and less things trying to eat them but I'm not sure any of the tracking data has proven that. The question is with the spawn displaced so far to the outside two years in a row how will that affect the number of juvenile trout returning to the marsh??? In the past research indicated that the increase in forage base associated with the influx of nutrient rich river water offset poor recruitment with faster growth rates but with two full years of very low salinities who knows.

May 18 at 7:24pm

2018 Opening Pace
After heavy rains in the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys increased river stages, the Corps opened the spillway on Jan. 10, 2016.
The Bonnet Carre Spillway will be partially opened on Thursday, March 8, 2018 in order to keep the volume of the Mississippi River flows at New Orleans from exceeding 1.25 million cubic feet per second (cfs).

In past openings the stated goal is to keep flow rates below that 1.25 million cfs volume, its not actually based around the river height although the two are closely related.

February 23 at 2:25am

Spillway openings are based around set objective criteria of flow rate in the river. It is not a political process, they are conservative with their benchmark due to the immense amount of lives and property at stake. I don't recall the benchmark offhand but it is published online. There will be fish in the lake, perhaps not your favored species for a few months but in the long run the discharges have historically benefited the Pontchartrain Basin in terms of productivity as a whole. However the repeated openings of late are all but unprecedented (they was a series of openings in the 70's) so how a back to back opening affects things who know. The river is certainly high so I fail to see a conspiracy here.

February 22 at 7:16pm

Get some market bait and fish blue cats is about what you can do in the lake this spring.

February 21 at 9:39pm

Nice hunt, I hit the lease a week ago when it was cooler and picked up 7 snipe and two swampers, can't readily post the pic right now but the pooches did a good job. Always a bit worried about the canines making an unauthorized pig hunt but they listen just well enough that I have been able to call them off the pigs we jump bird hunting. Looks like we have some cool mornings coming Wednesday and Saturday so I will try and get back after them while the snakes nap, then we will get the beagle down for some serious rabbit action after that. As far as the hog dogs, I couldn't lose dogs that routinely so I don't do it.

February 11 at 12:59am
A comment titled: Re: What happened to the ducks in response to a report titled: What happened to the ducks

And its important not to loose sight of DU's actual primary function; to lobby for protections of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region and CRP in the farm bill every year without which we will soon only have 30 days a year to worry about why we can't kill a 3 duck limit. Every project DU has ever been involved in in North America as a whole is only equivalent to 0.25% of the land mass of the continent so although they have some direct impact it is much less than the 20-30 million acres of cover the CRP creates annually and the wetland protections an via disincentives for draining ect.. Its important to note that the CRP and the WRP are separate things. No one can grow crops on CRP so its isn't impacting migration in any negative way' the opposite being true in fact, and it is a boon for duck production. Try to look at the big picture before you burn that DU card.

February 11 at 12:44am
A comment titled: Re: What happened to the ducks in response to a report titled: What happened to the ducks

The best part is that they all say it holds ducks but doesn't really make for great hunting! Give us a good drought in the fall from Bunkie to St.Louis and we will kill some ducks. Its kinda like blaming Mardi Gras Pass for the lack of trout in Black Bay when the river is running over 12 feet in NOLA every May the better part of the last decade . It has been unusually wet since 2008 and it is disrupting quite a few things from ducks to oysters.
Excepting the 70's spillway openings have happened less than once a decade now we have had 4 openings in 10 years AND several intervening years with quite high rivers causing levee watches and near openings (river is 14+ at NOLA as we speak).

Year Days Bays Opened (%) Opened Ideal flow capacity
1937 48 285 81.4% 203,571 cu ft/s
1945 57 350 100% 250,000 cu ft/s
1950 38 350 100% 250,000 cu ft/s
1973 75 350 100% 250,000 cu ft/s
1975 13 225 64.3% 160,714 cu ft/s
1979 45 350 100% 250,000 cu ft/s
1983 35 350 100% 250,000 cu ft/s
1997 31 298 85.1% 212,857 cu ft/s
2008 31 160 45.7% 114,286 cu ft/s
2011 42 330 94.3% 235,714 cu ft/s
2016 22 210 60.0% 203,000 cu ft/s
2018 30 168 48.0% 196,000 cu ft/s

That water is good for ducks and the counts show that but its tough for hunting since it floods fields for free (in dry years not every impoundment will be flooded due to the fuel expenses involved which are considerable), floods woods, floods unimpounded fields and so on. And when you don't get snow/cold weather and most fronts feature a W -> E rather than NW-> SE winds in the upper levels so the ducks have no Jet Stream to migrate with ................ well it sucks. Some of what Goins says is true but some of it misses the mark. Those Canada geese that don't come here anymore aren't in standing flooded corn on a refuge they are in dry fields, winter wheat and beans ect. all over the plains. There have been dramatic changes in agriculture from 1960 to today that have fundamentally altered how geese and some ducks live. We went from dispersed dairy, swine and beef production on inumerable small holdings to highly centralized animal production for dairies and swine and the fattening of beef. Most corn is grown to feed or fatten livestock and in the past most of that corn was either gathered by hand into corn cribs or chopped into silage both of which leave relatively little residue in the fields post harvest and that residue was usually mopped up by then putting hogs or cattle on the fields to feed post-harvest. Today the dairy industry is concentrated in just a few areas and hogs and poultry are raised strictly on concrete in indoor facilities (excepting a few boutique operations) and cattle are raised on grass in areas then sent to large feedlots to fatten on grain. Since the feed is now being shipped it is combined off the ears creating 'waste grain' that feeds all our lost geese gorge on. I don't see a return to small mixed crop farming the way my great grandfather did it in the cards no matter how many hipster farmers markets spring up so this is the situation we are stuck with, hoping for weather to help us out.

February 11 at 12:34am
You are outflanked already. And you are mixing pertinent facts with irrelevancies. It has at no time been illegal to hunt standing corn at the federal level flooded or otherwise. Nor is/was hunting a chopped but unharvested ag field for waterfowl legal under any circumstances. These facts have been consistent since the 50's. The issue is the presence of open water (with or without feed) and the presence (with or without water) of feed are the ingredients for short stopping . If you really look around the internet, watch hunting shows ect. you will see a ton of dry field hunting from MO north and there are reservoirs, rivers and stock tanks all over. I agree that any mechanical device used to hold water open in freezing conditions constitutes an unfair practice and should be banned but even with none of that there are still plenty of open water areas when it is this warm. The idea that some infinite amount of open water is being maintained though artificial means is a bit unrealistic but in the end irrelevant. If you want to push for a meaningful policy change then push to end all corn subsidies (ethanol, price support ect.) and expand CRP. That will cut down on destruction of breeding grounds in the north and the free bread wagon in the southern plains. But you still won't control the weather. And honestly banning the hunting of flooded corn may be counter productive since a good smartweed/wild millet moist soil unit will attract more ducks than a flooded corn field since it will have more open water, more feed per acre longer and more invertebrates and other side dishes that ducks enjoy. Flooded corn is just the easier route but ban it and I'm sure Penn and Moultrie will have special blends of moist soil plants (not covered by the need to follow any ag practices and able to be mowed and hunted) on shelve with the quickness. And as I have stated elsewhere undoing WRP seems a long shot. Its not that I don't want mallards and blue geese to flock to LA in the same numbers they did in the 50's or that I don't want grays like the mid 90s i'm just being realistic about what options exist to alter the present situation.

February 10 at 10:00pm
A comment titled: Re: What happened to the ducks in response to a report titled: What happened to the ducks

I agree that ice eaters should be illegal, open water on a frozen landscape being 10X the draw of bait. But as to keeping snow off fields I'm not sure what technology you ate referring too unless that many guys are running snow blowers in their stubble ??

But as I stated before WRP, ice eaters and snow repelling force field we had already lost migrant canadas, 80% of our share of snows and 75% of the mallards. The issue is just plain old crop stubble and no till farming. And this year the overflow of the MS river system with all it's tributaries is swallowing up a lot of birds. There are ducks (wild migrants) in the flooded batture down here even. As to hunter numbers if they are down in LA (which I don't believe is supported by LDWF data) it sure isn't due to less hunters in SELA! I see way more rigs in the opening day parade than I did 20 years ago. It is a multi-factorial issue and just banning ice eaters isn't going to fix it (although I would support such a ban).

February 03 at 2:16pm
A comment titled: Re: What happened to the ducks in response to a report titled: What happened to the ducks

I mostly head out of the non-motorized launch. My buddy that hunts all over the thing struggled too. I didn't hunt it this year but did scout several times. My buddy's take was that giant salvinia hurt things out there a lot this year. I saw a bunch of birds just off the public property in the Fritchie marsh on 3 occasions so pressure may be an issue. I think the general concept that the areas in SELA that have decent SAV have expanded in the past decade is still valid.

February 01 at 6:54am

You can track wounded animals in flooded areas by following the mud they stir up, at any rate a hog shot with birdshot, buckshot or rimfire often doesn't leave much blood. Its harder to do for sure but it can be done anywhere their feet are hitting the bottom. You need to be quick about it though cause the mud will settle. Be sure you use solid bullets NOT hollow points, you want as much penetration as you can get so you can crack the skull/spine. Once the hog is moving forget the head shot and punch as many into the body as you can, a few 22s to the lungs and liver will work just as well as a load of buckshot at 40 yards. If you get a .22 magnum use heavy jacketed solids if you can find them or at least heavy plated solids. FWIW the LDWF wishes none of us would ever think of hogs as 'game' they regard them as less than vermin and feel that attaching any sporting value/hunting culture to them is counter productive to their desire to eventually eradicate them (even though they know that is impossible). I don't know about the stories of De Sotto's swine but i do believe Du Pratz when he says Bienville put hogs on Islands in the Louisiana Marsh around the time of the founding of New Orleans so figure 300 years vs. 100 for pheasant I fail to see the wisdom in continuing to reject the critters; they are fecund, delicious and a blast to hunt in multiple ways we should just embrace the horror and have a straight up management plan for them. Having a 'feral hog' season was initially impossible due to free range livestock laws but I believe those have all been eliminated now it is really just a bit of a philosophical thing with the LDWF. I know they are destructive but they are about as easily eradicated as nutria and fireants.

February 01 at 5:20am
A comment titled: Re: What happened to the ducks in response to a report titled: What happened to the ducks

Google Louisiana Conservationist and start reading back issues from the 60s-70s. The LDWF is well aware that agricultural changes and to a lesser extent Refuge& Habitat restoration policy have BEEN altering migration for DECADES. Once 90% of the mid-continent population of Snow/Blue Geese wintered from a bit east of Houston to Pass Christian and all south of a line from Waco to Picayune, once mallards were over a quarter of the ducks shot in our state (now consistently under 10%) , once (before JFK was president) we had viable migratory canada goose hunting. And if you read the old conservationists its all laid out, they fought and lost before most of us here were born. But if you pay attention as you read you will also see a second story; from the 30's to the 90's ducks existed in a constant boom and bust cycle, season and bag limits were often quite restrictive (although prior to the late 60's they were also often simply ignored in cajun country completely). In LA we rarely felt the boom and bust cycle because habitat to our north was so degraded that whatever ducks there were HAD to come to the marshes and rice fields here to survive so we all wondered what the fuss/conspiracy was about with all the 3bird/30day seasons in the early 90's when we were all killing ducks. Out of all that drama (in the 50's, 60's and 90's there were serious discussions about shutting duck hunting down completely) came the North American Waterfowl Recovery Plan ( I may have mixed that name up slightly). The NAWRP had a goal of stabilizing and restoring waterfowl populations to early 1950's levels and finding a scientific method of managing the resource rather than capricious fiat by whomever was appointed to head the USFWS. Among the many proposal that were made was a federal plan to increase mid-continent habitat for migrating waterfowl in order to increase hen weight at return to the breeding grounds which in turn increased reproductive success. At the same time all of this was occurring a series of severe floods struck the upper and mid Mississippi River valley causing massive hardship and expense. It became apparent that the agri-lunar landscape that had been built in the graet plains was enhancing these flood events and that restoring wetlands could blunt flood events. These factors (generally) led to increased federal funding for wetland restoration in non-coastal areas ie. the Wetland Reserve Program. Which created the conditions Mr. Goins alludes to when he says that guides and clubs in the mid-west have learned to use federal dollars to 'farm' ducks.

So what has this conservation/flood control effort yielded? Over two decades of stable and abundant waterfowl populations which are now pretty evenly distributed over the central and MS Flyways most years, reduced destructive flooding even in high river years, reduced direct price supports for agricultural products, reduced crop insurance claims, increased biodiversity in the plains with benefits to many non-game species from eagles to orioles, jobs in one of the most economically depressed areas of the country, CO2 sequstrations, easy knee boot hunting for rich dudes, more pheasants, decreased fertilizer in the MS river, better fish populations..............
And so when LA consistently ranks in the top 3 states for duck harvests its going to be hard to convince the rest of the states in the central and MS flyways to undo all that so you can get back to shooting mallards and pintails instead of dosgris and bufflehead.

Moreover the changes to migration were occurring decades BEFORE the government started subsidizing wetland creation. The reality is that for a lifetime agricultural practices in the midwest have moved in a direction that favored short stopping with ever more corn and beans and no till farming. More small and large irrigation and drinking water reservoirs, the restoration of beaver populations, reforestation of marginal lands ect. At the same time LA has seen immense habitat degradation, More uber cane/cotton/pine cultivation, sub-urban and now exburb sprawl combined with round up ready rice and beans and more efficient combines that leave little for ducks and geese when fields are flooded. What will banning ice eaters do about that??

But on the other hand we still do have ducks. and even at the micro level of St. Bernard Parish I can tell you that the overly wet conditions this year have altered where birds are. Our best hunts this year were in flooded deer lanes that had grown up in smartweed rather than in the rain water ponds that we normally kill in which were to deep for puddle ducks much of the season. As far as big branch yes it has a lot of SAV but not so much coontail and widgeon grass as hydrilla and milfoil. Until the closing of the MRGO that was fine because it was one of a limited number of areas in the Pontchartrain Basin with decent SAV but with the dramatic changes in salinity regimes since the closure there is SAV from the the Metairie Lakeshore to Lonsome Island and so birds can be more choosy. Things change, ponds were I killed limits for years suck now, places I never scouted a bird in the 90's hold birds now. Its a pain but its unlikely we can go back and I aint gonna quit so I keep scouting and chasing them birds.

February 01 at 4:42am
A comment titled: Re: Aerial Duck Survey January 2019 in response to a report titled: Aerial Duck Survey January 2019

Well, it could be worth a look. The birds I saw were between apple pie ridge and old spanish trail but there could be some north of there on the refuge. Check the map they added some land lately in that area to go with that marsh creation project.

January 18 at 8:36pm
A comment titled: Re: Aerial Duck Survey January 2019 in response to a report titled: Aerial Duck Survey January 2019

There are grays around. But man are they spooky. If you aren't on the X forget it. Had multiple flocks totaling maybe 60 or so blow me off Saturday. And there are large congregations spending the day in outer bays. Go ride old Spanish trail by the Fritchie marsh there were several hundred in there on private ground when I passed. SELA can swallow a bunch of ducks and we can still have a crap season if it's all older educated birds. Killed 9 teal and a redhead yesterday, hunting a walk in only pond. Might squeeze an evening hunt in Saturday PM before its all done in the coastal zone. Next year will be better, more water on the breeding grounds and a high survival rate this winter.

January 17 at 10:56pm
A comment titled: Re: Lack of Ducks continued..... in response to a report titled: Lack of Ducks continued.....

Also it's worth remembering that not all SAV is equal so just because there is so much grass in a pond that you need a push pole in 3 feet of water doesn't mean that it's what ducks want. At any rate I'm back at it in the AM!

January 15 at 4:18pm
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