News Column: COASTAL CURRENTS
Submitted: October 1, 2014
Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent; Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach
Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption Parishes; Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter
Hunting season is here
Well, it’s that time of the year again. As we enter the fall season and begin experiencing the cooler weather, many of us start thinking about outdoor activities such as football and … hunting. That’s right. September marks the beginning of Louisiana’s 2014-2015 hunting season. To help in planning your days afield, I’ve put together the following summary of this year’s upcoming hunting seasons.
Migratory game birds
This year’s hunting season began on Sept 6 with the opening of the first split for doves. This split ran through Sept 14 in the South Zone and Sept 28 in the North Zone. Dove season continues as follows, South: Oct 11 – Dec 3 & Dec 20 – Jan 15; North: Oct 11 – Nov 9 & Dec 10 – Jan 15. The bag limit for doves is 15.
Teal, rail, and gallinule hunting began on Sept 13th and continued through the 28th (rail and gallinule have a second split from Nov 15 – Jan 7); bag limits are: teal – 6, king & clapper rails – 15, sora & virginia rails – 25, and gallinules – 15.
The taking of ducks, coots, and mergansers begins on Nov 15 in the Coastal and West Zones and continues through various splits in the West, East, and Coastal Zones. Various goose seasons begin with a Nov 8 opening in the East Zone. Also, there are special seasons for youth waterfowl hunting and for falconry hunting. Consult the migratory game birds hunting seasons brochure for details.
Woodcock season runs from Dec 18 through Jan 31 with a bag limit of 3.
The snipe season in the Coastal Zone is Nov 1 – Dec 7 & Dec 20 – Feb 27. West Zone snipe season is Nov 8 – Dec 14 & Dec 20 – Feb 27. East Zone snipe season is Nov 8 – Dec 7 & Dec 13 – Feb 27. The bag limit is 8.
Rabbit, squirrel, and quail
Rabbit and squirrel hunting begins on Oct 4 and continues through Feb 28. The spring season is May 2-24. Note that some areas are closed for the spring season; check the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details. The bag limit for rabbits and squirrels is 8 (3 squirrels in the spring).
Quail season runs from Nov 15 through Feb 28 with a bag limit of 10 birds.
Assumption, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes are in Area 9. Deer hunting here starts with the archery season: Oct 1-15 (bucks only) and Oct 16 – Feb 15 (either-sex). The primitive firearms season has three splits: Nov 8-14 & Jan 26-31 (bucks only) and Jan 19-25 (either-sex). Modern firearms still hunting (no dogs allowed) begins on Nov 15 and continues through Dec 5 (bucks only) and Nov 28–30 (either-sex). Deer hunting with or without dogs is allowed from Dec 6 through Jan 18 (bucks only) and Dec 13-14, Dec 27-28, & Jan 10-11 (either-sex).
There are some Area 9 “High Water Benchmark Closure” areas in portions of Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes; consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.
Deer daily bag limits are 1 antlered and 1 antlerless (when legal); the season limit is 6 and includes 3 antlered or 4 antlerless deer. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and other public lands seasons and regulations vary, consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.
The Youth and Honorably Discharged Veterans Season (on private land) in Area 9 is Oct 25-31.
There is also a special Physically Challenged Season (on private land) on Oct 4-5. This season is restricted to hunters with Physically Challenged Hunter Permits.
Other hunting seasons
The season for crows is Sept 1 – Jan 1 with no limit. Nutria may be taken on WMAs and private property from Sept 1 – Feb 28 with a daily limit of 5 and on Atchafalaya Delta, Salvador/Timken, Pointe Aux Chenes, and Pass a Loutre WMAs from Sept 1 – Mar 31.
Raccoons and opossums have no closed season; there are restrictions for night hunting, etc. There is an experimental year round season for bobcats. See the regulations pamphlet for details on these. Pheasant is open concurrently with the quail season; no limit.
Turkey seasons open in Areas A (Mar 28 – Apr 26), B (Mar 28 – Apr 19), and C (Mar 28 – Apr 12) on private lands only. Consult the separate WMA and Federal Lands Schedules for season dates on those areas.
Coyotes, armadillos, and feral hogs are considered “outlaw quadrupeds” and may be taken year round during legal daylight shooting hours on private property. In general, on most WMAs and other public lands, outlaw quadrupeds may be taken during open hunting seasons with whatever weapon is legal for that particular season (check the regs for the areas for specifics). On private property, landowners and/or their designated agents may take nutria, beaver, and outlaw quadrupeds at night from the last night of February through the last day of August. Special actions such as notifying the sheriff and LDWF enforcement are required for the night hunting, so be sure to read the regulations carefully.
A hunter’s pledge
To ensure the future of the sport of hunting, try to adhere to the following principles of conduct each time you go afield:
– Respect the environment and wildlife.
– Respect property and landowners.
– Show consideration for non-hunters.
– Hunt safely.
– Know and obey the law.
– Support wildlife and habitat conservation.
– Pass on an ethical hunting tradition.
– Strive to improve my outdoor skills and understanding of wildlife.
– Hunt only with ethical hunters.
“By following these principles of conduct each time I go afield, I will give my best to the sport, the public, the environment and myself. The responsibility to hunt ethically is mine; the future of hunting depends on me.” (Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2014-2015)
Finally, be sure to consult and study the Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2014-2015 pamphlet before going hunting. It is available at most places that sell hunting gear and can also be viewed/downloaded online at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ hunting regulations website (wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations). There are many rules and regulations associated with hunting and you will want to make sure you are completely legal before heading out.
Good luck afield and happy hunting!
Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can “Friend” him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his “Tweets” on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.