Biologists from each of Louisiana’s seven wildlife management area regions crunched the numbers and analyzed data from last year’s hunting seasons to give you an idea of how some of the 50 state WMAs might perform this fall. But drought, flooding, mast production, lactation rates and habitat condition all play a role in determining what public lands hunters might encounter when heading into the field starting this month. So read up on prospects for your favorite tract, or maybe scout some new territory after you’re armed with historical harvest information and the outlook for this season.


COASTAL OPTIONS

Waterfowlers enjoy duck hunting each season on the state’s public lands, where they can average around 2.5 ducks per effort in Louisiana.

Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Pass-a-Loutre WMA, Pointe-aux-Chene WMA and Salvador WMA take center stage for gunning down birds along the coast. And you can expect more action and increased harvests in those mostly marshy environments for the 2018-19 season.

Overall habitat conditions are average and should remain that way barring hurricanes and tropical storms, according to program manager Lance Campbell with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Duck habitat promising

Naturally, all that’s needed are ducks to get to the lowest reaches of the Mississippi Flyway. Habitat conditions and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) won’t be a limiting factor.

“The 2017-18 waterfowl season yielded average kill-per-effort on coastal WMAs,” Campbell said. “Since habitat conditions are currently in relatively good shape, we are optimistic that the 2018-19 season will be successful.”

At Atchafalaya Delta WMA, 1,769 hunter efforts resulted in 2.6 ducks per hunter effort, he said, noting Pass-A-Loutre WMA had 665 efforts and 3.7 ducks per hunter; Pointe-aux-Chene WMA had 1,383 efforts and 2.5  birds per hunter and Salvador WMA had 385 efforts and a 2.2 duck-per-hunt