The Louisiana legislature passed and Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed two hunting-related acts into law during the 2008 session that authorize the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to change several guidelines in the upcoming seasonal hunting regulations.

Act 22 changes the age requirements for all youth hunts to reflect 17 years of age and younger, which is a two-year increase from the previous 15 years of age and younger rule. Act 51 allows the use of crossbows during archery season for all licensed hunters and changes the wording from muzzleloader season to primitive firearms season in the hunting regulations. Both of these acts were already pre-approved by the commission and their provisions will be added to the 2008-09 hunting regulations.

"The department and commission are always looking for ways to make hunting more accessible for the state's youth and adults to keep the Louisiana hunting heritage alive," said Jimmy Anthony, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) assistant secretary. "Act 22 allows two more years for the youth of this state to hunt during our many special youth hunt weekends. Act 51 gives the hunter more options on how they would like to hunt. We would like to say thank you to the legislature and the governor for getting these two acts signed into law."

The new 17 or younger age requirement will go into effect this upcoming hunting season and will include all special youth deer, duck, squirrel and dove hunts and other approved youth hunts. This does not apply, however, to the special early season youth waterfowl hunt allowed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to the regular season opening in each zone. 

Each youth must be accompanied by one adult, 18 years of age or older, for all youth hunts. Youths 16 years of age and older must possess a hunter safety certification or proof of completion of a hunter safety course, and a valid hunting license. For hunters 15 years of age and younger, the accompanying adult must have hunter safety certification, a valid hunting license or proof of completion of a hunter safety course. Adults may not possess a firearm, and youths may possess only one firearm while hunting. The supervising adult shall maintain visual and voice contact with the youth at all times and may supervise only one youth during the youth hunt. 

The regulations for bow and arrow regulations will now read: Longbow, compound bow and crossbow or any bow drawn, held or released by mechanical means will be a legal means of take for all properly licensed hunters.

Legal primitive firearms for primitive firearm season include rifles or pistols with a .44 caliber minimum, or 10-gauge or smaller shotguns, all of which must load exclusively from the muzzle or cap and ball cylinder, use black powder or approved substitute only, take ball or bullet projectiles only, including saboted bullets, and muzzleloaders known as "inline" muzzleloaders. Single shot breech loading rifles that are .38 caliber or larger manufactured prior to 1900 and replicas, reproductions or reintroductions having an exposed hammer that uses metallic cartridges loaded either with black powder or modern smokeless powder are also classified as primitive firearms. All approved primitive firearms may be fitted with magnified scopes.

In addition to the required Basic and Big Game hunting licenses, a Bow license is required for the taking of deer during the archery season with a longbow, compound bow or crossbow. A Primitive Firearm license, formerly sold as a Muzzleloader license, is required for the taking of deer during the primitive firearm season in addition to the required Basic and Big Game hunting licenses. During the still hunt and with-or-without dogs segments of the (conventional firearms) deer season, the Primitive Firearm license is not required.

For more information on Louisiana hunting regulations, visit the LDWF Web site at