The Central Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex will offer three muzzleloader quota deer hunts at Lake Ophelia NWR this year (Dec. 6-7, 2008; Jan. 3-4, 2009; Jan. 17-18, 2009).

Hunters may apply individually or in parties of up to five members. One application per person is required and a $5 application fee in the form of a money order made payable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must accompany each application. Cash and personal checks are not accepted. Successful applicants must also purchase a $15 Central Louisiana NWR Complex Hunting/Fishing/ATV Permit available at the refuge headquarters or at Dupuy's Grocery on Hwy 452. Only legal muzzleload weapons that are loaded from the muzzle end of the barrel and that use black powder or a black powder substitute are permitted.
 
Youth Deer Hunts

Three lottery youth deer hunts will be held at Lake Ophelia NWR this year (Nov. 25, Dec. 13 and Dec. 30, 2008). Youths ages 12 – 15 may apply for these hunts (applicants must be 12 by the date of the hunt). There is no application fee. Ten youths per hunt will be selected by random drawing. Each youth must be accompanied by one parent/guardian 21 years or older and one staff/volunteer. Ground blinds are provided. Rifles will be allowed. Applicants previously selected are not eligible to apply. New this year:  Youth hunts will commence one-half hour before sunrise and conclude at noon. 

Applications for the Muzzleloader and Youth Deer Hunts are available at the Refuge Headquarters Office in Fifth Ward, or on the refuge's website (http://www.fws.gov/lakeophelia). Muzzleload hunters applying via the internet application must submit their application with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Applications will be accepted beginning August 1 and must be received by 4 p.m. on August 29. Applicants will be selected via a public drawing to be held at the refuge headquarters at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 10, 2008. Successful applicants will be notified by mail.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fish and wildlife management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.