The inclement weather recently delayed completion of the monthly waterfowl survey, for which results normally are released at this point, but a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries official said preliminary observations indicate an improving situation.

"At this point, all I can say is that the survey in the coastal zone from the Texas Line to about Houma is MUCH better than November," LDWF biologist Larry Reynolds related to via e-mail.  "I don't know how it compares to 'average,' but we saw good numbers of ducks in a number of locations in Southwest Louisiana, including solid numbers pintails and a fair number of mallards."

Reynolds said there also were "greatly improved numbers" in the Atchafalaya Delta and the upper Terrebonne Parish marshes. Gadwalls, greenwings and ringnecks were the predominant species, he explained.

Still missing from the survey as of yesterday (Dec. 17) was much of extreme Southeast Louisiana.

"We've not yet seen traditionally good areas around Delacroix or the mouth of the Mississippi River," Reynolds said.

North Louisiana hunters also should be in better shape, although initial observations indicated things still were not stellar, the veteran biologist said.

"The survey reports from Northeast and Northwest Louisiana were similar – far better than November," Reynolds said. "But it seemed about 'average' in Northeast Louisiana but a little below-average in (the) northwest."

Reynolds cautioned that these were very preliminary results, so hunters should expect some variation.

"Again, I've not crunched the numbers, so you are getting my qualitative interpretation not a summary of hard data," he wrote. "It's the best I have to offer at this point."

Reynolds said he hoped to wrap up the survey today (Dec. 18).

Final results of the survey will be published on