Opening day (Nov. 12) of this year's duck hunting season lived up to the hype in the Biloxi Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

Most hunters were able to shoot their limits quickly enough on opening morning to pick up and head back to the camp in time for breakfast. Feedback from hunters provided lots of encouragement for what should shape up to be one of the best seasons in quite some time for Southeast Louisiana.

With fields to the north still dry, ducks had no problem finding the habitat needed to keep them fattening their bellies, and they ganged up in the massive marshes of the WMA.

"The feed looks better than I've seen it in a long time," said Neil Gauthier, whose group of six hunters took 33 birds on opening morning followed by another 18 grays bagged by three hunters on Sunday.

It was no surprise to hear that gadwall and greenwings dominated the count for most, but what left some hunters even more optimistic about the season was the increasing variety they brought back in their bags. In contrast to previous seasons, greenheads and pintails slowly began making their way in on the bows of a few boats, and for those who had the pleasure of cutting the feathers of a duck worthy enough for a trip to the taxidermist, there would be no question when it came down to making it back to the Biloxi Marsh for another hunt.

"If it means I can get a few more of these, then I'll be back soon" Tim Charrier said of the hunt in which he took down a mallard. "It's just as active out here as any place I've ever hunted."

For the most part, the tales being told around the campfires on opening weekend in the Shell Beach and Hopedale area were like Charrier's, but if there was one thing that left something to be desired for the Biloxi Marsh it was the surprising low number of hunters. Compared to years past, a lot of people either skipped the trip or went someplace else for opening day.

That's a good news/bad news type of deal, Gauthier said.

"Eventually we're going to need more hunters in the Biloxi Marsh to keep the ducks moving around, but opening day was well worth the wait of the offseason," he said. "It was fast and furious out here."

To find out more about how you can add to the duck hunting pressure in the Biloxi Marsh Wildlife Management Area, check out the December issue of Louisiana Sportsman.

Also, read other user reports and post your own in the LouisianaSportsman.com Waterfowl Hunting Forum.

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