Another season of spotty duck hunting comes to a close

Lack of duck food, mild fronts, hurricane damage to waterfowl habitat combine to make for tough 2012-13

Darren Digby

January 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The 2012-13 duck-hunting season fizzled to a close this weekend, with hurricane damaged waterfowl habitat and another mild winter resulting in relatively tough hunting trips.
The 2012-13 duck-hunting season fizzled to a close this weekend, with hurricane damaged waterfowl habitat and another mild winter resulting in relatively tough hunting trips.
Over the weekend, many East Zone hunters were greeted with fog and temperatures reflective of a nice late March morning when they headed to their blinds. Winds were on the lighter side as another cool front stalled to the north without making a push down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Most considered it par for the course, another dip in the roller coaster ride we’ve grown accustomed to when it comes to Louisiana winters. Though many fronts did manage to push through and bring new ducks to the state, hunters without food resources to hold them continued to struggle as the 2013 hunting season came to a close.

Across our area, the action varied considerably depending on where you were chasing the birds.

Erik Rue of Calcasieu Charter Service reported a good season in the Southwest Louisiana rice fields near Hayes.

“We had a good influx of birds toward the end, and finished strong,” Rue said. “I’m really pleased with this season — probably one of the best we’ve had.

Though heavy rains managed to flood out a couple of key blinds, the abundance of water seemed to help hold birds in the area, making for fairly consistent hunting when the weather cooperated.

“We’re going to keep hitting the specks through next weekend; we’ve got quite a few in our area right now.” Rue said.

David Faul of Bin There Hunting near Welsh reported spotty action that many LouisianaSportsman.com users reported throughout the season.

“Overall, it was sporadic, with good days when the weather cooperated, especially on the front days with south winds bringing teal and grays up from the coast,” Faul said.

As many observed, Faul said recurring Pacific fronts weren’t really strong enough to bring really cold air and the numbers of new birds many hoped for.

But there were bright spots, he said.

“We had a pretty good year with the specks after getting off to a solid start in the first split,” Faul said.

In the marshes of St. Bernard Parish near Hopedale, Delacroix and Reggio, Hurricane Isaac really put a damper on the season by leaving very little feed to hold birds in the area. Those hunters able to find a few holes with groceries were able to get on some good hunting, but most struggled throughout the area — especially those limited to the confines of their lease boundaries. Ducks would show up with a front, but would usually leave within a couple of days.

Reports from the nearby public grounds of Biloxi Wildlife Management Area, Pearl River WMA and Big Branch NWR were similar, with spotty success for those able to find a few areas holding remaining food resources.

According to Captain Brent Roy of Venice Charters Unlimited reported the hunting in the area was spotty at best, with most hunters reporting tough outings. Those able to capitalize on passing fronts usually got a few birds, but overall it was a tough year for the downriver area of Plaquemines Parish, much like St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes.

Click here to read user reports from the 2013 duck-hunting season.






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