On Friday afternoon, the state’s waterfowl study leader reported encouraging aerial survey results, indicating the largest number of birds Louisiana’s seen in early November for at least 10 years.
And on Saturday and Sunday, hunters confirmed what Larry Reynolds witnessed from his plane last week and enjoyed what can only be described as a solid opening weekend across the state in the coastal and west zones.
“I haven’t seen birds like this in 20 years. It was phenomenal,” said David Faul, with Bin There Hunting near Welsh. “It took us probably 10 minutes to get a three-man limit Saturday. It was crazy.
“My youngest son guides for me, and he was back at the camp with 24 birds before 6:30.”
Faul reported hunters bagged mostly teal and spoonbills over the rice fields, with mallards, pintail and widgeon mixed in. Twenty-five hunters and guides harvested 142 ducks on Saturday, and 18 hunters killed 92 ducks and three geese on Sunday.
Capt. Jimmy Corley, with Waterfowl Specialist Guide Service, also reported easy limits in the Delacroix area.
“It was excellent. It was a beautiful morning with 18 birds on Saturday,” Corley said, noting hunters shot teal, spoonbill and dos gris, and missed a nice flock of pintails. “We had a lot of birds. Sunday was action-packed with teal. Green-wings were zinging through there 15 to 20 to a flock. It was awesome.”
Capt. Gene Dugas, with Rather Be Fishing/Hunting Adventures, also reported plenty of birds in the Hopedale/Reggio area.
“Saturday was unbelievable. That was the most ducks I’ve seen in years,” Dugas said, nothing hunters shot teal, grays, dos gris and red heads.
On his Sunday afternoon hunt, Dugas said action was steady.
“We didn’t see a lot of birds, but we’d have a group of six come in and kill three or four. Then we’d have seven or eight come in and we’d kill three or four,” Dugas said. “The birds worked really well and came to the call. It was one of those hunts you remember, where the birds just come in nice and perfect.
“We had one group of 15 or 20 come in all locked up with their feet down. It was nice.”
But low water in the Caernarvon area seemed to dampen some opening weekend action there.
“It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be,” said Jared Serigné, producer of Sportsman TV. “We had the water fall out with that heavy north wind so I think that pushed the birds offshore where they don’t have to deal with the mud as much.”
With only two inches of water near his blind Saturday morning, Serigné and three other hunters still managed 14 birds.
“It was nothing like the youth weekend. Ducks were thick and the water was just right,” he said. “I just attribute it to the water blowing out right before the season.”
New Iberia hunter Burt Cestia III reported solid limits from his new lease south of Pecan Island in Vermilion Parish.
“It was really good. Saturday was a 50-50 split with teal and grays,” said Cestia, who didn’t hunt on Sunday but talked to hunters who did. “Sunday was the most birds we’ve had. It was all teal — they said they were coming in a hundred at a time.”
Capt. Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service, also reported lots of ducks in the marsh near Sweet Lake.
“There’s definitely plenty of birds. We saw lots of young birds. It seems like we’ve had a decent hatch,” said Poe, noting hunters he guided shot mostly grays and mallards. “A lot of the birds we’re killing are real small. A lot of the green heads don’t have their color yet.”
On the LouisianaSportsman.com forum, reports were generally positive, like this one from “Superduck” in Leeville.
“Hunted this morning till 11 a.m. We all shot a few which is great... Unlike last year, when I made eight hunts and never shot anything. So (it) was a great day. I talked to a friend - they had eight men in their group in PAC WMA and they all got their limit. That's a good sign for sure.”