With the governor’s signature on SB 212, bowhunters will be free to carry the firearm of their choice on private land during the upcoming 2015-16 hunting season.

But the new law does not apply to hunters on the state’s wildlife management areas, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries WMA program manager.

“It’s identical to what it’s always been in that centerfire rifles and handguns larger than .22 caliber rimfire are prohibited, except when a firearms or primitive firearms deer season is in progress,” Steve Smith said. “For the rest of the year, centerfire rifles and pistols larger than .22 caliber are still prohibited.”

In light of the new law signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal last week, Smith said the wording in WMA rules may be tweaked to make it clearer, but firearm restrictions would probably remain.

“We do intend on maintaining the ability to manage our WMAs differently than on private land,” he said. “We’re probably going to continue with more restrictive rules and regs on WMAs.

“But we’re going to discuss it this summer, and any changes will be proposed next December with the (Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries) Commission.”

Hunters on private land, however, will be free to carry the firearm of their choice after Jindal signed the legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Ward on June 29. Previous law prohibited bowhunters from carrying any firearm larger than a .22 caliber pistol while bowhunting.

“Louisiana is widely known as the Sportsman’s Paradise and that’s why we’ve continuously worked to strengthen and protect the fundamental right to bear arms for all Louisianians,” Jindal said in a release. “This proposed legislation removes unnecessary restrictions on law abiding hunters and will allow them to continue to exercise their second amendment rights while bowhunting in Louisiana.”

For more information, or if you have any questions about firearms rules and regs on WMAs, contact Smith via email here.