The deer-hunting closure announced Monday (Dec. 29) that included hundreds of thousands of acres in the Mississippi delta has been postponed until just after sunset on Jan. 3, a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries official said today.

The closure, which encompasses all land between the Mississippi state line west to Highway 65 between the Arkansas state line and Vidalia, originally was to begin today at sunset.

However, LDWF’s Scott Durham told LouisianaSportsman.com that the closure had been postponed until sunset on Jan. 3.

“That’s big news,” Durham said. “Everybody need to go hunting hard right now.”

Editor's note: After initial publication of this story, the LDWF announced most of the area impacted by this closure would reopen to deer hunting after a week. Click here for full details on the latest change.

The emergency action was approved by LDWF Sec. Robert Barham in response to Mississippi River flooding, which is expected to worsen over the coming days.

Click here to read why one prominent retired LDWF biologist said the imminent closer is "one of those political things." 

Durham said today that he has been bombarded with phone calls about the closure area, most of which is outside the Mississippi River levees and unaffected by flooding.

He added that the agency is monitoring the situation and will make any alterations as needed.

“We’re looking at adjacent habitat to provide information to our future leadership and our current leadership so possible modifications could be made,” Durham said.

However, he pointed out that flooding of the batture land between the levees and the river channel is unlikely to recede before the official end of the hunting season.

“I don’t think the situation is going to improve,” Durham said. “I think this river is going to get up and stay up.”

Current projections show a projected 54-foot crest of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Miss. That’s 11 feet higher than flood stage — and that forecast is based only on the 48-hour predicted rainfall, and more rains are expected up the Mississippi River drainage in the coming week.

LouisianaSportsman.com is following the situation and will report as more information is available.

Mississippi officials also have announced they expect to begin closing seasons on their side of the river by Jan. 1.