Four months ahead of the typical August announcement, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2016-17 duck season dates — along with hunting season dates for other species and the general and WMA hunting rules and regulations — at its April meeting on Thursday in Baton Rouge.

The Coastal and West Zone seasons are identical: The first split will be Nov. 12 - Dec. 4, with the second split set for Dec. 17 - Jan. 22.

In the East Zone, the season will run Nov. 19 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 17 - Jan. 29.

Youth hunts in the Coastal Zone will be Nov. 5-6, and in the West Zone, youth hunts will be held Nov. 5 and Jan. 28. In the East Zone, youth hunts will be Nov. 12 and Feb. 4.

The daily bag limit on ducks is six, and may include no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be females), two canvasback, one mottled duck, one black duck, three wood ducks, three scaup, two  redheads, and two pintails. The daily bag limit on coots is 15. 

The bump up in the setting the season resulted from a shift in methodology by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which set the season frameworks last  December — instead of this July — as was typically done in the past.

An amendment to alter the first split of duck season in the West Zone was voted down by the Commission.

The commission voted to approve four other amendments to the Notice of Intent, including:

Amending the 2016-17 Light and White-fronted goose season to open Nov. 5 for the first split in both the north and south zones, which will extend the season length by 7 days.

Amending a section of the General and Wildlife Management Area Rules and Regulations to prohibit mud boats and air-cooled propulsion engines after 2 p.m. from September through January on Pass-a-Loutre WMA, except such vessel use will be allowed after 2pm in South Pass, Pass-a-Loutre, Southeast Pass, Loomis Pass, Dennis Pass and Cadro Pass.

•  Amending the 2016-17 Canada goose season to open Nov. 5 for the first split in both the north and south zones, which will extend the season length by 7 days.

•  Allowing the use of dogs for the harvest of feral hogs in a portion of Dewey W. Wills WMA north of the Catahoula Lake Diversion Canal during the month of February.

Other changes from previous hunting seasons in the approved NOIs include, but are not limited to:

• Incorporation of former Deer Area 5 into Deer Area 1 and the creation of a new Deer Area 5 within the levee protection system of the Atchafalaya Basin;

• Implementation of mandatory hunter check-in for either-sex firearms deer hunts on several WMAs, including Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Big Lake, Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Grassy Lake, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage and Sherburne;

• Modification of allowable weapons to be carried for protection purposes on WMAs, which will expand allowances on such weapons to be more consistent with changes to Title 56 last year 

• Expansion on allowance for personal water craft on WMAs, to allow such on all WMAs during a specified time of year;

• Creation of a limited access area within Dewey W. Wills WMA;

• Elimination of a limited access area within Salvador/Timken WMA;

• Benchmark deer season closure for Maurepas Swamp WMA;

• Change of youth turkey lottery hunts to open youth turkey hunts on Bodcau and Jackson Bienville WMAs, and closure of turkey season on Loggy Bayou WMA.;

• Addition of squirrel and rabbit hunting with dogs during February on Thistlethwaite WMA.

To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting seasons, click here

For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or email him here.