Please Sign In

New To Sportsman Network?

Public Comments on Waterfowl Seasons

As most of you know, I've been collecting public comment on the zones and splits configuration because we get the chance to change our structure every 5 years and there 'may' be some additional options available this year.

Anyone that hasn't commented and wants to can e-mail me at:

Along with zones and splits, I've received LOTS of comments about season dates, length of the split, bag limits, etc. Of course, bag limits are controlled by the USFWS, and we can make changes in season dates and split length/placement every year. My primary focus is the structure of the zones and splits. But I got a well-written e-mail today that nicely represents the most numerous comment I get ........ 'we want a later season.' You guy may already know this stuff, but I thought I'd share the e-mail and my response:


I'm writing to voice my opinion for the upcoming season. I favor the season being pushed back. A later opening date as well as later closing date. My reasoning is here in central Louisiana we don't have enough water for the first split as the rains and cold weather always come later. We just begin to kill mallards about the last 2 weeks of the season.



Avoyelles Parish

My response:

[I]Thanks very much for your input, XXXX. I will include it in my report to the LWF Commission.

Without a doubt, the most numerous comment I get is the desire for a later closing date. Consequently, I feel obligated to make sure that everyone knows that LDWF runs the season in the East Zone as late as the USFWS allows. Hunters in southern states have been pushing for a later closing date since at least 1960, and probably much longer than that. Only in 1997, when Senator Trent Lott forced a 'framework extension' by attaching it to an Appropriations bill, did we get a later closing date (the last Sunday in January instead of the Sunday closest to January 20th). Of course, that same legislation allowed the northern states hunt a week earlier. I just want you to know that a later closing date has very little chance of happening despite how popular it is with our hunters.

I appreciate your contacting me.

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader[/I]
Waterfowl Zones
I hunt quite a bit on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain (currently in East zone), and due to low tides each year in late January, access to that area is very limited.

Has the state considered a 'North/South' zone, with the dates opening earlier in the South? That border could run from the Texas state line along I-10 to Baton Rouge, then along I-12 to Slidell, then back along I-10 to the Mississippi state line. This way, all of the 'tidal areas' are in the Southern zone and open earlier/close earlier. This would also satisfy the folks in the upper portions of the state that wish to have later season dates.

In essence, this option would be as follows:

The north zone would mirror the current east zone,
and the south zone would mirror the current west zone.
Which solution?
Can you report which recommendations as far as splits seem to be getting the most support at the meetings?

Larry, thanks for going above and beyond to help gather input from hunters. It's a shame that the dead horse of 'I want a later season' continues to be beaten but I think most have realized that's just not realistic. I know first-hand that the marshes are full of birds right now, does that mean you want to hunt into late March too??? Come on guys, work with what's being offered as plausible alternatives. Bayou Bob and I both hunt similar areas and I can concur on the water levels issue. I think I'd be willing to give his idea a shot but again we're just offering input with regard to that one area. Maybe some others could chime on their thoughts of Bob's idea and how it would relate to their area.

thanks again, Larry
Thanks for your responses
The zones/splits option getting the most support at the public meetings was the current 2-zones with splits. However, at the 6 public meetings, there were only 17 comments including zero at the Opelousas and Bastrop meetings. Of those 17 comments, 13 favored the current 2 zones with split seasons.

Including comments I've received via phone call, e-mail, personal conversations, and website postings (like here a couple of months ago), I've received 95 comments that have run something like this.

53% for 2-zones with splits.
31% for no-zones with 2 splits (3 season segments).
10% for 3 zones with splits.
3% for 2 zones with no splits.
3% with no zones and no splits.

Lots of people have also suggested changes in season dates, length and position of splits, division of days between first and second splits, etc. Those decisions can be debated and changes made every single year, but the zones and splits structure is the 5-year decision I was focusing on.

LDWF did indeed consider a North-South zone division. On our 2010 Hunter Opinion survey, we included that as an option for hunters to choose. I don't have the data with me, but on that survey we saw something like.

34% for 2 zones with splits.
25% for no zones with 3 splits.
17% wanted North-South zones with splits.
4% for 3 zones with no splits.
20% had no opinion or didn't care.

(I'll edit those numbers on Monday if I didn't remember exactly correct).

I do receive a lot of conflicting opinion on season dates from SE Louisiana hunters. Some want to be put back in the East zone while others do NOT want a later season because the low water and north winds typical of the late season keeps them from getting to their hunting spots.
I think that the marshes do better in the first split just bc seems like when the water leaves so do the ducks?? Just my opinion..However a later season benefits the hunters in central la and north la flooded farms and timber. I dont understand how arkansas and missouri can hunt till the end of january as well as long as louisiana.