Louisiana Sportsman
MborneProfile Photo
Waterfowl and Duck Hunting in Louisiana

Duck Season Dates

Louisiana Duck Hunters need to band together and demand a later season. See below information and make comments. I canít single handily change the season dates, but collectively we can. Please visit http://www.wlf.la.gov/hunting/2013-waterfowl-hunter-opinion-survey and make a push for a later season (not currently active but will be prior to season decisions being made).

How does Louisiana set duck season datesÖ
Season dates are largely influenced by popular decision (or so I thought). This year Larry Reynolds took it upon himself to go against popular decision and set the Coastal Zone season opener on November 9th. WHAT A MISTAKE!!!!! I canít speak for everyone, but my season wasnít productive until early December. Please see the link to the article where Larry tries to justify his season opener. My rebuttals below. http://www.nola.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2013/07/louisiana_coastal_duck_hunters.html

Larry Reynolds saidÖÖ. Hunters who chase ducks on leases and public wetlands in that part of the state have much greater success early in the season. The data is unmistakable.
What data???? I canít speak for everyone, but in recent years, I have had much greater success during the second split than the first. Yes birds become harder to hunt but this is a reflection of hunting pressure and has nothing to do with season dates. After ducks have been shot at for 40 consecutive days, they are bound to become more difficult to hunt. This holds true regardless of when the season opens. As shown below, there are more birds in Louisiana in the month of December than there are in November and more birds in January than there are in the month of December. Sounds Simple but Why not hunt the birds when the largest concentrations are here?????

Date Total Numbers % Increase from November
November 2013
1,015,000

December 2013
1,954,000
92.5% more than November
January 2014

November 2012
1,463,000

December 2012
2,061,000
41% more than November
January 2013
2,621,000
79.2% more than November

November 2011
1,839,000

December 2011
2,423,000
31.7% more than November
January 2012
2,792,000
51.8% more than November

From the above information which is reported on the LA Department of Wildlife website, we see two trends:

1) Each subsequent year shows a substantial drop in the number of birds that migrate to Louisiana in November (a later migration).

I believe ducks have adapted to hunting pressure. The recent increase in pressure has caused birds to migrate later and later since duck seasons in northern states open later than ours. Coastal Louisianaís duck season started 19 days before the southern Missouri duck season which is roughly 600 miles north of us. Despite our unseasonably cold weather in November 2013, duck numbers in November 2012 were 44% higher and 81% higher in 2011.

2) Total numbers continues to increase trough the January survey.
A later season would give hunters a better chance at success. The bottom line is; We need to hunt the birds when they are here.

Larry Reynolds saidÖÖ. The most productive week of those 10 seasons was the first, during which hunters killed roughly 20 percent of their ducks.
We have more success not because there are more birds, but because we are hunting uneducated birds. Statistically opening weekend will always be the best weekend of the season. If opening weekend was pushed back 2 weeks, the number of birds killed would increase substantially. A later season will still allow us the opportunity to hunt birds that have not been educated, just more of them.
January 25 at 7:13pm
47Comments
speckle_searcherProfile Photo
Posted January 26 at 11:27am
survey

The survey is closed.

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Rolandc (The Duckman) Profile Photo
Posted January 26 at 2:59pm
season dates

I'am very pleased with the season dates as they are i kill we more ducks in the 1st split so i will always vote for a early season

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22TwotoneProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 12:26pm
Hunt dates

Sounds like the coastal zone should be done away with and go back to the east and west zones.

I know that there is alot folks that want the season to run into Febuary but, this will never happen because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets the end of season dates. This is to give the birds time to rest before the migration back north.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 2:46pm
Percentage of the total season kill taken by week of the season.

Percentage of the total season kill taken by week of the season.

Get it straight

First, I can't set seasons: that is the job of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. All I can do is make recommendations.

Second, what do you mean by 'what data?' The data I presented at public meetings over 2 years to help justify the new zone boundaries, and the data I presented to the Commission to support the recommendation for the Coastal Zone season dates. The same data that has been posted at websites including this one.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 3:14pm
Kill per hunter

Of course, those data are for total kill. It could be that many fewer hunters are still active late in the season but their per-hunter kill might be higher. So I also presented ducks per hunter taken at our coastal WMAs.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 3:20pm
Commission always has the authority

Those harvest data and the season-date preference data from hunters in all 3 zones were presented to the Commission prior to their decision last August to set the dates for this past season.

I currently have no intention of conducting another hunter-opinion survey until 2015, so I would recommend taking demands for different season dates directly to the Commission members. Their contact information can be found at:

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-wildlife-and-fisheries-co

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super  duckProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 4:55pm
yall can have it

got a week long trip planned with a good friend in Montana and a trip to Kansas the plane ticket to Montana much cheaper than my lease including my 7 day lic. Kansas is a easy drive. Get to shoot ducks and geese I shot two ducks this year.

going to hunt private farm land at no fee just took a knock on the door. dates are set oh yeahhhh

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agent troutProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 8:46pm
No one doubts reports

Larry,

I do not think we are doubting the data and agree with you with what the data says. I think some of these guys are just saying that the hunting may even be better with a latter opening weekend allowing more birds to be in the area like your surveys report.

The opening weekends., whenever they are, will normally be better than the last weekends due to birds getting educated.

Thanks for the time

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 27 at 9:10pm
Didn't the original poster say 'What Data????'

So I provided the data ..... again.

And I clarified who sets the season dates and what information I presented to them before they made that decision.

I haven't made a single argument. I've only presented information and recommended folks go directly to the Commission with season-date demands because no additional hunter-opinion data is anticipated.

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LOUISIANA MARSH GUIDE SERVICEProfile Photo
Posted January 28 at 12:00am
season dates

The only thing I would like changed is a two week gap between the youth weekend and the regular opening weekend. I have nothing against the youth weekend at all for I have grandkids that are starting to hunt. I just think a longer break between the two seasons would make the regular opening weekend seem like opening weekend again. It sure seems like for the past several years the birds haven't acted like 'opening weekend ducks.'

The majority of them have been very wary. Maybe,just maybe, the youth weekend the week before is the problem. I don't know. Just a thought. And it's not because they have been shot at up the flyway in Arkansas or elsewhere. Arkansas season usually opens the third week of November after our coastal zone does. Any thoughts?

Albino BuckProfile Photo
Posted January 28 at 3:55pm
ducks

not just this late cold spells, i see this every year, there's more ducks in the coastal and southern areas of louisiana in febuary than any other month, we pay high dollar fir gear and equipment to shoot a few ducks and get frustrated year after year. louisiana duck seasons are for the northern states to shoot more the next year, why should we be punished year after year, i'm giving up on ducks unlimited, they do NOT have us in the loop.

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LOUISIANA MARSH GUIDE SERVICEProfile Photo
Posted January 28 at 4:24pm
No pressure

The main reason you see a lot of birds in February is because THERE IS NO PRESSURE . They just didnt migrate here. Late in the season LOTS of birds simply get away from all the hunting pressure and move offshore where they are safe. Strong southerly winds during the late season produce the best hunting days.

In March and April you will see thousands of blue winged teal in the marshes.It's not because they just migrated here from the north. Lol. They are starting their northward track back from Mexico. You may see lots of pintail in the coming weeks also doing the same thing.

speckle_searcherProfile Photo
Posted January 28 at 10:59pm
real reason

The real reason for all the ducks in feb. is that all the hunting is over all over no more rice up north no more heated ponds and real cold up north. We need feb. to hunt down south, the time have change and the fed. need to change with it. Duck will head up north late March to med. April.

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LOUISIANA MARSH GUIDE SERVICEProfile Photo
Posted January 28 at 11:43pm
it will never happen

Forget about a February season. It will never happen. NO pressure is the reason you see so many in February. NOT because the birds just arrived. The birds you see are moving back into the interior marshes. By January most of the birds have moved to safe havens such as the outside waters where no one can harass them. The majority of the time strong southerly winds will push them into the inside marshes.

Feel free to chime in Larry if I'm wrong.

LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 12:01am
I think you've got it right

The shooting stops, birds disperse from sanctuary habitats, and we see many more of them where we hunt. It happens every year in all places.

Many birds, especially mallards, are moving back north starting in mid-February.

And I agree that the feds are un-likely to allow regular season hunting to extend into February. Ducks need time to accumulate body condition and reserves for spring migration, re-pairing after a loss of a mate from later hunting means increased energy expenditure during this time, and we already know from a number of radio-telemetry studies that a mallard or pintail that survives until mid-January typically survives until breeding. Consequently, late-January and February harvest is shooting into the breeding stock where earlier-season harvest is more likely to be compensatory.

With harvest-rate estimates from banded birds at about allowable levels and the harvest data from the Questionnaire and Parts surveys showing we are still killing large numbers of birds, there isn't a real compelling argument for the USFWS to allow later hunting.

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Trent_BuxtonProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 7:39am
Wrong Data

The problem this and all posts have about duck seasons, kills, and migration is not the data you provide is wrong....all your data is probably correct....but that is not the data the USWF and LDWF look at. You forget they are not concerned with adjusting limits and season to help the hunter have a better kill ratio and experience. The authorities that set these dates and limits are concerned with protecting the resource(ducks). Ducks begin pairing for breeding season in early January if not sooner...Ducks need that late January and February time with no pressure to pair, fatten, and get ready to fly to the breeding ground so we have more next season.. so they set season according to that type of data and not so we can kill more of them.

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speckle_searcherProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 9:41am
ducks

Larry I would like to see a duck count in feb. We know the # in jan. count, let see a # in feb. then we will know.

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speckle_searcherProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 10:16am
ducks

If the ducks or moving up way up north in Feb. when it is know the coldest of the year , then y did they come down in Nov. to start with. food, food, food they will not head up till March and April.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 11:56am
LDWF used to do February surveys

But they were found to give the same information as the January survey, AND those data aren't used for any management purpose. Consequently, they aren't good use of $$.

The northward movement of mallards in February has been documented with radio-marked birds.

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speckle_searcherProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 2:24pm
mallards

Last time I shot a mallard in the deep south was in the 70's they just don't come down here, it take a lot of cold to drive them down, they stay in the rice up north our bread and butter down here r gray and teal and do gree when they come down. In saying that there r no mallards down to head north.

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greenhead61Profile Photo
Posted January 29 at 5:45pm
My 2 cents

Here are my beliefs. First, the birds are not 'just' getting here in time for February. With that being said, I'm not denying some new birds could have made it down here but let's think this through. Hunting season is over, that means they are no longer getting shot at or being harassed by the hundreds of mud motors running around spooking them every 10 minutes. This allows them to once again come into the interior marshes to rest and feed. Just look at the couple days leading up to the two opening weekends. We all see the birds stacking up the days approaching the opener, then after a few days or weeks of pressure, there's a decrease in birds 'seen'. Of course the big assumption is, 'They left!' These birds didn't just leave the state. They find sanctuary (lakes, bays, GULF OF MEXICO) and learn to survive. Many turn nocturnal, only returning to the marshes at night when they can't be shot only to return straight offshore before sunrise. They are wild animals, they find a way to escape the pressure. When things calm down, guess what, they try to return to the marshes! You see this during the split, after the season, and even between weekends during the season to a lower degree. Yes, this year has had below normal numbers of migraters, the numbers speak for themselves, but hey, that's nature! Things fluctuate and as much as we want to, we might not know all the answers and why or why not this occurs. I can't compare hunting now to 20 and 30 years ago, but I'm pretty sick of people saying how the ducks don't migrate here anymore like they 'used' to. Because of this I went dig up some data from the WLF website. What I saw supported my belief. There isn't a real change in numbers of birds that migrate to the state, the real change is the dramatic increase in hunters and pressure over the last 10 years. Also, some birds move north and south several times during the season pending on weather changes. We have double if not triple the hunters. Most of these have souped up mud motors who constantly harass the birds 24/7. (Personally I feel we need more Limited access areas on WMAS or stricter regulations on the use of these mud motors on WMA to alleviate some pressure.) This all goes back to the first point from earlier, this increase in human activity is driving birds into much further areas to escape pressure. Many are interpreting this as birds not migrating here, but I strongly feel the birds are still coming, we are just driving them out of the hunting grounds during hunting hours. At night, in between splits, and after season, these same birds flood back into the marsh because they are now safe. Here is the data I retrieved from the WLF website.

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/january1_averages.pdf It shows the duck population in LA from the months of nov-jan from 1977 to 2003. I also retrieved yearly counts from 2004-present to compare if there is a decreasing trend in numbers. What I found is that the last 10 years that are missing from the graph still fluctuate up and down around the long term average. This tells me that most likely the birds are still coming here in normal numbers, we just aren't seeing them during the season due to 'chasing them out the marshes' for lack of better words. A lot of guys say the hunting is terrible now compared to the 90s, but if you look at this graph, the 90s had ABOVE normal migration, hence better hunting. Of course the migration is altered slightly due to numerous factors (drought, feed, weather, etc) each year. I don't think anyone knows the true answer to why we had such a below average year this year, but I think water in the states north of us had a lot to do with it. This post wasn't to bash anyone who commented previously, I just wanted to share some of the stuff I've looked into. It's kind of hard to go against the numbers that Larry and others collect each year. I don't think its the end of the world because we had a slower season. Just a few years ago in 2010-2011 hunter success was excellent. We will have up and down years, its just nature. Until we see a steady decline away from the long term average over the course of several years, then I don't think we can make an argument that birds no longer come here and we need to extend the season into February (which won't happen anyway). Also, we wouldn't have anything to worry about if it wasn't for DU. I can't stand to see people bashing this organization and blaming them for poor seasons. If it wasn't for them conserving breeding grounds, we wouldn't even have a population of ducks to hunt anymore. Whether we want to accept it or not, human involvement is to blame. Loss of breeding grounds, change in agricultural practices, wetland loss, and extreme increases in pressure in recent years are all traced back to human involvement and likely causes for tougher hunting seasons. If you think itís bad now, duck production on the breeding grounds has been up in recent years, but when that production goes into a downward cycle for some time (like nature ALWAYS does), then we will be in trouble! Anyways, rant over just wanted to share some of the stuff Iíve been looking at!

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fishnhuntdudeProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 6:53pm
No late seasons

You absolutely cannot have a duck season that goes into Feb.. Any biologist worth his salt will tell you ducks are pairing up in Feb.. Once a duck looses his mate after Feb. the chance of having a breeding pair goes way down. Duck season in Feb. would be counter productive to the resource. If you are not shooting ducks in Nov. you need to get a better property. Your problem is definitely not the season.

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clothslineProfile Photo
Posted January 29 at 8:25pm
no feb but a later start

feb is a bad idea, just does not make sense. birds are paired and need time to rest before starting north. i hunt coastal SE and feel there are good reasons to open a week later. it allows more birds to arrive, more time for them settle into feeding areas and a week of hunting later in the season.

a later opener will get my vote, if i get a chance, as i am a non res hunter

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duckhunter_89Profile Photo
Posted January 30 at 3:38pm
opinion

I would be in favor of pushing the first opening date back to allow more ducks to accumulate in the hunting area before the they start getting shot at, and also close the season as late as possible within the federal framework. If this means reducing the number of hunting days then so be it. Also, I would be for getting rid of the zones. I think all of Louisiana should open at the same time as to disperse the hunting pressure.

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bleedingduckProfile Photo
Posted January 31 at 12:02pm
seasons

I have only been chasing ducks for 20 years, so many of you have more experience than me, but I see several problems with the way the season was set up this year.

* Coastal zone opens before north Louisiana and Arkansas, don't the birds migrate north to south? If we corrected this perhaps hunting pressure could facilitate migration.

* Only the coastal zone split gave ducks a weekend off during the split! Let me be clear, if hunting pressure affects duck habits, we must give them more than 5 weekdays off!

* More than a month without a split hammers ducks! We watched ducks shy away from real ducks because they were so wary by the end of the season. Another split would have helped the ducks calm down some, and allow us to hunt till Jan 31.

With these being said, I had the best duck season I have ever had, but I was able to watch the ducks as the season progressed. I also don't think we need to use this year as a normal year in our adjustments, as I killed several bluewings and grays with pin feathers the last week of the season, indicating the hatch, and therefore the migration was extremely late.

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duk-huntiacProfile Photo
Posted February 11 at 9:31am
Data???

1.) I think this may be the first time that I have somewhat disagreed with LA Marsh, you are 1/2 correct with your thoughts on the press. keeping ducks away, hence thats why we see more in Feb. I have a friend who owns ' used to be great duck hunting property' in Greenville MISS.,

guess when approx. 350,000 mallards showed up this yr, you got it, one week after the season closed. Do you really think they were coming back from the south? He said that the mallards do this every year for the past 10 yrs now. Why? Way too much feed for them to leave northern states. Other species are now learning what the mallards have known for quite some time now.

2.) The Feb. pairing excuse is just that, an excuse, there have been studies done that indicate the period of time it takes a female to pair with another male after he's been taken, any idea what that period of time is??? Less than 3 days and she has another mate. So I'm sick of the pairing excuse.

3.) Just like some on this site, I've been hunting since the late 60's and have seen what happens to thousands of pounds of feed when there isn't much press. on the ducks, it's gone in a matter of days. Guess what happens when the feed is gone, ducks leave. When the press. up north is over and the ducks just stay and eat, feed is gone quickly and then, only then, they will move southward in search of more food!!!!

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LOUISIANA MARSH GUIDE SERVICEProfile Photo
Posted February 12 at 9:01am
duchuntiac

You are partially right on the mallards because there sure isn't 350,000 mallards on the coast to move back north!

As far as other species........... no matter if the season closed in December or January you will ALWAYS see more after it closes. Even if the season closed February 28 for example you will see more the next week or two. Then people will be saying we need a March season!!!!!!!!!! HA!

mheplerProfile Photo
Posted February 12 at 9:33am
Coastal Dates

I would like to see these dates for the 2014-2015 'Coastal Zone'

Youth Day November 1st

1st Split Nov 8th - Nov 16th (9 days)

2nd Split Nov 28th - Dec 7th (10 days)

opened the Friday after Thanksgiving.

3rd Split Dec 20th - Jan 29th (41 days)

Youth Day Feb 7th

I like to say 1st that my group had a great season this year but it make no sense that all states north of us are hunting to the end of January & we cannot.

It also makes no sense to have youth days 2 days in a row the week before the season. The second day is a wasted one in my opinion.

I would like some feed back from Mr Reynolds. -Thank you Mike Hepler

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duckhunter7777Profile Photo
Posted February 12 at 10:29am
Too many factors

So many things against good duck seasons now. Need a drought, no hurricane , a cold winter . That's not even considering the severe erosion and saltwater intrusion. Habitat is being lost at an alarming rate . Prairie pothole region turning into farms. Breeding grounds being lost. Hunters with big money flooding corn and Japanese millet up north and in southwest la. Can't blame du for that. Thank the good Lord that du provides money for breeding ground conservation. To say it's du fault u got to have rocks in ya brain just my opinion. Don't look good for se la at all and what's worse the state doesn't do much to prevent coastal erosion. Add up those factors that's where our birds are. Didn't even talk about surface drives and twice the hunters we had. 5 years ago. You could go on and on.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted February 12 at 1:41pm
Mike's proposed season dates

First, zones and splits are set for 5-year periods, so there can't be 2 splits (3 season segments) in next year's duck season. The only way we can have 2 splits in Louisiana is if we have no zones. The next opportunity to change zones and splits is 2016. Obviously, no further evaluation of your proposed season dates is possible.

We have already discussed ad nauseum how and why the season dates for the coastal zone were set. I will continue to support the traditional dates in the coastal zone because of the harvest and participation data, both statewide and from the SE Louisiana coastal WMA bag-checks. However, 2014-15 is a year where the traditional second Saturday in November is as early as it can be, AND Thanksgiving is late (Nov. 27). So this may be the year to push the Commission for a later opening/closing if that is what you favor.

As for the Youth hunt, I don't have good harvest or participation data except that pre-season coastal zone youth hunts are very popular and successful. Here are the hunter-opinion survey data from last year regarding timing of the youth hunts in the coastal zone:

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mr.ozoneProfile Photo
Posted February 12 at 4:56pm
Early Season

My biggest problem with the early opening is the upstate and out of state pressure in the coastal zone.There were caravans of trucks with surface drives heading to Venice from North La.,Arkansas,Mississippi,Alabama and Georgia.All loaded up with camping gear and 17 Mallards decoys.Then running all over scouting then bitching because of no ducks.Most of them justify the trip because of great fishing.I always hope for a early high river so they will all leave.

They will hear us slamming the ducks over our 100 decoys,all pins,teal and cans,then comment thet they wouldn,t bother with that many dekes,heck all you need is 17 mallard decoys,You just got to be in the right spot.The next morning they will be where we were and kill 3 teal and we just move further down and slam them again.Heck you can't fix stupid.They drive from Georgia and don't bring decoys.Then say theres no ducks here.

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duk-huntiacProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 8:42am
LA Marsh Guide Service

Here are your exact words:

NO pressure is the reason you see so many in February. NOT because the birds just arrived.

I said that I somewhat disagreed with your assestment and I stick to that. I have nothing but appreciation for you're duck hunting wisdom, through experience,that you share with us. 50% of the no press. being the reason we see more ducks in Feb. is def. correct. But,,,,every year we see more and more birds just getting here because the feed has finally run out north of us. Used to be mainly mallards, but like I stated in my previous posts, other species are finally seeing the picture too. Especially our beloved Greys. Just spoke with an engineer friend of mine from Mizzou and he said, with a smile on his face of course, the reason we had a great season 2 yrs ago, was because of the severe drought they were having up there and they could not get there corn to grow. His exact words: We saw more ducks this year, even with -8 degree temps, than we ever saw, even greys and teal. There it is in a nutshell. FOOD+some water and dey ain't coming JACK.

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Bill collectorProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 8:50am
data

I have been hunting for along time on the Biloxi WMA never have I had a bag check or been prompted to fill out a check in and check out card. I also have never been asked how many ducks I have killed other than the Hip certification. So what ever data is being provided as the numbers of ducks killed on WMAs and killed in LA is skewed or a guestimate at best. Do private land owners get get questioned? I have only seen a represntative for the LDWF once and that was to give me a ticket for not wearing my kill switch on a tiler handle motor which has a clutch that takes the boat out of gear as soon as you let go of the sqeeze handle throtle. If you are going 50 in a bay boat with a fixed handle throtle and you fall out the boat it won't stop and the law says you do not have to where the kill switch. Figure that one out.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 10:16am
More ignorance from Bill Collector

1) The data collected from SE WMAs bag checks is presented above in this thread. Those data are collected consistently, reported throughout the season, and have been cited many times by people who write for Louisiana Sportsman and other publications.

2) The harvest data for the state are similarly collected with consistent methods every year. Anyone listening to Don Dubuc last Sunday heard that he was selected for the survey this year and reported his hunting activity and bag along with hundreds of other Louisiana hunters. All hunters are eligible for the survey, private and public. Harvest reports, which include the specific methodology, can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewReportsPublications/HIP/hip.htm

None of us have to remain ignorant. We can spend some time and learn a little bit about what we're talking about. By doing that, we might get past the BS, and start having meaningful discussions about our sincere differences in season-date preferences.

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Bill collectorProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 10:38am
Ignorance

Larry there is no reason feel threatened. What I am saying is not ignorant it just does not line with your agenda. I have been selected by the Fish and wildlife Service for the survey twice. The way people are selected for this survey is based on the HIP report from the previous year. I did well one year and got the survey packet the next. The next year I did not do well because of hurricane activity and lack of feed. So the info I provided was not substantial enough to be used. I did not get a survey packet the next year. Right from the begining the data is skewed because thay only target individial's who harvest over a certain number of birds. They are focused more on wether or not the birds are young of the year or not. Not getting an acurate count of birds killed. They make estimates on information only from people who are killing over a certain ammount of birds.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 11:45am
And even more ignorance from Bill Collector

I'm not threatened by things that are not true. People that read this need to understand that you don't know what you're talking about.

The HIP sample is not SKEWED toward more successful hunters; the sample is STRATIFIED by hunter kill reported on the registration questions.

Hunters are stratified into High kill (>10 per year), Med kill (1-10 per year) and Low kill (0 per year), and samples are collected from each one of those 3 groups. If you are in the High-kill group you have a higher probability of being selected, 5% instead of 2% for the Low kill group, but the total estimate accounts for sample sizes in each group. The harvest from the High kill group is NOT expanded to everyone; only to the number in the High kill group. The harvest from the Low-kill sample is expanded to the number in the Low-kill group, and so on.

This is basic, kindergarten sampling and estimation.

Why is it done that way? Because there is FAR more variation among hunters that report killing >10 ducks per season than there is among hunters that kill less than that. Consequently, we need larger relative samples to get the same confidence limits. Also, it is a better use of money, hunters money, to use a stratified random sample because we can get the same level of confidence with fewer samples. Again, this is basic fundamental statistical methodology.

Furthermore, it wouldn't matter even if the data were skewed as you wrongly suggest ..... because it would be similarly skewed every year in every state. So the comparative outcome of Louisiana's harvest vs past years or other states would still be the same.

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duk-huntiacProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 11:48am
DATA????

Ignorance is BLISS in more ways than one. I'd rather be ingnorant on a subject than just plain ignore the truth even though it is right in your face, for whatever reason i.e. POLITICS/MONEY/ECT.

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 12:19pm
I envy you, duk-huntiac

You must live a blissful life! Good for you!

Ignorance is not an insult; we all have to admit to it before we can make progress, instead of making arguments that expose it, like Bill Collector continues to do. Speaking from my own ignorance, I sincerely wish it were all so simple to understand and easy to fix.

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jjoojjProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 12:40pm
No ducks

Just not as many ducks. I can't see how us starting the season one week before most of you would like to start would affect the entire season. Seems like the second and third weeks would be better then, right? Maybe there short stopping them, but that is out of our hands. Not going to stop production of agriculture because a bunch of coonasses aren't meeting their yearly quota on ducks.

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Bill collectorProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 12:54pm
Point

This is my point. There is a reason for LA having less ducks this season. But the waterfowl study leader who apparently is all knowing does not want to provide an answer other than the counts before the season may not have been as good as they thought. If he reveals the real reason it may decrease the bottom line for DU and we dont want to do that. I know that part of the waterfowl study leaders job should be to know why the ducks did not come down.

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jjoojjProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 2:17pm
Conspiracy

Not in to conspiracy theories. I will say this: I rode from Intracoastal City to Cameron Tuesday on the back road and saw more ducks than I've seen in some time. Also, last Saturday, I took a ride to my property in Bayou Black and there were ducks like mosquitos. It is my belief that there are too many hunters. Ducks, when everyone is referring to the good old days, had lots of resting areas, now, there are hunters around every corner. This is why, unless you have a lot of money to spend on a good lease, you won't have great opportunity to harvest a lot of ducks. Loss of habitat is also a huge factor. Years ago, Bully Camp (point-au-chene)on the Larose side was one of the greatest hunting areas anyone could ask for. Marsh was filled with vegetation, held thousands of ducks and coot throughout the winter. Now, everything just looks dead. Sure, on days of cold fronts, you can still kill well, but once they arrive and find no vegetation they leave. Blame it on what you will, but to say that we had a bad season due to the fact that it opened on the 9th rather than the 16th is ridiculous. I'm sure not much has changed with regards to farming and agriculture between 2012/2013 season and 2013/2014 season and everyone had great seasons in 12/13, so to blame it on shortstopping seems a bit out of line also. My personal belief is too much pressure and the amount of water up and down the flyway. I'm sure that the late hatch had something to do with it also. Everyone should have suspected something after the terrible teal season we had. That it all. Thanks!

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LreynoldsProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 3:15pm
If I had the complete answer

I'd be shouting it from the rooftops!

And if I knew why ducks were distributed the way they were every year, I'd be selling that information to the highest bidder and NOT working for LDWF. I don't get paid by anyone but LDWF, so I have no incentive to lie for/protect anyone. I will use all information at my disposal to evaluate those distributions this year. The only major changes up the Flyway for this year was the widespread breaking of the drought in the mid-west, and the very late spring and precipitation on the breeding grounds. All the other agricultural shenanigans you accuse northern hunters of pulling existed last year, and the year before .......

So much for all knowing.

But what I won't do is act like I know things that I don't, and a lot of times that means saying, 'I don't know, but I'll try to find out.'

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tas123Profile Photo
Posted February 13 at 3:33pm
theory

Farming season is here and a flooded field has no use now since its not hunting season. Everyone is draining to prepare for planting. Ducks have no choice but to find other areas to feed. So this could explain the ducks being everywhere

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jjoojjProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 3:49pm
not bad

It would be interesting to see if there would be lots of ducks in February if the season stayed open through the month. I doubt it. I think that the amount of hunting pressure has lots to do with the amounts of ducks we are seeing right now.

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Bill collectorProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 4:01pm
simple

lets simplify this so we can move on and call a truce. Did we have a storm to ruin SAV availability? NO. Did we have large amounts of food for the ducks? YES. Did we have a good enough hatch for ducks to be available for harvest? YES. Did we have a cold winter with many fronts to push birds? YES. Was there freeze up north to cause birds to come down for lack of food availability and frozen water? YES. Were there some isolated places in south LA the killed ducks all season? Yes. Did the majority not have a good season? YES. Was there drought in the upper and mid continental US? NO. Knowing those things as general knowledge what do you think anyone's conclusion would be.

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tas123Profile Photo
Posted February 13 at 4:17pm
bright side

Hopefully the lack of ducks thinned out all the mini duck commanders that sky blast. Stock in face paint will plummet

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jjoojjProfile Photo
Posted February 13 at 4:39pm
wet conditions in mid-west

this!

It is my belief (opinion only) that cold weather has nothing to do with the amount of ducks we have. Looking back at my logs - 2011/2012 was a great year for me and the average temperature on the days that I hunted was around 58 degrees. conversely, this year, my average temperature on the morning of each hunt was around 49 degrees. As I recall, 2011/2012 was very mild and we had a incredible year with mallards and gray ducks on our lease, to go along with the usual bwt and ringnecks. This season, with all the cold weather, I killed 4 mallards and 1 gray duck. We need droughts. But, with that said, drought conditions cause poor breeding grounds, which also causes the counts to go down on nests. Lose lose for us. All we can do is hope next year is better.

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