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Louisiana’s deer habitat in decline

The key to a good deer management program is good habitat — plain and simple. The research that has been done measuring the impacts of good deer habitat is crystal clear on the subject: Good habitat provides the nutrition needed for optimal body growth and antler development.

October 11 at 5:00 pm

The Rut in 2017

Use the Sportsman 2017 rut prediction to start planning your hunts for this season. It might also help to look at the long range weather forecast and see when the cold fronts are predicted to roll in.

October 01 at 7:00 am

Deer harvest, number of hunters in decline

Many years ago, in the mid-70s, there was an article in a popular hunting magazine that was titled “The Thundering Herd.” Basically it was about exploding deer numbers in most of the states in the southeast. Following deer restocking and limited bucks-only hunting along with improved habitat conditions, deer populations began to expand and numbers increased dramatically. Hunters had done a good job of protecting does and now their numbers were increasing in most states, including the Bayou State. 

September 12 at 9:00 am

The age factor: Older bucks aren't necessarily bigger bucks

Harvest data produced by the LDWF DMAP program shows that hunters are killing more adult bucks than yearling (1 ½ year) bucks. Data from the Quality Deer Management Association also shows this is true in most of the southeast. The management concept of let them go and let them grow has caught on in the southeast. Jimmy Ernst, LDWF DMAP Coordinator, says that today’s hunters are looking for bigger bucks. But an older buck is not necessarily a big buck. For the most part any adult buck on good habitat should have a larger rack than the yearling buck with its first rack. If habitat conditions are poor and deer numbers are above carrying capacity the rack of an adult buck may not be the quality that a hunter is hunting for.

August 11 at 2:50 pm

Is your Buck Management Program working?

Managing the buck harvest has become the norm for most deer programs these days.

August 01 at 7:00 am

Genetics of Louisiana whitetails

Genetics is the least of our worries concerning the management of deer in the Bayou State.

The scientific rule known as Bergmann’s Rule states that animals with large bodies are best suited for cold environments in the north whereas animals with small bodies are better suited for the warm environments in down south. Nevertheless there were Wisconsin deer stocked in this state during the early restocking days in the fifties. Some hunters still talk about these Wisconsin Blue Bucks and some hunters think we need to bring northern deer down and improve the genetics of our deer. In fact deer farmers have been doing this both legally and illegally for several years now. Some have discovered that these northern deer that have not been exposed to our southern environment and to the bluetongue virus that is common in our herds do not fare too well.

July 12 at 9:00 am

Genetics, age, herd or habitat

I made the statement last month in this column that now is the time to start preparing for the 2017 deer season if you want to have success. It begins with examination of the 2016 harvest data and surveying the 2017 habitat conditions. If the data indicates that the growth and development occurring within each age class is above average and if the survey finds better than average habitat conditions, then you can expect to find quality deer available for harvest during the 2017 season.

June 12 at 9:00 am

The madness of March is over

The madness that happens during the month of March began when the soothsayer told Caesar to beware the Ides of March. Julius did not listen and paid the price for ignoring it. Then, someone canned the saying that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. The opening day of the 2017 turkey season was just the reverse of this as a storm front crossed the state bringing rain right at daylight in southeast Louisiana (very much maddening to turkey hunters). 

May 11 at 4:25 pm