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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

Shooting turkeys

When I went to work for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 1976 as a game biologist in the Florida Parishes, I quickly discovered a new species of bird to hunt — the eastern wild turkey.

April 12 at 9:00 am

We finished strong

The January issue of the Louisiana Sportsman had the words “finish strong” on the cover. This was in reference to the idea that January is the peak rut month for Areas 1 and 6, the land of the big bucks in the Bayou State.

March 10 at 6:40 am

The last crossing

The bottoms of my knee boots weren’t gripping the top of the sunken log very well, and I would occasionally slide as I inched my way across the slough. Fortunately, I had stick poles in each hand to help with balance. This might have been a little easier in my younger days, but it was certainly a challenge for this old man to keep his balance with a rifle and hunting pack slung across his back. I knew one thing for certain: I didn’t want to wind up in waist-deep water, so I took my time, and in a few minutes the crossing was over.

February 01 at 7:00 am