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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

LDWF accepting deer lottery hunt applications for physically challenged, disabled veterans

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is currently accepting deer lottery hunt applications for physically challenged hunters on Sabine and Floy McElroy Wildlife Management Areas for the 2017-18 hunting season.

July 28 at 10:46 am

Helping your deer herd

I sit down to write this installment of Happy Trails after spending yesterday morning in the deer woods of southwest Mississippi, attending to tasks associated with supplemental feeder sites and salt/mineral stations. It was hot and humid and horse flies the size of nickels were buzzing around our heads, but other than that it was a fun and interesting time. It was an outing that was all about preparation for the upcoming hunting season. If you are not already thinking about and preparing for this coming fall and winter, you should be. 

July 22 at 9:00 am

Two cited for allegedly spotlighting deer in St. Landry Parish

Agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited two St. Landry Parish men for allegedly poaching a deer early Wednesday morning near Melville, according to a news release.

July 13 at 3:33 pm

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

More jawbone talk

In recent installments of Happy Trails we have kicked around various aspects of both the science and art of aging whitetails on and off “the hoof.” Most deer hunters want to become as proficient as possible at estimating deer age BEFORE pulling the trigger, but it is equally important to either confirm or revise your eyeball estimate after the kill. This is where the science of jawbone aging, over time, helps to instruct and improve your eyeball skills.

June 21 at 2:30 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