It takes a diehard deer hunter to brave the elements that are pervasive during Louisiana’s early bow season, which opens for most residents on Monday, Oct. 1. 

But for hunters in southwestern parishes, archery season opens even earlier — the last two weeks in September.

Heat, mosquitoes and snakes — just part of the price you pay for hunting deer so early in the season while summer continues to bake. 

But despite the harsh weather, those who brave the heat have a solid chance of harvesting deer before many hunters even think about stepping foot in the woods. 

“The public land in those parishes don’t receive a whole lot of pressure,” said Johnathan Bordelon, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ deer program manager. “Because of that, some of those deer are allowed to get really old, growing great antlers. 

“The potential is there to harvest deer, and really good deer.”

Data compiled by the LDWF shows southwestern wildlife management areas (WMAs) boasting impressive deer-per- hunter efforts. 

For instance, one in five hunters harvested a deer on West Bay WMA during October 2017 managed hunts, some of the best results anywhere in the state. 

“Hunters in these areas are as successful or more than the rest of the WMAs we have along the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, an area known for quality deer,” Bordelon said. “It’s an area of the state that’s definitely worth checking out.”

Earlier opener for certain parishes

The rut starts earlier in