A prohibition on mud boats and air-cooled propulsion engines after 2 p.m. on Pass-A-Loutre WMA from September through January is one of the changes being considered by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in a Notice of Intent adopted last month in Baton Rouge.

Public comment is still being accepted on all of the proposed changes, and Todd Baker, a biologist director for the Coastal Non-Game Resource Division with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said it was actually public comments that led to the proposed change to ban mud boats and air-cooled propulsion engines after 2 p.m. during duck season on Pass-A-Loutre.

“We’ve had a lot of public requests over the years that there are a lot of people who basically use those boats to run ducks and haze them, and they don’t get a place to sit down,” Baker said. “And they want to see that cut out, so that’s a comment we’ve heard a lot. 

“Then we had a few people approach us last year and say, ‘Hey we realize we can’t cut them off the areas, but maybe a good compromise is to say at 2 p.m. you just shut it down to give the birds an opportunity to rest. Coming from the public, that was a pretty lofty request, and biologically, it certainly makes sense to give those birds an opportunity to rest. It makes good biological sense to do it, the public has requested to see it and so we proposed it.”

Hunters will still be allowed to make afternoon hunts on the WMA, but Baker said they don’t disturb the number of birds potentially affected by scouting in mud boats.

“The thought process is those guys (afternoon hunters) will be hunting primarily in pirogues or walking in or hunting from outboards, so you really couldn’t traverse many miles quickly across shallow open water duck habitat all day long,” Baker said. “Most of those guys will be going up in there, setting up and sitting down and not really running around.”

Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings through April and/or can be submitted in writing by mail to: Steve Smith, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email here until 4:30 p.m. on April 6, 2016.

The Commission meets for its monthly meeting this Thursday morning, Feb. 4, in Baton Rouge.

Additionally, LDWF will collect public comment at public hearings to be held at the following locations:

Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Louisiana Ecological Services Field Office, 646 Cajundome Blvd., Suite 400, Lafayette;

Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the LSU Ag Center (next to Burton Coliseum, 7101 Gulf Hwy.), Lake Charles;

Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Dry Prong Community Center, 705 2nd St., Dry Prong;

Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. at the LDWF Monroe Office, 368 CenturyLink Dr., Monroe;

Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Alexandria Convention Hall, 915 3rd St., Alexandria;

Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at the LDWF Minden Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden.