LWF Commission adopts Notices of Intent for hunting seasons, regs and WMA rules

Public comment to be held at all Commission meetings through April, as well as six public hearings in February across the state

A brand new Deer Area 5 in the Atchafalaya Basin and the early release of duck season dates for the 2016-17 hunting season were just a few of the changes in a Notice of Intent adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge.

The Commission adopted Notices of Intent for the 2016-17 hunting seasons, 2016-17 general and Wildlife Management Area hunting seasons and rules and regulations, 2017 general and WMA turkey hunting season rules and regulations plus the 2016-17 migratory bird hunting season rules and regs.

To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting seasons, click here.

Proposed changes, which will ultimately be finalized by Commission vote later this summer, include:

Early release of waterfowl season dates for the 2016-17 season. Hunters in the Coastal and West Zone would both open Nov. 12 – Dec. 4 for the first split, then wrap up with the second split Dec. 17 – Jan. 22.

Duck hunters in the East Zone would open on Nov. 19 and go through Dec. 4, then have a second split Dec. 17 – Jan. 29.

Incorporation of former Deer Area 5 into Deer Area 1, and the creation of a new Deer Area 5 within the levee protection system of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Implementation of mandatory hunter check-in for either-sex firearms deer hunts on several WMAs, including Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Big Lake, Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Grassy Lake, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage and Sherburne.

Modification of allowable weapons to be carried for protection purposes on WMAs, which will expand allowances on such weapons to be more consistent with changes to Title 56 last year.

Expansion on allowance for personal water craft on WMAs, to allow such on all WMAs rather than on a select few during a specified time of year.

Elimination of February hog dog season on Boeuf, Dewey W. Wills and Richard K. Yancey WMAs.

Creation of a limited access area within Dewey W. Wills WMA.

Elimination of a limited access area within Salvador/Timken WMA.

Benchmark deer season closure for Maurepas Swamp WMA.

Prohibition on the operation of mud boats and air cooled propulsion engines after 2 p.m. from September-January on Pass-a-Loutre WMA.

Change of youth turkey lottery hunts on Bodcau and Jackson Bienville WMAs to open youth turkey hunts.

Addition of squirrel and rabbit hunting with dogs during February on Thistlethwaite WMA.

Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings from February 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 to ssmith@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m. on April 6, 2016.

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.