Switch to ethanol great for La. deer hunters

“You … you … you … ninny!”

— MASH’s Father Mulcahy to Rizzo the cookPoor Rizzo. He thought he was being helpful by painstakingly cutting every kernel of corn away from the ears, and adding some powdered milk to whip up a batch of “creamed corn.”

But Father Mulcahy, Hawkeye and the rest of the 4077th had been growing the corn for months, lovingly nursing it in anticipation of the day they’d be able to eat it off the cobs, a childhood treat they had been deprived of in the hills of Korea.

If it’s possible for a priest to lust, Father Mulcahy certainly lusted after that corn on the cob. He couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into the swollen sweetness.

When Rizzo robbed him of that pleasure, Father John Francis Patrick Mulcahy called him the worst name he could think of.

But as dear as that corn was to the right reverend, it’s nothing compared to the value of corn in today’s commodities market.

Corn has traditionally sold in the $2.50 per bushel neighborhood, a decent price but not anything to make a farmer want to sell his soul to Green Giant.

But with export demand in the stratosphere and more and more talk in this campaign season about ethanol and biofuels, it may not be a coincidence that the predominant color of a fully grown ear of corn is gold.

Farmers are now getting upwards of $4 per bushel of corn, and it’s caused a marked shift in what’s being planted on Louisiana’s 3.5 million agricultural acres.

More than 700,000 of those acres, mostly in the fertile Delta area along the Mississippi River, have been planted in corn this year, according to David Lanclos, who serves as the soybean, corn and sorghum grain specialist for the LSU AgCenter. That’s up 100 percent over what was planted in 2006.

By way of contrast, only 330,000 acres were planted in cotton, which is a 50 percent decrease, Lanclos said.

That shift could have a profound impact in the health of wildlife, particularly deer, in an area that is already the richest for wildlife in the state, according to David Moreland of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

“The big deer will get even bigger,” he said.

Although deer will browse on young corn plants during lean times, the main benefit to the herd comes after the August harvest, when combines scatter waste grains across the fields.

“Our combines are much more efficient now, but you’ll always have some waste,” Lanclos said.

Deer hunters certainly don’t view it as “waste.”

“Corn is a carbohydrate, which deer really need in the fall,” Moreland said. “They’re basically using that as a substitute for the acorn mast.”

Which means hunters from Pointe Coupee to East Carroll will likely see bigger, fatter, healthier deer this season.

And it also means those of us who don’t have leases in the area will be more than happy to pay guest fees (hint, hint).

About Todd Masson 743 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.