A bird’s eye view of Highway 15

Dr. Daniel Raymond and his Highway 15 hunting buddies aren’t the only ones who think the area is legendary.

The man who probably sees more ducks and duck-hunting areas in the state than anyone else agrees.

“Starting at Hebert and up to Monroe, on both sides of Bayou Lafourche we can expect to see large concentrations of ducks and a scattering of geese by mid-November,” said Larry Reynolds, waterfowl study leader for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “Numbers increase into December, and the numbers of birds in some fields can be staggering. We also count large numbers in the more-open forested wetlands of Ouachita and Russell Sage WMAs, depending on flooding.

“It is one of the key locations on the Northeast Louisiana survey that rivals the best locations in coastal Southwest Louisiana. Concentrations can be even larger than on the coast because of how birds will stack up in certain fields.”

Reynolds conducts aerial surveys of the entire state, and he spends a good bit of time in the Highway 15 area. His birds-eye view gives him a unique perspective.

He said the Northeast Louisiana aerial survey is pretty variable, depending on flooding in the backwater habitats and agricultural fields.

But when it’s good, it is amazing.

“We see all species of ducks in that region because there are all types of habitats,” Reynolds said. “We see lots of pintails, gadwalls, greenwings, shovelers, mallards and ring-necked ducks on the flooded ag fields — often all of those species at the same time.

“Ring-necks and a few scaup and canvasbacks will use the deeper reservoirs, but, as hunters know, any duck can use any open water at any time as escape cover once the shooting starts. Gadwalls and mallards tend to dominate the forested wetlands.”

He said the entire Highway 15 area offers unlimited options for duck hunters.

“Because of the complex of wetlands, birds can feed, loaf, and/or escape hunting pressure in different nearby habitats,” Reynolds said. “Mallards, especially, are found in smaller groups in a wider variety of habitats than other species, where typically if you see greenwings or ring-necks, they will be in a large group.”

About Kinny Haddox 597 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.