Hunters report solid opening weekend

Heavy pressure appeared to slow action on Sunday

Louisiana duck hunters in the coastal and west zones who headed into their blinds for opening weekend reported seeing lots of birds — although heavy hunting pressure on Saturday seemed to make things more difficult on Sunday.

“Saturday the birds were plentiful,” said Capt. Nick Poe, with Big Lake Guide Service, who hunts near the marshes of Sweet Lake in Cameron Parish. “Sunday it slowed down quite a bit, and they weren’t nearly as cooperative.

“They didn’t really want to listen on Sunday. Saturday they liked everything I told them.”

Poe reported a nice bag, including teal, mallards, grays and widgeon.

“Really and truly, the weekend wasn’t bad at all considering the moon we’ve got right now, which I think in the long run will help us,” he said. “We’ll get some more birds on this moon.

“We should have some new birds show up, and it sounds like a pretty decent front is headed our way toward the end of the week, so it looks pretty good right now.”

Capt. Cody Obiol, with Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, had a similar report.

“Saturday was awesome as far as big ducks and teal, and a good mix of everything with the ducks cooperating,” Obiol said. “Sunday was a little slower, and we had to work a little harder.

“On Sunday, I had to move. I was set up on a spot to kill big ducks and they just wouldn’t cooperate. I had to go get in a little hole and kill teal.”

He also thought heavy pressure on Saturday contributed to tougher hunting on Sunday morning.

“There’s a ton of birds, a really good number down here. I just think between the boats and the shots, everywhere the ducks tried to go they got shot at, so they just stayed in the air,” Obiol said with a chuckle. “We’ve been jumping a lot of ducks way offshore.

“The sad part is it’s only the second day of the season and they’re already getting smart.”

In the Canaervon area, Jared Serigné said three of five blinds shot limits on Saturday, with teal making up most of the bag.

He found the going got tougher on Sunday, as well.

“The birds didn’t really want to work on Sunday. They were just looking for anywhere to get away from the hunting pressure,” Serigné said. “We didn’t get a limit on Sunday. It was clear the pressure had already changed the hunting …. But it’s game time now, so we just have to move around and scout them and find out where they want to be.

“You can’t just depend on your go-to spots anymore.”

Jared Hall, with Quack Heads Outfitters in Plaquemines Parish, also reported solid action on Saturday on the back side of Delacroix and down in Buras.

Overall, his hunters shot 86 birds over the weekend, mostly teal with some pintail, grays, widgeon and spoonies mixed in.

“I don’t think the full moon is helping us …,” Hall said. “It can help us or it can hurt us at the same time.

“They’re getting all that pressure on them and they can fly all night to find a place of refuge. It can bring in fresh birds overnight, but it can also push the birds we do have out.”

This weekend’s scheduled cool front, combined with hunting season opening in Arkansas on Saturday, could make for a good combination for Louisiana hunters, he said.

“Once they (Arkansas hunters) start busting on them next weekend, I think that will shove them down, too,” Hall said.

But Chris Champagne of New Iberia, who hunts in Pecan Island, reported extremely slow going on both days.

“We hunted seven or eight of us on Saturday and Sunday, and we got a total of seven birds all weekend,” Champagne said. “And that was no missing — that was just all the birds we shot.”

Champagne talked to hunters in Grand Chenier who reported limits there, but wondered if the late-summer flood could have affected conditions on his lease.

“Normally the grass is all over on top the water and the ducks love to come and feed on that,” Champagne said. “I’m not seeing that like I normally do, and I’ve noticed it since teal season.

“We don’t have nearly as much grass on our lease as we normally do. I think the high water may have hurt us on that.”

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and