The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) has incorporated 2,440 acres of riparian river bank property owned by the LDWF as well as state-owned water bottoms and islands of Little River into the existing Dewey W. Wills WMA.
Along with that addition to the WMA comes new rules and regulations that hunters need to be aware of and follow. This property is located in LaSalle Parish within the Catahoula Basin. The expanded WMA is bounded by the Rapides and LaSalle Parish line, the northern most bank of Little River and riverbank property of the Catahoula National Wildlife Refuge.
New boundaries are a result of a lengthy legal battle over ownership of parts of this area, which resulted in much of the Catahoula Lake being deemed private and the legal redesignation of it as a river.
Cpl. Doug Anderson, Jr. of the LDWF Region 3 office in Pineville confirmed the changes in boundaries and urged hunters to be aware of the regulations in this area for the upcoming waterfowl seasons in the WMA area.
“This is all new to hunters this year and it is important to understand what you can and can not do in the WMA, as well as where you can access the property legally,” he said. “You can find maps of the WMA on the LDWF website. The French Park Landing and the Diversion Canal Landing are two public access points. The Willow Springs year-round ATV trail is open, but for teal season, there are no marked trails open out into the lake. For big duck season, there will be four or five. They will be well marked.”
Check the regs
Anderson said if you plan to hunt the area and have questions, it’s a good idea to ask LDWF personnel or learn the regs before heading out to prevent possibly getting a citation.
“All of the WMA boundaries will be clearly marked with signage,” explained Anderson. “So there will be no question to anyone who is out there whose property they’re on.”
Visitors can not enter the area until 4 a.m. and ATVs must stay on clearly marked trails and they are not allowed into the water. Duck hunters must conclude their trips by 2 p.m. and permanent blinds and decoy spreads cannot be left on the water. Vehicles and boats using the WMA can not have modified exhausts. Hunting spots on the area are also first come, first served as well.
“You will not be able to claim a spot anymore on the WMA side,” said Anderson. “All of our wildlife management areas are open to the public. First come, first serve. You get there at 4 a.m. You launch your boat. You go get an available spot. Everybody gets an equal opportunity to get out there and enjoy the outdoors.”