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Hopefully, many of you received an e-mail today that includes a link to the 2016-17 Louisiana Game Harvest Survey. It is a legitimate survey, conducted by the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources for LDWF and is an important part of our continued cooperative research into methods that will improve our harvest estimates in Louisiana.

Specifically, the 2015 Waterfowl Hunter Survey utilized 2 random mail-outs, an open web, and an e-mail sampling frame. We found we got the exact same answers from the traditional random mail-out and the e-mail sampling frames, but the e-mail survey was a small fraction of the cost. (the open-web surveys continue to be biased toward more active and successful hunters and thus over-estimate days hunted and ducks killed).

So we are expanding our work to the annual Big and Small Game Harvest Survey, which is mailed out to a random sample of 6% of all Louisiana hunters. Those mail-out surveys were sent a couple of weeks ago, and today, we sent out the e-mail portion of the survey. Comparison of the results from these 2 surveys will inform future survey methods in an effort to get the necessary harvest data in the most cost-effective way.

I hope y'all will participate if selected.

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager

May 16, 2017 at 2:54pm

Hopefully, many of you received an e-mail today that includes a link to the 2016-17 Louisiana Game Harvest Survey. It is a legitimate survey, conducted by the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources for LDWF and is an important part of our continued cooperative research into methods that will improve our harvest estimates in Louisiana.

Specifically, the 2015 Waterfowl Hunter Survey utilized 2 random mail-outs, an open web, and an e-mail sampling frame. We found we got the exact same answers from the traditional random mail-out and the e-mail sampling frames, but the e-mail survey was a small fraction of the cost. (the open-web surveys continue to be biased toward more active and successful hunters and thus over-estimate days hunted and ducks killed).

So we are expanding our work to the annual Big and Small Game Harvest Survey, which is mailed out to a random sample of 6% of all Louisiana hunters. Those mail-out surveys were sent a couple of weeks ago, and today, we sent out the e-mail portion of the survey. Comparison of the results from these 2 surveys will inform future survey methods in an effort to get the necessary harvest data in the most cost-effective way.

I hope y'all will participate if selected.

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager

May 16, 2017 at 2:52pm

At the last 2 Commission meetings, there have been amendments to the proposed 2016-17 waterfowl season dates.

1) 7 days were added to the goose seasons bringing white and white-fronted goose seasons to 88 days:

Both north and south zones: Nov. 5 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 17 - Feb. 12 for snows and specks.

Same for Canada geese but the closing date is Jan. 31.

2) In a surprise move today, the proposed West Zone duck season dates were changed to:

Nov. 12 - 27 and Dec. 17 - Jan. 29 to go along with:
Nov. 12 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 17 - Jan. 22 in the Coastal Zone
Nov. 19 - Dec. 4 and Dec. 17 - Jan. 29 in the East Zone.

This is the last month for public comment, and the final decision will be made at the April LWF Commission meeting.

March 03, 2016 at 9:51pm

If anyone is interested, the power-point I gave to the Commission on August 6 with the preliminary results of the 2015 Louisiana Waterfowl Hunter Survey has been posted on the LDWF website at:

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items

August 10, 2015 at 6:44pm

We will be closing the survey tonight at midnight. Thanks to everyone that participated! As of yesterday we have received:

463 from the mail-out surveys (18.5% response rate with some still coming in)
202 from the postcard mail-outs (8.1% response rate)
5,431 from the e-mail contacts (21.7% response rate)
1,720 from the open web survey

So like I indicated earlier, we have more data from more individual hunters than ever before thanks to the e-mail contacts, but the response rates are disappointing.

June 30, 2015 at 11:58am

Thanks very much to all hunters that have participated! As of a little over a week ago, it looked like we are going to have the highest sample size we have ever had but the lowest response rate.

We had about:

400 responses from 2,500 mail-out surveys (16%)

180 responses from 2,500 mail-out post-cards (7.2%)

4,700 responses from nearly 25,000 e-mails (18.8%)

800 responses to the open web survey.

If you have received a survey, post-card, or e-mail from LSU regarding the survey, please respond however instructed. If you haven't, please take the survey at the LDWF website. You'll find a banner with blue-winged teal on the front page at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/

We will close the survey on June 15.

June 06, 2015 at 5:24pm

The 2015 Waterfowl Hunter Survey was launched earlier this week. We sent out 3,000 mail-in surveys to randomly selected hunters, 3,000 postcards to another random sample with a link to do the survey on-line, and we sent e-mails to another 20,000-plus waterfowl hunters who had e-mail addresses in the LDWF hunting-license database. We are strongly urging all hunters that receive those surveys to complete them according to the instructions received. Those surveys provide the most representative and scientifically-valid information.

We will send out a press release on Friday announcing the survey and post a banner link on the front page of the LDWF website so that all other hunters not selected for one of those 3 survey modes can participate in the survey.

Although the open-web survey is a biased sample because participants tend to be more avid, dedicated hunters that hunt more and kill more than average, our research from doing mail-out and open-web surveys concurrently has shown striking similarity in responses to 'attitude' or 'satisfaction' questions. Consequently, the open-web surveys have been incredibly valuable in increasing participation and information for evaluating support for potential management and regulatory actions.

We hope that all waterfowl hunters receiving a survey via USPS mail or e-mail will complete those surveys, and any hunter NOT selected for one of those surveys will go to the LDWF website and take the open-web survey.

April 30, 2015 at 10:48am

I got a couple e-mails regarding comments I made about money raised from Louisiana Duck stamps only being used in Louisiana. There is some confusion regarding the money we send to Canada every year to do breeding habitat work. So I thought I would describe the source and use of some particular waterfowl conservation funds.

1. LOUISIANA STATE DUCK STAMP or LICENSE

In the past, the 'stamp' was your license to hunt ducks in Louisiana (along with a basic hunting license). When we changed to point-of-sale licensing, the 'stamp' became a printed line on your license receipt, and you had to make an effort to get the actual stamp from LDWF at no charge. A few years ago, the 'stamp' and the 'license' were legally de-coupled and became separate things. You buy a duck 'license' at your license vendor for $5.50 (or $25.00 for non-residents), and if you want the actual 'stamp', you have to pay another $5.50/$25.00 to LDWF to get it.

That money can be used for:

(1) To acquire lands in Louisiana which have the primary and direct purpose of conserving,
restoring, and enhancing migratory waterfowl habitat.
(2) To carry out migratory waterfowl habitat restoration and enhancement projects on lands
under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
(3) To contribute to the protection of the coastal areas of the state from deterioration and which will enhance the productivity of the coastal marshes.
(4) To acquire lands for wildlife and game management.
(5) To make grants, not to exceed ten percent of the program revenues, to the North American
Waterfowl Habitat Conservation Plan for the purpose of acquiring, developing, or maintaining
migratory waterfowl areas within Louisiana.
(6) To cover the administrative costs associated with the implementation of the Louisiana Duck
License, Stamp, and Print Program, not to exceed five percent of the program revenues.

2. BREEDING WATERFOWL HABITAT STATUTORY DEDICATION

This is the basic hunting license money (not ducks stamp or duck license) that has traditionally gone to Canada for breeding habitat work.

Revised Statute 56:104(A)(1)(b) states:
An amount equal to ten percent of the fees collected from the sale of hunting licenses shall be dedicated by the commission to the development and preservation of breeding grounds for migratory waterfowl, the funds to be expended for such purposes through Ducks Unlimited, Inc. or under the direction of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its discretion.

3. FEDERAL DUCK STAMPS

LDWF doesn't get any of this money. It is earmarked for the purchase or permanent easements on wetland habitat for protection within the National Wildlife Refuge system. It can't be used for management, research, public outreach, etc. It is specifically used for permanent protection of wetland habitats for migratory birds.

September 18, 2014 at 9:59am

LDWF proposed season dates for the upcoming regular duck season Thursday for public comment. You can see those dates on the front page or at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/37892

Please send me an e-mail with your comments: Lreynolds@wlf.la.gov

Please contact me even if all you say is 'Coastal/East/West zone is OK by me'. One of the problems with proposing dates for public comment without a structured hunter-opinion survey tool is that typically on those with strong objections contact us.

I will compile all comments and present them to the Commission at their August meeting prior to them making the final season-date decision.

July 04, 2014 at 10:23pm

As many of you know, there has been some controversy over the timing of the Youth Waterfowl Hunt days the past few years. As a result, and a convincing argument that many clubs would provide opportunity after the season that they could not provide before because of available water and ducks, the Youth Waterfowl Hunt days were split in the East and West Zones.

Consequently, there can be Youth hunts this Saturday in the West Zone and Saturday, February 1 in the East Zone.

I have not been supportive of post-season youth hunts for a variety of reasons, but I certainly want to provide that opportunity in as many places as possible. So please let me know where and by whom youth hunts are being provided after the season closes, especially in the East Zone.

Thanks,

Larry Reynolds
Lreynolds@wlf.la.gov

January 23, 2014 at 8:19pm

The survey is winding down, and the banner has been removed from the front page of the LDWF website ( http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/ ) but it is still available through June 1 at:

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/migratory-and-waterfowl

Thanks very much to all of you that participated in the survey: I really appreciate your input. You seem to be a rare breed as to this point I've received only 1093 responses to the 6,400 surveys we mailed out, and about 1,300 responded to the web-based survey.

If you haven't already taken the survey, please do so before June 1. Even if you have no issues with current management and have no opinion on the proposed changes .... let us know. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will decide on zones and zone boundaries at their June 7 meeting, and will decide on season dates at their August 2 meeting.

I've only had a quick look at the statewide summaries, and as you know, it's the regional responses in areas where the proposed changes will affect hunters that I'm most interested in. But here are a couple of interesting statewide results:

Average number of ducks killed last season: Mail-out - 35.9, Internet - 75.1
Satisfaction with 2011/12 waterfowl season: Mail-out - 54% either satified or very satisfied, Internet - 59%

That 54% satisfaction in the mail-out survey compares to only 9% in the 2005 survey and 26% in the 2010 survey.

May 14, 2012 at 4:20pm

LDWF is conducting another survey of Louisiana's waterfowl hunters asking for opinions on waterfowl hunting zones, season dates, youth hunting dates, and some questions on satisfaction with past zones/splits, satisfaction with the 2011/12 waterfowl season, and Catahoula Lake.

The proposed zone boundaries for the new 3-zone options will affect hunters in southeast Louisiana around Lake Pontchartrain and in the lower Atchafalaya basin. I think a lot of southeast Louisiana waterfowlers frequent this site, and I'd like to get as much feedback as possible.

We put out a press release on Friday at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/35152

Like the 2010 Hunter Opinion survey, we are mailing surveys to randomly-selected hunters, AND we have web-enabled the survey so every interested hunter can participate. If you weren't selected to receive the mail-out survey, you can take the web-enabled survey (it's the exact same survey) at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/migratory-and-waterfowl

At that link, you can not only find the survey, but there is also reference material that explains what we are proposing. There is a link to a power-point presentation that outlines the considerations in making decisions about zones, splits, and season dates, as well as results from past surveys. There is also a link to the maps of our current 2-zone system and 2 new 3-zone options along with precise descriptions of the zone boundaries and what we are trying to accomplish with those changes.

Agree or disagree with the proposals, I'd like to hear from you. I won't be collecting responses from website postings or e-mails this time like I did in July 2011. That was too overwhelming and time consuming. I still welcome any of your comments, but please participate with the mail-out (if selected) or on-line surveys so I can get some idea of predominant opinions in each region of the state.

Thanks very much,

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader

March 12, 2012 at 12:02pm

The LWF Commission proposed duck season dates at yesterday's meeting and we'd like to get public comments. The press release can be found at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/34293

West Zone: Nov. 12 - Dec. 4, and Dec. 17 - Jan. 22 with the Youth Hunt Dec. 10-11.
East Zone: Nov. 19 - Nov. 27, and Dec. 10 - Jan. 29 with the Youth Hunt Dec. 3-4.

Changes from last year are:
1) Moved the Youth Hunts from the weekend before the opening day to the weekend in the split for both zones.
2) Changed dates (moved the split) in the East Zone so that there are more hunt days in December and fewer in November.
3) The staggered zone dates allow 7 extra days of hunting for hunters who use both zones.

I would like to get as much public feedback as possible whether you like or dislike the changes in season date or the placement of the Youth Hunt. So I'm asking for your feedback and for you to forward this request to your hunting acquaintances for their comments.

All comments can be sent to me, and I will compile them into a report to the Commission prior to the August 4 meeting when waterfowl season dates will be set.

Thanks very much,

Larry A. Reynolds
Waterfowl Study Leader
Wildlife Division, LDWF
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Lreynolds@wlf.la.gov

July 08, 2011 at 9:47pm

Tiger Chapter Annual Spring Banquet
When: April 13, 2011 (Wednesday); Doors open at 5:30 PM
Location: 4-H mini Farm at LSU

Enjoy great food, hear live music performed by The 484 South Band, and participate in various raffles as well as the live and silent auctions.
Student Tickets: $35-single $60-couple
Non-student tickets: $50-single $90-couple
Ticket price includes annual DU membership, magazine, and banquet.

Map of 4-H Mini Farm Location:
http://www.lsu.edu/campus/maps/MINI02.html

We'll raffle or auction several trips at this year's event, including:

1) a 2-day duck, goose, and Sandhill Crane hunting trip for 2 (at least 1 must be a student) at Hammer Down Hunting Club in SE Texas
2) a 1 day duck hunting trip for 2 (at least 1 must be a student) in Avoyelles Parish - flooded timber or flooded impoundment
3) another 1 day duck hunting trip for 2 (for anyone) in Avoyelles Parish - flooded timber or flooded impoundment
4) Duck banding trip for Wood Ducks
5) Beach fishing adventure for Redfish in the surf
6) Crawfish boil for 10

We'll raffle or auction several guns including:

1) DU Gun of the Year - Beretta AL3901 12 gauge shotgun
2) Weatherby Vanguard Bolt-Action Rifle; 30-06
3) Remington M887 12 gauge pump shotgun
4) Rossi 2 Barrel Matched pair 20 gauge/.22 caliber
5) Mossberg 535 12 gauge pump shotgun
6)TriStar Viper G2 12 gauge auto shotgun

Visit our event page on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=209939562353205

Purchase tickets online at:
https://www.ducksystem.com/cgibin/www.cgi?tp=IS&pg=SPW048X&isn=5&kp=LA00852011001&ex=TICKETS

Visit The 484 South Band's facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-484-South-Band/58195289836

For tickets or available information, contact:
Bruce Davis, bdavi29@tigers.lsu.edu, 318 381-1997

April 06, 2011 at 4:53pm

As most of you know, I've been collecting public comment on the zones and splits configuration because we get the chance to change our structure every 5 years and there 'may' be some additional options available this year.

Anyone that hasn't commented and wants to can e-mail me at: Lreynolds@wlf.la.gov

Along with zones and splits, I've received LOTS of comments about season dates, length of the split, bag limits, etc. Of course, bag limits are controlled by the USFWS, and we can make changes in season dates and split length/placement every year. My primary focus is the structure of the zones and splits. But I got a well-written e-mail today that nicely represents the most numerous comment I get ........ 'we want a later season.' You guy may already know this stuff, but I thought I'd share the e-mail and my response:

E-mail:

I'm writing to voice my opinion for the upcoming season. I favor the season being pushed back. A later opening date as well as later closing date. My reasoning is here in central Louisiana we don't have enough water for the first split as the rains and cold weather always come later. We just begin to kill mallards about the last 2 weeks of the season.

Thanks,

XXXX XXXXX

Avoyelles Parish

My response:

[I]Thanks very much for your input, XXXX. I will include it in my report to the LWF Commission.

Without a doubt, the most numerous comment I get is the desire for a later closing date. Consequently, I feel obligated to make sure that everyone knows that LDWF runs the season in the East Zone as late as the USFWS allows. Hunters in southern states have been pushing for a later closing date since at least 1960, and probably much longer than that. Only in 1997, when Senator Trent Lott forced a 'framework extension' by attaching it to an Appropriations bill, did we get a later closing date (the last Sunday in January instead of the Sunday closest to January 20th). Of course, that same legislation allowed the northern states hunt a week earlier. I just want you to know that a later closing date has very little chance of happening despite how popular it is with our hunters.

I appreciate your contacting me.

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader[/I]

March 25, 2011 at 11:16am

I would like your opinion on zones and splits.

As you probably know, we set zones and splits every 5 years. Whatever we choose, we are stuck with for that time.

In the past, the USFWS has allowed us to choose between 1) 3 zones with straight seasons, 2) 2 zones with split seasons, or 3) a statewide season (no zones) with 2 splits (3 season segements). This year, it looks like the USFWS will offer: 1) 4 zones with straight seasons, 2) 3 zones with split seasons, or 3) a statewide season (no zones) with 2 splits (3 season segments).

Of course, we can choose anything more conservative …… like 2 zones with split seasons (our current structure) or 3 zones with straight seasons or a statewide season with 1 split.

One option that was NOT approved was 2 zones with 2 splits (3 season segments). That is NOT an option.

It is my opinion that we are using zones and splits about as effectively as we can with the current 2 zones with split seasons while still allowing us adequate flexibility should the regulations be restricted to 45 or even 30 day seasons. But I would like to hear the opinions of other hunters in addition to the feedback I already have from the 2005 and 2010 hunter-opinion surveys.

I'd also appreciate your passing this request around to anyone that might want to comment.

Please send your comments to me at Lreynolds@wlf.la.gov

Thanks,

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader

January 13, 2011 at 3:59pm

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/32760

I tried to post the press release, but I don't know how without running everything together. So please see the advisory on the LDWF website.

September 03, 2010 at 10:37pm

Waterfowl season has been closed for a couple of months, but hopefully the memories are still fresh. LDWF, LSU, and Delta Waterfowl are asking for your participation in a waterfowl hunter survey that was released last week and will be soliciting responses until May 31. This is a cooperative project to gather information on hunting activity and success, satisfaction with hunting opportunity, and regulatory preferences on things such as zones, splits, and season structure. The data will be used to inform decisions on waterfowl management plans within the state and potential regulations changes at the Flyway level.

This survey has 2 components: 1) a mail-out survey to 2,500 randomly selected waterfowl hunters, and 2) the exact same survey posted on the internet for ALL waterfowl hunters to participate. One of the research questions is to compare the responses from the 2 different sampling techniques. The management goal is to cost-effectively get opinions from as many hunters as possible. In the first week, we had just over 150 hunters participate on the internet survey, and I'd like to get closer to 2,000 by May 31. We have about 70,000 active waterfowl hunters in Louisiana, so there are lots of potential participants.

So I'm asking for y'all to participate in the survey, AND to pass the link around to all of your duck-hunting friends and family asking them to participate too. It takes about 10-15 minutes to complete, is completely confidential, and will provide information to help guide waterfowl management decisions.

The link to the survey is: http://www.survey.lsu.edu/waterfowlsurvey/

There is also a flash banner on the front page of our website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/ It's the second picture in the series, and you can click on it and go to the survey.

I'd really appreciate your help in spreading the word about this survey and providing your experience, satisfaction, and opinions to inform future management decisions.

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader

April 17, 2010 at 7:57am
A comment titled: LARRY JUST STOP! in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Jcalla4 hit the nail on the head. In my e-mail posted above, I specifically requested YOU (Josh Goins) to determine if YOU saw me as an asset or a roadblock to what YOU wanted to accomplish with the Flyway Federation of Louisiana. I wrote it, and I meant it about the potential value of an engaged state waterfowl association, and my lack of interest or power to keep it from happening.

However, I also agree with jcalla4's observation that many on this thread see me as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

February 05 at 1:25pm
A comment titled: The numbers come from the Parts Collection Survey in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Every wing sent in to the Parts Collection, which I described above and included a photo of the envelope, includes a date and a nearest town. So we know when that bird was killed and where. From that it was pretty simple to summarize the number of wings killed in which week of the season, from what zone (all old West Zone), and which region. SW was Cameron, Vermilion, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, Acadia Parishes, we left St. Mary out for there to be a gap, and SE was Terrebonne, Lafourche, Plaquemines, Jefferson, and St. Bernard. NW was those parishes north of Calcasieu/Jeff Davis up to the AR line. What that chart shows is the proportion of wings submitted by hunters selected for the Parts Survey in Louisiana over those 10 years when the season opened the second Saturday in November, ran for 23 days, split for 12 days, then ran until the week before the end of the framework.

But I was concerned that most hunters quit hunting during the late season, and THAT was the reason fewer wings were submitted during the second split. So we wanted to look at how wing submissions per hunter looked over the course of the season. To do that we needed more data and looked at 10 more recent years for the entire state (not just old West Zone) for every day over the course of the season. For each hunter that submits wings, we know whether he submitted 1, 2, 3 ..... or 6 on a particular date. So we summarized the average number of wings submitted per hunter for ever day of a 60 day season. What we found was the average number of wings submitted by hunter fell from about 3.9 to about 2.9 over the course of the season.

These are not new analyses. We used them extensively in discussions about expanded zones and splits options and season date selections in 2011-12 and again 2 years ago.

So why would thousands of Louisiana hunters submitting wings from tens of thousands of dead ducks give us flat out false results?

You also realize that we do bag checks during the season at 4 SE coastal WMAs. I don't have that summary here, but those data also show greater per-hunter success in the early vs late season.

Now that doesn't mean we couldn't or shouldn't hunt later. Those graphics might look exactly the same if we opened the season in early December rather than early November. But what it does show conclusively is that we kill a lot of ducks in November.

February 05 at 1:07pm
A comment titled: How can this stuff be legal? in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Hollow Point wrote: 'HOW IN THE FU-- CAN IT BE LEGAL TO MANIPULATE A BIRD FROM MIGRATING USING ICE EATERS OR FLOODING UNHARVESTED GRAIN FIELDS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HUNTING??.??? Larry Reynolds explain. And I don't care about the 30,000 decoys you counted on your Ariel survey'

I expect because there is no demonstrated negative effect on the duck population such that there has not been a succesful effort to make them illegal. There is no distinction between a new reservoir or a cooling-water lake for a power plant or residential pond/lake development which might change local migration patterns and the actions of hunters to do the same. With regard to growing grain for the sole purpose of hunting ...... that is precisely what habitat management is about: un-natural manipulation of soil and water to produce a crop that we hope will attract ducks to the gun. Moist-soil seeds via moist-soil management, acorns via green-tree reservoir management, or SAVs via weirs and water-control structure management are all examples of un-natural manipulation to provide a food source solely for the purpose of hunting. Growing a crop of grain is similar, and thus it is legal. That is old news to people on this forum, but it is a foundation of current baiting laws.

If there is no population foundation for making these things illegal then the issue is distribution of the kill, and we've already discussed that information and how some of you don't believe it.

February 05 at 11:21am
A comment titled: I can't participate as often as I'd like in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Like I wrote, I exited this discussion when told I needed to ignore all the charts and graphs and data and do the bidding of those expressing a particular view on this thread. I can't do that.

But I got a couple of e-mails about this thread, and since I've been down sick and don't give a flip about pro football, I read through the thread and found lots of direct questions and requests to me. I've tried to address a number of them, and still have at least 1 to go. I'm sorry if my timing was bad for you, or forced you to acknowledge things you had said before we talked on the phone, or if my responses create difficulty in moving forward with what you intend. I'm just providing information and my perspective. Unfortunately, I can't do that regularly, which many may see as a blessing.

February 05 at 10:50am
A comment titled: No worries, Josh in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Like I wrote, people say negative things about me all the time, and oftentimes they are deserved.

February 05 at 10:31am
A comment titled: We ARE utilizing weevils in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

I don't know what you are referring to. LDWF is using weevils all over the state. It is under the purview of our Office of Fisheries, and they are putting out weevils, monitoring weevil density, and having success in some areas. But the problem is far larger than our current capacity, and weevils aren't a sure-fire cure, as evidenced at my lease and a number of SW LA marshes that are constantly being re-infested through hydrologic connections. There is a Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) project in the process to greatly expand the availability of weevils for combating salvinia. CWPPRA can bring big $$ to the problem.

February 05 at 10:10am

Larry Reynolds
[Reply] [Reply All] [Forward]
Actions
To:
Joshua Goins ‎[Josh.Goins@FlywayFederationLouisiana.com]‎
Sent Items
Monday, February 05, 2018 8:59 AM
1) You said below, 'I haven't said one thing about you negative', and that was NOT true. Whether before or after we spoke on the phone, you had done precisely that. Saying negative things about me is not a big deal. It happens all the time, and oftentimes it's deserved. But don't deny it.

2) I don't have the power or desire to keep you, or anyone else, from forming a state waterfowl organization. One thing I think you and I completely agree on is the potential value of such an organization such as those in California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and others.

3) My job is to work with and for all hunters of this state using the best available information. I will continue to do that.

Take care,

Larry Reynolds
LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager

February 05 at 10:01am
A comment titled: Salvinia project with Delta in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

Did Bryan tell you that salvinia project was initiated with LDWF, and that we provided $60,000 in duck stamp money to fund it?

A past Commission member, Julie Hebert, actually deserves the credit. She insisted that we do a cooperative project with Delta after she cast the deciding vote to give 100% of our statutory funding obligated to the breeding grounds to Ducks Unlimited in 2015. So we had a series of meetings with Delta to discuss a variety of projects, and the ponds to provide a source of weevils to combat salvinia infestation was the decided project.

February 05 at 9:51am
A comment titled: Email exchange with Josh Goins in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

I sent you another response this morning, before seeing this. I think it makes clear my intentions.

February 05 at 9:39am
A comment titled: Wishin I was Fishin - Maurepas, Pontchartrain Basin in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

In the November, 2017 aerial survey report at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/aerial-waterfowl-surveys , I included an older graphic of the coastal survey transects. I often get questions and comments about local areas, so I thought it would be beneficial for hunters to see exactly where we fly and to understand that our goal is a large-scale estimate, which sometimes doesn't lend itself to smaller-scale examination. Our coastal transects don't extend into much of the area in Maurpas/Pontchartrain, probably because it was mostly forested when the survey was implemented and it's tough to count birds in forested wetlands. So I can't provide quantitative comparisons for un-surveyed area, which is much of the area you outlined.

However, Maurepas swamp specifically, and the coastal forested wetlands of SE LA are probably the starkest examples of habitat degradation over the past 20-30 years, and a pretty well-known story since it is where the 'Duckmen of Louisiana' was filmed with Phil Robertson and Warren Coco deftly bringing mallards, gadwalls, wigeon and other species to the gun. That specific area today is a solid mat of salvinia with a community of sedges growing on it, and it attracts few ducks. That might be one reason LDWF has been given so much land in that region.

February 05 at 9:34am
A comment titled: Re: My Opinion on no ducks in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

If I remember right, the GPS/GSM telemetry units on the white-fronts are about $4,000 each plus monthly costs to get the data. VHF units are much cheaper but you have to have people and trucks and planes to relocate those birds, so you don't get data from birds that move long distances out of your study area, and the overall cost may be more expensive than satellite or cell-tower monitoring.

Phil Robertson and I discussed this exact issue back in the mid-2000's when he and George Franklin were trying to do a pen-reared mallard release in NE LA. I showed him data from a recently-completed mallard radio-telemetry study done in NE LA, where we trapped mallards on Upper Ouachita NWR ...... one of those 'federal bed and breakfasts' set up so that mallard ducks don't ever have to face hunters. They can just go from refuge to refuge. Except that hunters in NE LA and SE AR somehow killed 23% of those mallards we patterned, captured, and marked on an inviolate refuge. Given that the harvest rate on banded hen mallards from the breeding grounds over the course of the entire season up and down the entire Flyway is only 8-9%, how were we able to kill 23% of the ducks captured and radio-marked on a NWR in NE Louisiana if refuges are keeping mallards from hunters? The fact is, they don't.

Every high-class duck club maintains a refuge area. They don't do that to reduce the quality of their duck hunting. There is ongoing debate, and probably always will be, about whether refuge acreage keeps hunters from killing ducks or keeps ducks in a broad area that would otherwise be run out from hunting pressure, thus increasing hunting success. My colleagues in KY tell me it is one way for geese but another for ducks, and they are increasing the amount of previous refuge habitat they are hunting for ducks (since Canadas are no longer migrating there in the same numbers as in the past).

With very few exceptions, NWRs are limited by law to hunting only 40% of their total area, but I don't believe anything is stopping them from opening at least that full 40% to hunting, and LDWF has been pushing them to expand hunting opportunities for a number of years. Whether that acreage can be swapped back and forth within a hunting season, I don't know, but I expect that would be a substantial burden. We can't keep people out of new LAAs on some of our WMAs when it changes for an entire season or number of years; I can't imagine what a hassle it would be to change it within a season.

February 04 at 9:08pm
A comment titled: Why do birds show up after the season? in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

We used to do February aerial surveys, which showed birds don't migrate into the state after the season closes; they redistribute. That is one reason we discontinued February aerial surveys. Hunting stops, ag fields are drained, and ducks redistribute.

I got the data last week from the NE LA survey, which was flown the Thursday before the season closed in the East Zone. Observers noted that many fields that were flooded in December had already been drained and there was ongoing drainage in all surveyed areas of NE LA. I've already received 1 call from a landowner that said ducks just showed up in his swamp. I expect there is a relationship.

Of course, without marked birds, it is impossible to determine exactly where birds come from. There may indeed be movement from the north, or from the south, but past aerial surveys suggest it is a redistribution.

February 04 at 8:24pm
A comment titled: Frameworks and State hunting dates in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

The USFWS sets the earliest day we can open, the latest day we can close, how many days we can hunt, the bag limit, and the boundaries on zones and splits. Within those 'framework' regulations, every state in the Flyway can set whatever dates they want, and attempt to do it to maximize their opportunity to kill as many ducks as possible. Since you mention Nebraska, their late-season dates occur on their river systems, where they still have open water and thus still have ducks. Some of the northern states, like Wisconsin, set a late season to take advantage of sea ducks on the Great Lakes.

Our seasons are set for the same reasons, and we have very good hunting success early in the season. Look at the hunting diary I posted above. You have also seen the 2001-2010 harvest summary, at time of consistent season dates, which I did on the old West Zone divided by SE, SW, and NW regions. In all of those regions, over 50% of our season kill was made during the first 23 days of the season. I've also shown a daily kill graphic showing that our kill per hunter declines throughout the season. I found those graphics and attached them. The point is Louisiana kills ducks early in the season.

We are not allowed to hunt into February because of the framework regulations set by the USFWS. Those are based on biological information collected over a number of years.

First we have to accept the concept that ducks don't come here to provide targets for you to kill; they come to accomplish important tasks necessary to maintain the population. They have to regain body condition for the spring migration, they need to pair (dabbling ducks), and they need to initiate pre-basic molt. For them to do those things we have to stop shooting at them.

First, we have done many radio-telemetry studies ..... mallards, pintails, scaup, gadwalls, etc. ..... and what we have found is that if a birds survives to mid-January, then it survives the winter. It doesn't starve, get killed by a raptor, hit a power-line or anything else. Hunters are the only source of mortality after mid-January, so we KNOW that late harvest is shooting into our breeding stock. Second, there is a cost of a paired female losing her mate late in the season. Ducks pair on the wintering grounds because females are limited (there are more males) and the males pair so they can breed. In exchange, the male allows the females to feed without harassment from other males. He takes on those costs so he can mate with a hen that is in the best physical condition possible. At least one study has shown that females that suffer late-season mate-loss undergo physiological stress and lose body condition until another pair-bond can be established and thus has lower reproductive success.

Lastly, there is growing concern that late-harvest may target birds moving north, not migrants from the south. We've known for many years (early-90's) that pintails move back north, after being captured in Louisiana in October, long before the season ends. Some of you know that we have white-fronts with telemetry units. In the prior 2 years, over half the birds caught in SW LA moved north, mostly into AR, during the season. This year, most of them stayed here, but 1 moved into southern Illinois, then recently moved into Indiana. My colleague in IN flew his last aerial survey week before last, and he saw a big influx of white-fronts and pintails. IN hunters think they came from the north, but they didn't. BTW, the overwhelming majority of birds he counted were on a cooling water lake of a local power-plant.

Those are the foundations of the latest end-date for duck hunting. We expanded that framework in 2002 so that we can shoot a week later and the northern states can shoot a week earlier. As you saw in Paul Yakupzacks 'Demise of Ducks', he considers that a bad thing. Two things I'm sure of ....... hunting a week later didn't hurt the duck population and didn't improve our hunting success. The Lower MS Flyway states are pushing an effort to expand the federal framework to allow us to hunt until January 31 every year (regardless of what day of the week that is), which I think the USFWS will allow, but hunting in February is not on the table.

February 04 at 8:13pm
A comment titled: Why 107 days in Pacific Flyway but only 60 here? in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

The Flyways are different in the number of ducks and the number of hunters, at least for mallards. The USFWS knows they have no control over where mallards are going to be killed within a particular Flyway, so their concept of 'fair' is that all states in each Flyway have the same number of days and the same bag limit for ducks. But because the Flyways are different in hunter numbers and ducks, they use banding data to determine the season length and bag limit. Specifically, the goal is to kill about 12% of the banded adult male mallards every year. Because the Pacific Flyway has lots of ducks but relatively few hunters, it takes those hunters about 107 days to kill 12% of the banded male mallards. Conversely, the Mississippi Flyway has lots of ducks but lots of hunters; it takes us about 60 days to kill that same 12% of the banded male mallards.

February 04 at 7:45pm
A comment titled: Re: My Opinion on no ducks in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

The harvest data come from 2 surveys: the Questionnaire and Parts surveys.

1) When you register with HIP, you become part of a database from which the USFWS selects a sample, and sends those hunters a 'Waterfowl Hunting Record' to record every hunt made during the season. I was selected for the Questionnaire Survey this year and have attached my form. About 1,500 hunters are selected for this survey in LA each year. From this survey, the USFWS estimates the number of active hunters, days hunted and ducks killed.

2) From the hunters who participated in the Questionnaire survey the prior year and reported killing at least 1 duck or goose, another sample is selected and those hunters are asked to submit a wing from every duck they kill and the tail from every goose. From those 'Parts', we can estimate the species composition, age-ratio, and sex ratio of the harvest. One of my lease-mates' friends is on the Parts Survey, and I've attached a picture of the envelopes selected hunters get to submit those wings and tails.

So that 17.2 ducks per hunter is estimated from the Waterfowl Hunting Record sampled hunters fill out and return to the USFWS. The process is the same in all states. It doesn't assume anything. Hunters send in forms with zero days hunted, zero birds killed, up to 60 days hunted with hundreds of birds killed, with everything in between. Taken together, the Questionnaire and Parts surveys generate the harvest data you see in the reports at: https://www.fws.gov/birds/surveys-and-data/reports-and-publications/hunting-activity-and-harvest.php from hunting logs and real wings submitted by real hunters in all states.

February 04 at 7:34pm
A comment titled: Perfect Storm for the Demise of Ducks ......... in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

The post by Nutria on January 16 titled 'The Perfect Storm for the Demise of Ducks in North America' was written by Paul Yakupzack, who made his career with the USFWS managing waterfowl habitat on Cameron Prairie and Mandalay NWRs. He is also the father of current LWF Commissioner Bart Yakupzack. I met him in 1988 when Cameron Prairie NWR was just a trailer and consider him one of my first Louisiana mentors.

His position paper has many misconceptions and invalid implications/accusations, but it made the rounds last summer among waterfowl professionals. It was a topic of conversation at the October Louisiana Waterfowl Alliance meeting, where I was the featured speaker. (I think that was the last membership meeting of the LWA, as I was first informed by Josh Goins, then confirmed at last Thursday's Commission meeting that they have disbanded.) I don't know who Nutria is, but you might consider contacting Paul Yakupzack as you build the Flyway Federation of Louisiana. He has extensive experience in coastal Louisiana, a long career with the USFWS, and may share many of your founding principles.

February 04 at 7:18pm

There is not a single new thought on this entire thread that hasn't been made for a dozen or more years. Do you remember 2003? Senator Willie Mount passed a Senate Resolution creating the Waterfowl Study Commission to determine what was wrong with duck hunting in Louisiana and how we could fix it. The issues were the same. No action was taken because the hunting improved in 2004 and 2005. When they were reconvened in 2006, no action was taken again, and in 2008, the Jindal Administration dissolved this Commission.

Maybe the situation is different? It is certainly worse regarding habitat conditions in our state, and there is likely more habitat on the landscape to the north of us. On the other thread, I saw a couple of posts wanting to maintain focus on what is happening in other states, and minimize concern about our own habitat. I think that will be a difficult strategy, because the first thing states to the north of us are going to cite in reference to our efforts to restrict their management efforts will be 1) habitat degradation in Louisiana and 2) continued high harvest in Louisiana.

February 04 at 5:23pm

There are so many false comments on this thread, it's impossible for me to address them all. But 1 thing you MUST come to grips with is the DATA. I exited this conversation when told that I had to 'ignore the data, and do what I know is best for Louisiana duck hunters'. Of course, I can't do that whether I wanted to or not; it is a violation of my job description.

I'm responding to a post that cited a per-hunter harvest of 17.2 birds per Louisiana hunter. Everyone must understand that is higher than all states except Arkansas, California, Washington, and Idaho. CA, WA, and ID have 107-day duck seasons: 47 days more than we do.

Now put yourself in the shoes of the USFWS and the other 13 Mississippi Flyway states, and ask if there is a big problem regarding duck kill in Louisiana to be addressed. That is the regulatory environment in which we are working.

February 04 at 5:11pm

Just ask them. Neither has a thing to do with Breeding ground surveys or any of the surveys here in Louisiana. Those data are collected the same way they were collected since 1955 on the Breeding Grounds and 1969 here in coastal Louisiana.

February 04 at 5:02pm
A comment titled: Decoys don't look like ducks in response to a report titled: My Opinion on no ducks

If any of you have ever viewed a decoy spread, even a fantastic one, from the air compared to a group of live ducks ......... you would wonder how we ever kill a duck.

February 04 at 4:59pm
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