NEW ORLEANS — An estimated 2,639 ducks, most of them blue-winged teal, were harvested by an estimated 1,237 duck hunters on the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area during the recent 2019-20 water fowl hunting season, Shane Granier said in a waterfowl season summary released Thursday.
Granier, who has 17-plus years experience as a waterfowl biologist with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, compiled the report based on four bag checks in November, four bag checks in December and three bag checks in January, including the final bag check on Jan. 15.
According to his report, an estimated 1,753 ducks were harvested by 823 duck hunters on the Wax Lake Delta of the Atchafalaya Delta WMA. On the public area’s Main Delta, an estimated 303 ducks were harvested by an estimated 164 duck hunting; 85 by 36 on the “limited access area” of the Main Delta, and 498 by 214 on the “LLA” of the Wax lake Delta.
Granier reported the actual number of duck hunters checked during the 2019-20 season was 659 and they averaged an actual kill of 2.1 ducks per waterfowler on the Atchafalaya Delta WMA. Of that number, 453 duck hunters were on the Wax Lake Outlet and they average 2.1 ducks per hunter. Also, 110 duck hunters actually checked accounted for 2.3 ducks per hunter.
The summary’s final report, he emphasized, took into account extrapolations of samples taken from boat launches, bayous/canals and camping facilities favored by waterfowl hunters to access the three coastal WMAs, including Pass a Loutre WMA and Pointe aux Chenes WMA. Only “actual kill per hunter” and “actual number of hunters checked” are an exact reflection of samples taken.
Atchafalaya Delta WMA in St. Mary Parish is a popular destination for many duck hunters in the Teche Area and has been for several decades as waterfowlers from in and around New Iberia and Franklin traditionally head to the Wax Lake Outlet. The Wax Lake Outlet’s phenomenal duck hunting, particularly for mallards, in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s was featured in a story Jan. 12 in The Daily Iberian. After blue-winged teal, the top harvested ducks, in order, were green-winged teal, scaup and gadwall at Atchafalaya Delta WMA.
The Atchafalaya Delta WMA’s reputation as a top duck hunting spot along the coast remained intact this past season. With its estimated harvest of 2,649 ducks it surpassed the estimated harvest of 1,893 ducks by an estimated 570 duck hunters on the Pass a Loutre WMA in Plaquemines Parish.
However, 281 duck hunters checked on Pass a Loutre WMA averaged an actual kill of 3.3 ducks per duck hunter during the season, which is one bird higher than the Atchafalaya Delta WMA’s 2.1. An estimated 565 duck hunters killed an estimated 1,863 ducks on Pass a Loutre WMA.
At Pointe aux Chenes WMA, an estimated 1,010 duck hunters killed an estimated 758 ducks. Of that number, an estimated 289 ducks were killed by an estimated 530 duck hunters on the unmanaged area of Pointe aux Chenes WMA in Terrebone and Lafourche parishes.