LOREAUVILLE — One of an estimated 52,000 license-carrying squirrel hunters in Louisiana plans to be taking aim at the bushy-tailed critters when the season opens Oct. 3.
Chris Courville of Loreauville said he will be in the woods around Lake Dauterive on a private lease with his 13-year-old son, Landon Courville. It’s a seasonal ritual repeated around the state, one that began for him as a boy hunting with his father, the late Lawrence Courville.
“Yep. We’ll be there for daybreak. We’ll probably hunt until about 9 like normal,” Courville said.
Jace can’t wait for the big Saturday to arrive. He has enjoyed squirrel hunting the past few years with his dad, the elder Courville said.
“Yeah, he took a liking to it. He’s pumped up. He’s ready. Oh, yeah, we’re ready,” he said.
Landon is a member of Loreauville High School’s bass fishing team and also shoots archery with the high school’s 4-H Club, according to his father.
The Courvilles, he said, more than likely will be joined by his buddy, Jared Hunter, and Hunter’s son, Jace Hunter, 8.
Squirrels are the most popular small game animals hunted in Louisiana, according to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. During the 2018-19 season, 52,200 squirrel hunters harvested 703,900 squirrels to make them the No. 1 draw among hunters in the Sportsman’s Paradise.
Rabbits, which also become fair game Saturday, are the second-most sought after resident small game animal. In 2018-19, 14,500 rabbit hunters bagged 100,000 rabbits.
Courville, 38, also an avid deer and duck hunter who is a member of the Lake Fausse Pointe Hunting Club, said the squirrel hunting was fair to good overall, depending on weather conditions, for many Teche Area squirrel hunters in 2019-20.
“We did good. We didn’t hunt as much as we normally do but we did make a couple of weekends,” he said.
The local outdoorsman hasn’t been scouting the area he hunts yet because he’s been busy running his business, Louisiana Marine and Propeller Services, which he has owned since 2014. He is hopeful of getting out in the woods this week.
“I haven’t had a chance to go ride all over. I did go to the deer stand (recently) and they had (squirrel) cuttings,” he said.
Heavy rainfall the past few weeks haven’t helped the preseason outlook. The area he hunts is going to have a lot of water on it and that makes it difficult to find cuttings on the ground.
“All the rain makes it worse,” he said.
Another negative confronting his squirrel hunting area is the presence of many feral hogs. He said “there are a lot of pigs” this year, even after five hunting club members, including himself, shot and killed 100 feral hogs last year.
“You can’t tell that we shot any,” he said.
Louisiana’s squirrel hunting season ends Feb. 28.