BATON ROUGE — The landscape for waterfowl hunting in the state changed for the next five years, starting in 2021-22, when the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved Notices of Intent for seasons and bag limits on May 6.
The Sportsman’s Paradise is returning to the days of two zones, East Zone and West Zone, for duck hunting rather than East Zone, West Zone and Coastal Zone. The state is moving from three zones with one split to two zones with two splits, or three season segments, Larry Reynolds announced in a prepared statement on Thursday.
Also, goose hunting zones have returned to being the same as the duck hunting zones.
Reynolds, the state’s waterfowl study leader and a veteran waterfowl biologist with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, advised duck hunters to check the new boundaries because important duck hunting areas in Jeff-Davis, Acadia, Vermilion and Evangeline parishes are now removed from the East Zone.
The new five-year plan was implemented after several postseason surveys mass forwarded to resident waterfowl hunters and within the framework provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
West Zone duck hunting, which generally has more interest for waterfowlers in the Teche Area, allows duck hunting until the end of January while maintaining the opening date for the second Saturday in November, Reynolds noted in his report. The second break in the West Zone season is scheduled after the Christmas and New Year holidays, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, East Zone duck hunters face a familiar single split and traditional opening and closing dates.
“We don’t have to use zones or splits at all,” Reynolds wrote, “but we are limited to just two zones with existing boundaries and two splits for duck hunting.
“Goose zones, season dates, arrangement of youth and veteran hunt days, etc., can be changed every year through the NOI process we go through January-May for setting hunting regulations.”
The written description of the West Zone boundary: That portion of the state between the Texas state line and the line going south on Louisiana 79 from the Arkansas border to Homer, then south on Louisiana 9 to Arcadia, then south on Louisiana 147 to Hodge, then south on U.S. 167 to Lafayette, then south and east on U.S. 90 to the Mississippi state line.
Daily bag and possession limits are the same as this past season and probably be the same for 2022-23, Reynolds said in a text message on Thursday, because the breeding population survey was canceled for the second straight spring because of COVID-19 concerns.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, of which can include no more than four mallards (no more than two females), three wood ducks, two canvasbacks, two redheads, one mottled duck, one black duck and one pintail. Also, only one scaup may be taken for the first 15 days of the season with two per day allowed for the remainder of the season.
The daily bag limit for geese is 20 on light geese (snow, blue and Ross), three on white-fronted geese and one on Canada geese. There is no possession limit on light geese while the possession limit on Canada geese is three.