LOUISIANA

Deer Forecast 2004 -- SOUTH

Outdoor Life Online Editor

The amount of time hunters spent in the field and the statewide harvest numbers both decreased. However, the numbers were up slightly for the popular either-sex hunts.

Deer from four state WMAs-Fort Polk, Union, Jackson-Bienville and Sherburne-were examined to check forage preferences. The study indicated that red oak mast was predominant. State whitetail biologist Dave Moreland says findings of white oak mast were low, with reports across the state showing poor white oak production and moderate red oak mast production affecting antler development.

Sherburne WMA saw 104 deer killed on December 6-7 in an either-sex hunter's-choice hunt. Sherburne WMA will have a six-point-or-better antler restriction this season, joining surrounding parishes, which have been participating in a data-gathering program over the last three seasons.

Two other popular areas, the Red River WMA and Three Rivers WMA, offer Mississippi River bottomland hardwoods that flood regularly but produce deer. Last season 458 were killed during Thanksgiving weekend.

Contact: Department of Fish and Wildlife (225-765-2346; www.wlf .state.la.us).