Sometimes a change in how data are collected can make it appear that a state had a better deer hunting season than it really did. Case in point: Louisiana.
“In 2012 we changed our harvest survey to include senior hunters, so the number of deer that hunters reported they harvested increased,” explained Scott Durham, deer program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “But we suspect that there was actually a slight drop in the overall harvest compared to 2011.”
In total, 153,000 deer were taken last year, including a 227 6/8-inch non-typical monster killed by bow hunter Vicki Husted in the Tensas Parish. Extensive bottomland hardwoods and rich soils combine to give deer ample food that enable bucks to grow big racks. More and more hunters are discovering that the Bayou State is a hidden gem for trophy deer hunting.
In the southern part of the state, hunters will find three new management areas: 4, 9, and 10. Each has a “bucks-only” mandate in a different part of the season. In addition, the state is reinstating “doe days,” in many areas, so hunters should consult the 2013 hunting guide to learn what they can harvest in each area.
Over the last few years, the overall deer harvest in Louisiana has been trending downward. Ongoing drought, an increased number of feral hogs and a new strain of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) knocked back deer numbers last year, but Durham believes the downward spiral may be over.
“Because of the summer rains we’ve received, we should have better fawn recruitment,” added Durham.
Despite their recent hardships, half a million deer still roam the Bayou State. After harvesting a deer, a hunter has seven days to validate the kill using the toll free validation phone number (866-484-4805) or the web link: www.la.wildlifelicense.com. This year a live operator will take your harvest information.
Look no further than the Mississippi Delta to find quality public hunting land. Deer Management Areas like Big Lake, Buckhorn, and Dewey Mills and Yancey are just a few deer hunting hotspots. Depending on where you’re hunting, the rut occurs anywhere from early October to mid-December. Consult a local biologist to get Intel on when the rut will hit in your region.