Recap: The Greatest Time of the Year

Wesley Callegan, Staff Writer

Greatest Time of the Year

Louisiana is known as the Sportsman’s Paradise because of how many different species of animals there are for people to hunt. The two main species that are targeted by hunters in Louisiana are duck and deer. Both of these animals make many people spend countless hours in freezing deer stands and duck blinds, not to mention spending paychecks to pursue their passion.

2019-2020 Duck Season Recap

Duck season in Louisiana is always a coveted time that excites many people. Every duck hunter will usually miss work the Friday before the season opens to go to their camps or drive down to their favorite public land hunting spot. This is all in preparation for the greatest day of the year. Louisiana is one of the last states to open and close due to it being one of the last states in the flyway — the pattern that the ducks stay in when migrating from the north. Louisiana’s duck season has been one to remember this year.

The first split, a few weeks of hunting before a week-long break, started off very well for many people because a good cold front up north had pushed many birds down. Once the first split started to end, the hunting really slowed down. There was no cold front and no food to push birds down from the north and hold them in Louisiana so they left to go find food. Once the second split had rolled around, it was still a tough season because Mother Nature was not cold enough in the north to push more birds down. The last two weeks of the season were better because all the birds started migrating down south towards Argentina and that allowed for hunters across Louisiana to catch some birds on their migration.

A lot of the problem with Louisiana and ducks is that companies like Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl establish the perfect environment for ducks in northern states. The companies will maintain food year-round and will always have water open even whenever it floods. I even heard that some people are keeping their water warmer allowing for the birds to never have to move because their climate is perfect. This makes for the ducks to never want to leave because they have food, water, and safety all in the north. The companies create a duck Heaven.

2019-2020 Deer Season Recap

Deer season was a mixture of good and bad throughout the state. Once again, hunting depends on Mother Nature and her cold fronts. The weather controls a lot of deer behavior. There is a period called “the rut” when bucks are looking to find a doe to mate with, and this period was almost nonexistent due to there being no cold fronts. Deer hunters must have patience because most of the bigger deer are harvested during the rut, which is later in the year, due to them being more active. Another problem that also comes with Mother Nature is flooding along the Mississippi River. If the river floods, surrounding properties are at jeopardy. The flooding puts more pressure on deer to move into unknown areas where they are at risk of starvation. Once the river recedes and deer start to move back into their old area, the natural food sources like acorns and brows are dead, leaving the deer to find unwanted and unhealthy alternatives like ryegrass that do not offer a good protein diet. Once the rut and colder temperatures come, deer are moving more and looking for a doe and they will not eat. Once they start to eat again, they have no high protein foods, causing them to potentially starve.

Overall, deer and duck season in Louisiana this past year was hit or miss. Many hunters experienced joy and defeat all within one season.

Harvey Payne