Area 6 Changes Petition
Below is the issue in question, proposed by Mr. David Moreland who's worked very hard the last 3 years to persuade the LDWF Commission to adopt the proper change without success: Concern for deer season dates for the Upper Basin in Area 6 which includes the parishes of Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, St. Martin and Assumption. The breeding range for deer in this area is mid December to mid March with the peak months being January and February and*the average breeding date is January 15th.St. Landry Parish has an average breeding date of January 9th(more December breeding than the other parishes due to restocking), but with this late of a rut could be included with these. The lower Area 6 Parishes of Iberia, St. Mary, Terrebonne, Jefferson and Plaquemines that border the coast have much more December breeding than these others and should not be included with the upper Basin parishes. With an average breeding date of January 15th,the average fawning date is August 15th.This means that when the bow season opens on October 1st, fawns in the upper Basin are 1 ½ months or less old. Harvest a doe nursing young fawns and the fawns will starve. This is not a good image for hunting or wildlife management. Perhaps it does not hurt the deer population as a whole, but it shows little concern from an animal welfare standpoint. Hunters in Area 6 in the upper Basin gun hunt deer 40+ days before the breeding begins; removing bucks from the population this far in advance of the breeding season is not good management and can create problems with over-population. In Area 2, the breeding range is mid October to mid January, with the peak months being November and December. Fawns are born in May and June and on October 1st are 4 to 5 months old, a much different situation than in the upper Basin of Area 6. When the gun season opens in Area 2 the rut (breeding season) is beginning and hunters get to hunt the entire breeding season. The gun season in the Upper Basin of Area 6 opens in November, a time when deer activity is low and hunter success during November and early December is poor. Upper Basin Area 6 hunters only get to gun hunt the first month of breeding activity and miss out entirely on the rest of the rut, which can be some excellent hunting. Many clubs and landowners are putting a lot of work into their deer management program and should have a season that provides them with the best hunting opportunity available. The Commission and Department need to take a serious look at establishing a more suitable deer season for this upper Basin of Area 6 which provides these deer hunters with a season that is more in line with the breeding activity of the deer, just like the Area 2 hunters have. If the Area 2 hunters were given a season like the upper Basin Area 6 hunters have now, their season would end November 30th and they would not get to hunt their second breeding peak in December.
I suggest a bow season that begins November 1st and ends February 28th and a gun season that has a short 9 day season in November at Thanksgiving and then opens December 18th and runs through February 14th. This can be done either by the creation of a new deer area, or the development of this season structure for the DMAP and LADT cooperators in these parishes. It could also be done on an experimental basis to determine deer harvest success as well as hunter satisfaction. For the past two years I have suggested that the season structure for the upper Basin Area 6 parishes be changed and brought in line with the breeding season of the deer. The Area 2 season structure is excellent and provides gun hunting during the entire breeding season.* In fact, when the gun season ends in January some bucks have already lost their antlers. These hunters get to hunt both the primary rut in November and the secondary rut in December. The gun hunters in this portion of Area 6 in the upper Basin get to start hunting the primary rut in January and then the season ends. On Monday I heard two different stories from hunters in West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes about seeing bucks chasing does on Sunday (January 31), the last day of the gun season. I work with clubs and landowners in this portion of Area 6 and all of my in-laws hunt in this portion of Area 6. I am fortunate that I get to hunt in that part of Area 1 that has a primary rut in December and the secondary rut in January. For the last three seasons the best deer I have seen and/or harvested was during the last week of the season in January. The secondary rut is an exciting time to hunt because most of the does were bred during the primary rut and the competition among the bucks for the does during the secondary rut is high and buck movement is great. These hunters in this portion of Area 6 do not get to experience this at all. I would hope that you would give serious consideration to this request this year during the season setting process and establish a better season for these hunters in the upper Basin of Area 6. Thanks for all your hard work, I am fully aware of how difficult it is to satisfy everyone. David Moreland Baton Rouge, Louisiana