NEW ORLEANS — To keep tabs on the productivity of four coastal wildlife management areas, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducts random bag checks of waterfowl hunters. This season, the numbers were strong on three of the four.
Hunters on Pass a Loutre WMA at the mouth of the Mississippi River bagged a remarkable 4.7 ducks each throughout the course of the season. The strongest hunting was on the Pass a Loutre limited-access area, a section of the public tract restricted to paddle craft only, where every hunter checked shot his or her limit.
Gadwall was the No. 1 species in hunters' bags throughout the season. Hunters also shot plenty of blue-winged teal and green-winged teal.
The WMA at the state's other major river terminus, Atchafalaya Delta, also produced a lot of happy hunters. Waterfowlers there averaged 3.4 ducks each, with the Main Delta limited-access area producing 4.8 ducks per hunter.
On the WMA as a whole, green-winged teal were the most prevalent bird in hunters' bags, followed by blue-winged teal and gadwall.
LDWF personnel also counted 17 snow geese and four specklebelly geese in hunters' bags.
Hunters on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA also fared well, particularly early in the season. Over the course of the 60 days they could hunt it, hunters took 3.1 ducks each on the popular public tract south of Houma. The Montegut Unit limited-access area led the charge with 5.0 ducks per hunter.
More green-winged teal were shot than any other species, followed by scaup and blue-winged teal.
But the season wasn't great everywhere. Salvador WMA was a big disappointment, producing only 0.8 ducks per hunter. Due to the dearth of birds, it was very lightly hunted.
Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com