Louisiana – Poor Weather, Renewed Spirit

Forecast: The forecast for Louisiana will remain at “fair” for the 2011-2012 season, with areas actively managed to enhance quail habitat expected to better than average, according to Jimmy Stafford, Small Game Leader with the state's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. A very hot and dry year in western and northern Louisiana will likely produce below average numbers for the year. This is bad news for the bobs, as the state was at a near record low during the 2010 fall whistle counts.

Previous reports aside, many CRP and WRP lands are now in a vegetative state that quail can utilize and covey sightings are being reported in areas where quail have been absent for many years. Some areas to note for the upcoming season include: Sandy Hollow WMA, Jackson Bienville WMA, Ft. Polk WMA and the Kisatchie National Forest.

Season Dates: November 19, 2011 through February 29, 2012
Daily Bag Limit: 10
Possession Limit: 20
Field Notes: Louisiana quail hunting peaked in 1982-83, when 42,000 hunters harvested 660,000 quail. In an effort to re-establish quail habitat and improve quail populations, three years ago the state initiated its Landowners For Wildlife Program to help private landowners connect to programs and wildlife management techniques. Also, Louisiana is home to the NRCS Longleaf Pine Initiative and the LDWF East Gulf Coastal Plain Prescribed Burning initiative- a practice crucial to southern quail management. According to Stafford, there “seems to be a renewed interest by many landowners to increase quail numbers through sound habitat management.” This, combined with the NRCS Longleaf Pine Initiative and the LDWF East Gulf Coastal Plain Burning initiative, should bode well for Louisiana quail and hunters in coming years.

Editor’s note: Being so far south, breeding for quail tends to occur later than further north, so Louisiana’s fall counts will be conducted in October and November. Please check back at that point for further information.

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