Well, it’s that time of the year again. As we approach the fall, many of us begin to think of outdoor activities such as football and … hunting.
That’s right! September marks the beginning of Louisiana’s 2015-2016 hunting season.
To help in planning your days afield, we’ve put together the following summary of this year’s upcoming hunting seasons.
Waterfowl and migratory game birds
This year's hunting season began on Sept. 5 with the opening of the first split for doves. This split runs through Sept. 13 in the South Zone and Sept. 27 in the North Zone. Dove season continues as follows, South: Oct. 10 – Dec. 1 and Dec. 19 – Jan. 15; North: Oct. 10 – Nov. 8 and Dec. 10 – Jan. 15. The bag limit for doves is 15.
Teal, rail, and gallinule hunting begins on Sept. 12th and continues through the 27th (rail and gallinule have a second split from Nov. 7 – Dec. 30); bag limits are: teal - 6, king and clapper rails - 15, sora and virginia rails - 25, and gallinules - 15.
The taking of ducks, coots, and mergansers begins on Nov. 7 in the Coastal, Nov. 14 in West, and Nov. 21 in the East Zone and continues through various splits in those zones. Various goose seasons begin with a Nov. 7 opening in some zones. Also, there are special seasons for youth waterfowl hunting and for falconry hunting.
Consult the migratory game birds hunting seasons brochure for details.
Woodcock season runs from Dec. 18 through Jan. 31 with a bag limit of 3.
The snipe season in all zones is Nov. 2 – Dec. 6 and Dec. 19 – Feb. 28. The bag limit is 8.
Rabbit, squirrel, and quail
Rabbit and squirrel hunting begins on Oct. 3 and continues through Feb. 29. The spring squirrel season is May 7-29. Note that some areas are closed for the spring season; check the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details. The bag limit for rabbits and squirrels is 8 (3 squirrels in the spring).
Quail season runs from Nov. 21 through Feb. 29 with a bag limit of 10 birds.
Assumption, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes are in Area 9. Deer hunting here starts with the archery season: Oct. 1-15 (bucks-only) and Oct. 16 – Feb. 15 (either-sex).
The primitive firearms season has two splits: Nov. 14-20 (bucks-only) and Jan. 25-31 (either-sex). Modern firearms still hunting (no dogs allowed) has two bucks-only splits of Nov. 21-26 and Nov. 30 – Dec. 11 and an either-sex opening of Nov. 27-29.
Deer hunting with or without dogs is allowed from Dec. 14-25, Dec. 28 – Jan. 8, and Jan. 11-24 (bucks-only) and Dec. 12-13, Dec. 26-27, and Jan. 9-10 (either-sex).
There are some Area 9 “High Water Benchmark Closure” areas in portions of Iberia, Iberville, St. Martin, and St. Mary Parishes; consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.
Deer daily bag limits are 1 antlered and 1 antlerless (when legal); the season limit is 6 and includes 3 antlered or 4 antlerless deer. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and other public lands seasons and regulations vary, consult the Louisiana Hunting Regulations pamphlet for details.
The Youth and Honorably Discharged Veterans Season (on private land) in Area 9 is Oct. 31 – Nov. 6.
There is also a special Physically Challenged Season (on private land) on Oct. 3-4. This season is restricted to hunters with Physically Challenged Hunter Permits.
Other hunting seasons
The season for crows, blackbirds, cowbirds, and grackles is Sept. 1 – Jan. 1 with no limit. Nutria may be taken on WMAs and private property from Sept. 1 – Feb. 29 with a daily limit of 5 and on Atchafalaya Delta, Salvador/Timken, Pointe Aux Chenes, and Pass a Loutre WMAs from Sept. 1 – Mar. 31.
Raccoons and opossums have no closed season; there are restrictions for night hunting, etc. There is an experimental year round season for bobcats. See the regulations pamphlet for details on these. Pheasant is open concurrently with the quail season; no limit.
Turkey seasons open in Areas A (Mar. 26 – Apr. 24), B (Mar. 26 – Apr. 17), and C (Mar. 26 – Apr. 10) on private lands only. Consult the separate WMA and Federal Lands Schedules for season dates on those areas.
Coyotes, armadillos, and feral hogs are considered "outlaw quadrupeds" and may be taken year round during legal daylight shooting hours on private property. In general, on most WMAs and other public lands, outlaw quadrupeds may be taken during open hunting seasons with whatever weapon is legal for that particular season (check the regs for area specifics).
On private property, landowners and/or their designated agents may take nutria, beaver, and outlaw quadrupeds at night from the last night of February through the last day of August.
Special actions such as notifying the sheriff and LDWF enforcement are required for the night hunting, so be sure to read the regulations carefully.
Finally, be sure to consult and study the 2015-2016 Louisiana Hunting Regulations and the Migratory Game Bird Regulations pamphlets before going hunting. These are available at most places that sell hunting gear and can also be viewed/downloaded online at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries' hunting regulations website: wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations.
There are many rules and regulations associated with hunting and you will want to make sure you are completely legal before heading out.
Good luck afield and happy hunting!
Alan Matherne is the Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter Marine Extension Agent specializing in Coastal, Fisheries, & Wildlife Outreach for Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Assumption parishes. He can be contacted at 985-873-6495 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His articles and blogs are posted at bayoulog.com. You can "Friend" him on Facebook at facebook.com/alan.matherne and follow his "Tweets" on Twitter at twitter.com/amatherne.
Posted on Tue, September 8, 2015
by Alan Matherne, Marine Extension Agent Louisiana Sea Grant / LSU AgCenter