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New Orleans, LA
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Blog

field notes: on 2017-2018 changes

Emily Degan

Winter is coming and, thankfully, so too is hunting season. 

We’ve all eagerly awaited it and can finally rejoice that it is, at last, in sight. But in our excitement, we need to keep in mind this year’s changes to the rules and regulations, so that we can all enjoy a fun and fruitful fall and winter. 

Louisiana updates are summarized below.

Migratory birds

  • Teal: season now spans the last 16 days of September
  • Duck: daily bag limit of 1 pintail
  • Dove: shot has been restricted to non-toxic size 6 or smaller

Deer

  • Reporting time decreased to 72 hours after harvest
  • Restrictions on the weapons that private land hunters can carry for personal protection during primitive seasons have been removed
  • In areas 4 and 10, entire season is now either-sex harvest with a limit of 3
  • In area 5, water level re-open benchmark has been lowered to 14-17 feet, depending on specific location
  • In area 7, entire season is now either-sex harvest
  • Experimental quality deer seasons have been eliminated on all WMAs
  • Adjustments to season dates for Bayou Machon, Bodcau, Boeuf, and Dewey W. Wills WMAs

Turkey

  • Season now opens on the first Saturday of April
  • Reporting time decreased to 72 hours after harvest

Youth

  • Age to hunt waterfowl has increased to 17 years or older
  • Squirrel hunting days have been added to the Grassy Lake and Pomme de Terre WMAs
  • Squirrel and deer hunting days have been added to the Kisatchie National Forest 

Other

  • Live transport permit requirements for feral hogs have been eliminated during February hog days on WMAs
  • Additional hunting days have been added to the Richard K. Yancey and Sherburne WMAs

Happy hunting!
Emily
 

in our sights: great delta tours

Emily Degan

Last Saturday morning, my mom took me up on a belated Mother’s Day gift – a tour for the both of us with Great Delta Tours. Great Delta Tours offers a hands-on look at the Mississippi River Delta’s development into one of the world’s most diverse cultures and ecologies.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the company’s founders, Barbara Johnson, through the Louisiana Master Naturalist program. She started the company after working firsthand with coastal communities through the aftermath of the BP oil spill. “I realized that ecotourism was an important economic engine and livelihood for people in our New Orleans area,” she says. “The Great Delta Tours celebrates the Delta as a natural wonder that has shaped an incredible richness of wetlands, cultures, history and economy.” Our tour did not disappoint.

Starting in the French Quarter and winding through Gentilly, New Orleans East and all the way down to St. Bernard Parish and Shell Beach, Barbara’s co-founder, Peter, led our tour. A New Orleans-area geography professor of 25 years and avid birder, he brought both great historical and natural knowledge to the experience.

Here are a few of the many things we learned:

  • New Orleans’ Native Americans settled not in the French Quarter but near today’s Fairgrounds and used Bayou Road as a footpath for trade, bringing goods from Lake Pontchartrain ships to merchants in the Quarter
  • The half-mile area between Leon C. Simon Drive and Lake Pontchartrain (much of University of New Orleans; campus) was previously part of the lake, as evidenced by remnants of a lighthouse, which is now on-shore
  • Oil companies use turkey vultures to lead them to breaks in piping/spills, because turkey vultures are attracted to the decay-like odor of natural gas and oil

New Orleans natives, both my mom and I were shocked at how much we didn’t know about how and why our city developed and continues to develop. For us, the tour was a great mother/daughter outing, but I’d recommend Great Delta to solos, groups, tourists and locals alike.

And, if you’re interested in booking, take $10 off by using promo code ‘SPECIAL.”

Happy touring!
Emily

field notes: on puppy training

Emily Degan

For some hunters, the off-season can be torturous. Not only are shooting and weekend adventures at a minimum, but this it’s also time to put in the hard labor of planting and puppy training. We thought we’d share a few tips to help you get started on the latter.

When to start?

 Winnie remembers her first swim!

Winnie remembers her first swim!

Most experts agree that you shouldn’t start training your gundog until he/she is at least six months old. While every dog is different, puppies younger than six months generally have a shorter attention spans than older puppies, causing training at that age to be both frustrating and futile.  

Additionally, excessive repetitive training of young puppies could cause boredom, quelling the desire to retrieve. Likewise, too much corrective training of young puppies could diminish your dog’s confidence, making him afraid of retrieving.

You might also want to delay training until your dog has been vaccinated against leptospirosis, a potentially serious disease spread through soil and water. Talk to your vet about if/when your gundog should be vaccinated against it.

Do’s and don’ts:

  • Train obedience first – teach sit and stay before teaching the retrieve; it’s easier to teach the break from patiently waiting to retrieving than to correct it
  • Let him explore – allowing your dog explore the fields/waters he’ll be hunting nurtures his predatory drive and builds confidence
  • Avoid isolation – let your gundog become a part of the family; human interaction and play build communication skills and the desire to please
  • Don’t shout or repeat commands – he’s likely not responding because he didn’t hear you, but because he doesn’t want to; change the training method or focus on positive reinforcement to obtain desired responses
  • Assert your dominance – remember that you are always in control; never plead with your puppy to come or to retrieve

Happy training!
Emily

in our sights: the national monument review

Emily Degan

There may be no more polarizing debate within the outdoor industry than that surrounding national monuments. This discussion has taken on a national flavor, as President Trump recently asked for a review of 21 designated national monuments. Today we dig into why stakeholders either enthusiastically support or defend the review, as well as the designation of monuments themselves.

First off: what is a national monument? Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, a president can make any federally owned land a protected area to be managed by an agency like National Park Service or the United States Forest Service by designating it a “national monument.” Note that this is not the same as a national park. While presidents are able to designate national monuments, only congress can create national parks.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt used this act to establish the Grand Canyon as a national monument. The act was used as recently as December 2016 by President Obama to designate almost 1.4 million acres in Utah as a national monument called Big Ears.

Many see President Trump’s request to review 21 existing national monuments as a reaction to President Obama’s late-term designation of Big Ears, which was controversial at the time. But what the review could mean for the monuments’ future is unclear. Past attorneys general have stated that while presidents are able to designate national monuments, they do not have the legal authority to abolish them. In any event, below are some stakeholders’ motivation for speaking out.

  • National monument proponents think that their designation is important for conservation and protection, and could also drive eco-tourism dollars to their states
    • Conservation includes not just wildlife, but also cultural conservation; in the case of Big Ears, the designated land contains archeological and tribal sites of historic significance
  • National monument opponents think that the federal government is exercising overreaching power at the detriment of local communities, particularly in poor, rural areas
    • They argue that federal land should be turned over to the states or sold off for commercial development
    • Conservation organizations like the Wild Sheep Foundation also argue that designation limits land access, inhibiting scientific research, wildlife management, and outdoor recreation

What’s clear is that this issue has huge consequences at the local level. After Utah politicians voiced support for the Trump review and advocated for the abolishment of Big Ears, the Outdoor Industry Association pulled its semi-annual conference from Salt Lake City, costing Utah an estimated $45 million. So, no matter where you stand on this issue, it’s important to be informed as there could be real impacts to your local community.

Happy learning!
Emily