If you’re a Louisiana duck hunter who had a poor season last year, you were probably hunting in the wrong place. According to harvest figures released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana hunters killed more than 2.7 million ducks last year, more than any other state and more than all the ducks killed in either the Atlantic or Central flyways.
“If that doesn’t convey the continental importance of Louisiana as wintering waterfowl habitat, I don’t know what does,” said Bob Dew, Ducks Unlimited manager of conservation programs.
Louisiana’s harvest accounts for 18 percent of the United States harvest. Arkansas had the second-highest harvest with 1.4 million ducks. Factoring in hunter numbers, Louisiana’s harvest equated to 30.6 ducks harvested per hunter for the season.
The coming waterfowl season is shaping up to be promising as well. The breeding ground population surveys and wetland pond counts showed great breeding pair numbers and habitat conditions. Flooding along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers has provided significant freshwater inputs, and river levels remain high so stands of submersed aquatic vegetation attractive to ducks should be developing nicely. Also, most of the habitat created through the MBHI program will be provided again for waterfowl in the rice prairie region.