Tougher duck hunting in January calls for changing tactics
With only two more weekends remaining for Coastal and West zone duck hunters — remember the season ends at sundown Jan. 22 — this week's early-in-the-week hunts show the need to change strategy and tactics to successfully close out the season.
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With only two more weekends remaining for Coastal and West zone duck hunters — remember the season ends at sundown Jan. 22 — this week’s early-in-the-week hunts show the need to change strategy and tactics to successfully close out the season. Five hunters from across the state’s marshes reported gray ducks, teal and pintails — the majority of the ducks they’re seeing — are shying away from existing decoy spreads and blinds that produced earlier this season. The tactical change is to remove some of the decoys from the big spreads needed in the first split. Here’s how: Start pairing off drake and hen decoys and put any drake decoys of the same species in singles away from the grouping. Then bunch the species of decoys, mallards with mallards, grays with grays, teal with teal and pintails with pintails. Don’t forget we see more poule d’eau now than any time during the season and having poule d’eau decoys helps along with a “confidence” decoys, something like a snowy egret or blue heron decoy near your new blind. Clearing it up State Waterfowl Study leader Larry Reynolds cleared up a mistake in recent reporting on the 2017 special September teal season. It was a mistake to write the last 16 days of September (Sept. Instead, Reynolds said, “opening the (2017) teal season on a Friday (Sept. 30) means we get a six-day later teal season for the price of one weekend hunt day. “Setting the season for three full weekends would mean dates of Sept. 9-24, and we felt the sacrifice of one weekend hunt day was more than offset by having a season six days later in the month, allowing for additional teal migration and hopefully larger teal populations," he said. 15-30 seasons in 2000 and 2006. And Reynolds cleared up a point about the new federal regulations allowing states to open youth waterfowl hunts to the ages each state allows for youth hunts for resident game. Reynolds said while his new plan will open waterfowl hunting to ages 17-and-younger (old federal regs limited these hunts to 15-and-younger), migratory waterfowl hunters “16 and older are still required to be properly licensed, HIP certified, and... Young hunters also will need to have an adult along for youth hunts. Public lands Pass a Loutre WMA continues to lead in hunters’ successes for public waterfowl opportunity, but the weekend’s cold front brought some interesting results. Last Wednesday, before the big cold front, state biologist Shane Granier said hunters took an average of 4. 8 ducks per hunter with gray ducks and bluewing and greenwing teal making up 71 percent of the take. Atchafalaya Delta hunters in the Main Delta and Wax Delta zones took respective 3. 3 and 2. 8 ducks per hunter. The take fell off Saturday after the rain, but during the strong north winds and falling temperatures, Pass a Loutre produced 3. 1 ducks per hunt — teal, pintail and grays — while Atchafalaya Delta averaged less than one duck.
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