Louisiana: 2011 Whitetail Forecast

Louisiana: 2011 Whitetail Forecast
Louisiana: 2011 Whitetail Forecast
Louisiana advertises that it's a "Sportsman's Paradise," and for sure it is. Even though it's best known for waterfowl hunting and fishing, the state has a lot more than that, including deer – about 750,000, with just 150,000 killed a year.

Some of those deer are good ones: "Believe it or not, there are still some really fine deer in Louisiana – some Boone and Crockett, and a number of Pope and Young," said Emile LeBlanc, the state's deer management assistance program coordinator. "Of course [trophy animals] aren't as prevalent here as in more northern states, but we have some good-quality animals and we have quite a few deer."

That's because Louisiana is a tremendously fertile state. As LeBlanc noted, "Some areas have a lot more deer than we need, typically along the riverine systems where fertility is real high."

That's also where Louisiana has seen more than its fair share of extreme weather, but apparently deer there haven't suffered. LeBlanc's eyes were opened to that when doing deer counts after Hurricane Katrina. "I was absolutely amazed, and I continue to be impressed by their resilience," he said.

Deer Population: 750,000


Economic Impact of Deer Hunting: $500 million


Best Areas

Numbers

For deer numbers, head to the mixed pine-hardwood forest in the northeast part of the state. LeBlanc said, "Our highest kill consistently comes from Union Parish because that parish is predominantly rural – there's deer habitat everywhere."

Quality


Louisiana's highest-quality deer are found along the Mississippi and Red rivers, which are fertile agricultural areas. Because of farming, there's less deer habitat and fewer deer, "so the quality is very high," he said.

Current Status of the Deer Population: 1-5 scale with 1 being poor and 5 being optimal

LeBlanc pegged his state at a 4, in part because of ongoing weather issues. "We've had issues with flooding and will back off the hunting days in [affected] areas, to kind of give those deer a little reprieve," he said. "We had some mortality, but I don't feel it was monumental. For centuries, when flood waters have come, those deer have moved out of those areas to adjacent higher ground. And when the water recedes, they move right back."


Status 5 Years From Now

He feels that five years from now his state will be at least a 4. "I think it will look as good as now or possibly a little better. That depends on what the habitat is like, how people manage that habitat, and how human encroachment continues to develop."

Biggest Factors Over the Next 5 Years

"Habitat change to me is the most significant issue we're going to see," LeBlanc said, meaning "human encroachment and land management by some large landowners.

"Human encroachment chips away every year. In five or 10 years, who knows what the habitat will be like." And as far as land management goes, "a lot of times with a large pine plantation, they'll harvest and then spray it with herbicide which absolutely degrades the habitat as far as whitetail deer are concerned. "

He's also keeping an eye on his state's "aging population of hunters. Like a lot of other states, we're attempting to bring younger hunters into the ranks."

Any Doom and Gloom?

To the question of whether he can foresee any areas of his state having a large population decline or crash at some point, LeBlanc said, "No, I don't. Even hurricanes only hit a small portion of the state. That might hurt the [deer] population for a while [in a certain area], but I don't see anything catastrophic – unless somebody drops a nuclear bomb on the state [laughs]. That's the only catastrophic event I could consider."

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

P-Line Copolymer Topwater Fishing Line

Get the inside info on the new topwater-specific fishing line; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

Abu Garcia Zenon Spinning Reels

New to the North American market comes the 'world's lightest spinning reel.'

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Veto Pebble Mine Campaign

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options. Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick. ICAST

Who Won ICAST 2020 Best of Show?

Game & Fish Staff - July 17, 2020

See what made the Old Town Sportsman Autopilot kayak the show's top pick.

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is. Fishing How-To

How to Use Electronics to Catch Baitfish

Game & Fish Staff

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Midwestern turkey hunters and others are hitting the woods. So are a variety of harmful tick species. Conservation & Politics

Tick Talk: What You Need to Know Pre-Hunt

Patrick Durkin - May 14, 2020

Midwestern turkey hunters and others are hitting the woods. So are a variety of harmful tick...

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck supremacy? Whitetail

The Next ‘Big Tex' for Trophy Bucks?

Jordan Michaels - October 18, 2019

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck...

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

A rimfire, old standard and new import top our list of favorite rifles for coyote hunting 

All Stories

3 Coyote Guns

Brad Fitzpatrick - September 28, 2017

A rimfire, old standard and new import top our list of favorite rifles for coyote hunting...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.