Skip to main content

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


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."


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

Recent Videos

Sometimes you have to fish a bait that allows you to cover a lot of water efficiently. When you're on the search for bass that have moved into deeper water off the bank and away from obvious holding spots, a swimbait can locate them.

On the Search with Swimbaits

One of the best imitations of a wounded baitfish is the soft-plastic jerkbait, or fluke. A fluke darting just beneath the surface can be too much for a bass to resist. Rig it and fish it according to water conditions and cover to make this great bait even more effective.

Fun with Flukes

There are three models in SPRO's Outsider crankbait series: 55 (runs 3-4 feet), 60 (7-9) and 80 (19-21). Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley goes over the specifics at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

SPRO's New Outsider Crankbait Series: First Look

Professional bass angler Jonathan Kelley highlights the features of SPRO's new lures at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Essential Series Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits from SPRO

Syd Ribes with Sea Falcon highlights four new lures for saltwater fishing. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Lineup of Lures from Sea Falcon

Syd Ribes highlights two new saltwater lures from SPRO: Flutter Tail Shrimp and Cannon Ball Jig. At ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

New Saltwater Lures from SPRO

AFTCO's Matt Florentino highlights the features of the new Barricade cold-weather suit, a Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022 in Orlando. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

New from AFTCO: Barricade Cold Weather Tactical Gear

Three-time ICAST Best of Category winner Bubba covers it all with new knives set. With Bubba's Matt Kinamore and Game & Fish's  Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2022 in Orlando.

4-in-1 Bubba Multi Flex Cutlery Kit

The innovative landing net will weigh and measure your catch while it's still in the net. Best of Category winner at ICAST 2022. With Game & Fish's Adam Heggenstaller.

Award-Winning Frabill Witness Net 'Keeps You Honest'

Game & Fish Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now