Teche Area duck hunters know some of the best duck hunting isn’t always on an oft-high-priced, oft-high-pressured pieces of private property. Many of them turn to the state’s coastal Wildlife Management Areas, like the Atchafalaya Delta WMA.
That was proved opening weekend of the special teal season, which began Sept. 15 and will end six days from now on Saturday. Led by Point aux Chene WMA to the east of us and followed closely by the Atchafalaya Delta WMA southwest of Franklin, the blue-winged teal harvest numbers for opening day are eye-openers on the WMAs.
Duck hunters averaged 1.7 ducks per hunter Sept. 15 on both WMAs, according to Shane Granier, New Orleans-based biologist manager with the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastal and Nongame Resources Division.
There were 316 blue-winged teal bagged by an estimated 190 duck hunters that day at Point aux Chenes WMA, where Granier and staffers checked 118 waterfowlers. On the Atchafalaya Delta WMA, an extremely popular destination for the area’s many duck hunters, an estimated 259 teal (99 percent blue-winged teal, 1 percent green-winged teal) were downed on opening day by approximately 150 duck waterfowlers, 89 who were checked.
As usual, the duck hunting hotspot on the Atchafalaya Delta WMA was the Wax Lake Outlet, where approximately 89 hunters killed 183 teal that Friday, Granier reported.
The LDWF’s other coastal WMAs offered fair hunting on Sept. 15. At Pass-a-Loutre WMA, an estimated 30 blue-winged teal were shot down by approximately 20 duck hunters; at Salvador WMA, an estimated 26 blue-winged teal were harvested by approximately 35 duck hunters, and at Biloxi WMA, an estimated 16 teal (88 percent blue-winged teal, 12 percent green-winged teal) were killed by approximately 50 waterfowlers.
Overall, Granier reported 647 teal were dropped by an estimated 445 duck hunters opening day on the state-owned lands available to the public along the coast.
The harvest numbers dropped on the second day of the season, Granier’s report showed.
At Point aux Chenes WMA on Sept. 16, approximately 245 duck hunters killed an estimated 233 teal (98 percent blue-winged teal, 2 percent green-winged teal) and average one duck per duck hunter. At Atchafalaya Delta WMA, approximately 183 blue-winged teal were harvested by an estimated 200 duck hunters.
With a cold front forecast to arrive before the final day of the season, some of those teal harvest numbers may go up.
DON SHOOPMANis outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.