Outdoor Writer John K. Flores' son, David Flores, accompanied him on one of the state’s lottery waterfowl hunts on White Lake Conservation Area. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of John K. Flores)
LDWF taking applications for upcoming lottery hunts
As far back as I can remember, I have taken advantage of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries public land hunting opportunities by putting in for several lottery hunts the department offers each year.
For those interested, that time is now. What’s more, the deadlines for some of these special hunts are fast approaching.
For wing shooters who enjoy dove hunting, the state sets aside various acreages ranging from eight to 84 acres on a number of Wildlife Management Areas throughout the state. Additionally, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries contracts with private landowners and leases dove fields for hunters.
These can be nice hunts, as the department typically plants these fields with brown-top millet, or some other suitable grain like milo, pearl millet and dove proso millet. But, one of the better dove hunts available is the Elbow Slough WMA dove lottery hunt in southeastern Rapides Parish.
This particular lottery hunt is for opening weekend of the first split of dove season, which takes place Sept. 1 and 2 this year. Elbow Slough is a 60 acre field with approximately 30 acres planted in brown-top millet.
The field was originally donated to the state for the soul purpose of being a waterfowl refuge. In the fall, the field is flooded just prior to the waterfowl season, making it an excellent wintering location for ducks. But, before winter, during the late summer the field is dry and a magnet for local and migrating dove. During dryer years dove shooting can be excellent. The deadline for this lottery hunt is July 27, 2018.
For waterfowl hunters, Sherburne WMA is now taking applications for the refuge’s disabled veterans waterfowl lottery hunts, general waterfowl hunts, and youth waterfowl hunts. I’ve personally experienced a couple of these hunts. The south farm general waterfowl hunt is a semi-guided affair, where hunters are assigned a location, put out their own decoys and do their own calling.
Department personnel are really good about transporting hunters to and from their respective locations, so no worries if your equipment is limited.
South farm hunts take place in flooded impoundments. And, depending on weather, the duck migration and just plain old luck of the draw, this lottery hunt can be fun. Waterfowl hunters can expect to kill gadwall, teal (both green winged and blue winged) and mallards. But, I’d recommended shooting whatever comes into the duck blind, because it can also be a hit or miss opportunity.
In other words, if scaup, ringnecks, and northern shovelers aren’t your particular cup of tea, you might find yourself on the short end of the stick when you do your mandatory bag check with the LDWF field biologist.
By contrast, the north farm youth hunt can be stellar. I’ve sat with youth while they banged away at so many targets it was hard for them to pick out just one bird in those first 30 minutes of legal shooting light before sunrise. The shooting is typically steady throughout the morning, with youth generally limiting before midmorning. The deadline for these Sherburne WMA hunts is September 28, 2018.
The special September teal season is just around the corner and White Lake Conservation Areas is now taking applications for their 2018 Teal Lottery Hunt. This particular hunt takes place south of Gueydan, in Vermilion Parish. It’s also a bit pricey.
Lucky applicants will be picked up at White Lake’s private landing and taken by boat to the White Lake lodge and paired with their guides. Generally, hunters will never get their feet wet, as they’re transported in vintage mud boats to blind boats waiting in the marsh.
Two hunters are allowed per application to participate. And, at an additional cost of $250 beside the application fee, to some it might not seem worth it. But, most drive in teal hunts run about $125 per person. Nonetheless, this particular public hunt is really special.
The deadline for applying for the White Lake lottery teal hunt is July 25, 2018.
For disabled veterans, physically challenged and youth deer hunters there are several opportunities through the state’s deer lottery programs. Camp Beauregard WMA will hold lottery deer hunts for disabled veterans and Floy Ward McElroy WMA will hold physically challenged lottery deer hunts. Specifics for these hunts are on the applications, and deadlines for both of these lottery hunts are Aug. 31.
This year, 166 lucky youth will have an opportunity to hunt Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Floy Ward McElroy, Richard K. Yancey or Sherburne Wildlife Management Areas for deer. There is one application for these youth lottery deer hunts, of which applicants must select a first and second choice.
The LDWF goes out of their way to make these hunts enjoyable for participants. I’ve attended youth deer hunts on Sherburne WMA and department staff works their tails off to make sure youngsters have a great experience. They drop off and pick up hunters from their stands, help youth recover, clean and skin their deer, and during the hunt I attended, even cooked hamburgers for them.
The deadline for applying for this season’s youth deer hunts is August 31, 2018.
For all lottery hunts there is a $5 application fee. Additionally, some hunts like the Sherburne waterfowl hunts require an additional $10 fee if you’re lucky enough to draw out. For more information on this year’s lottery hunts and application forms go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts
EDITOR’S NOTE: John K. Flores is The Daily Review’s Outdoor Writer.