The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved the 2016-18 hunting season dates and 2016-17 general and Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) hunting rules and regulations at its April meeting last week in Baton Rouge.

The season dates approved include the 2017 turkey season and associated rules and regulations along with the 2016-17 migratory bird hunting season and rules and regulations. This year is the first inclusion of waterfowl seasons, regulations and bag limits in the annual NOI process.

The notices of intent presented in January by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for the upcoming hunting seasons were approved with amendments made subsequently in February and March.

Another amendment approved included allowing the use of dogs for the harvest of feral hogs in a portion of Dewey W. Wills WMA north of the Catahoula Lake Diversion Canal during the month of February.

Changes from previous hunting seasons in the approved NOIs include but are not limited to the implementation of mandatory hunter check-in for either-sex firearms deer hunts on several WMAs, including Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Big Lake, Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Grassy Lake, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage and Sherburne; modification of allowable weapons to be carried for protection purposes on WMAs, which will expand allowances on such weapons to be more consistent with changes to Title 56 last year; expansion on allowance for personal water craft on WMAs, to allow such on all WMAs during a specified time of year; creation of a limited access area within Dewey W. Wills WMA; elimination of a limited access area within Salvador/Timken WMA; benchmark deer season closure for Maurepas Swamp WMA; change of youth turkey lottery hunts to open youth turkey hunts on Bodcau and Jackson Bienville WMAs, and closure of turkey season on Loggy Bayou WMA.; addition of squirrel and rabbit hunting with dogs during February on Thistlethwaite WMA.

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