Louisiana squirrel hunters get May season

BATON ROUGE, La. — Small-game hunters will have a chance to
hunt during the spring for the first time in decades after the
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a May squirrel
hunting season.

With the resumption of a deer-tagging system, hunters can also
plan for a major change in the 2007-2008 hunting season.

David Moreland, the chief of the state's Wildlife Division, said
other resident-game hunting season changes will likely remove more
either-sex dates in St. Mary Parish for the next deer season.

Louisiana has 64 parishes, but only 10 have proscribed
either-sex deer-hunting dates.

Hunters in the remaining parishes
can take antlered and antlerless deer on any date during the

Another move Moreland said will have to come from the state
Legislature will be to allow 16- and 17-year-old hunters to
participate in youth-only hunt weekends.

Current law allows youths
15 and younger on these special hunts as long as they're
accompanied by a parent or guardian 18 and older.

Though the 2007-08 resident-game hunting dates are set, Moreland
said the full hunting regulations package will be presented at the
LWFC's Feb. 1 meeting at Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters in
Baton Rouge.

Moreland confirmed the impetus for the new May season came from
hunters who use dogs to hunt squirrels.

``We're going to progress slowly through this season with
reduced limits for now,'' Moreland told the commission.

The new May 5-27 season will carry a three-squirrels-per-day
limit — the regular October-through-February season's daily limit
is eight _ and will be open on all private lands.

Moreland said May 5-13 hunts will be allowed on the east tract
of the Maurepas Swamp and Sherburne wildlife management areas along
with Bodcau, Boeuf, Clear Creek, Little River and Russell Sage
WMAs. Dogs will be allowed on the WMAs.

The season does not extend to the Kisatchie National Forest,
national wildlife refuges and Army Corps of Engineers lands.

The only objection to the May season came from the state's
National Wild Turkey Federation clubs. The claim is that dogs and
hunters in the woods will adversely impact the turkey nesting
Moreland said landowners with those concerns ``can choose not to
participate in the season.''