According to Dr. Larry Reynolds, Waterfowl Study Leader for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the per hunter kill on the four Wildlife Management Areas in Southeast Louisiana that do regular bag-checks was down about 25-30% but in Southwest Louisiana at the White Lake Wetland Conservation Area bag was the same or better than in the past. The private Coastal Club in the same are was similar to last year but the Cherry Ridge club was down about 30% according to one of the land managers.
A few things are certain. Warm temperatures and extensive flooding shifted the mid-winter population estimates to the north. Louisiana and Arkansas were below average; Mississippi was right at average; Missouri was over twice their long-term average; and Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky were above average.
Dr. Reynolds is fairly certain that hunting was below average, but he has received few direct complaints. He suspects that below average hunting has to do with the combination of extensive flooding and 80-degree temperature at Christmas.
Goose hunting is greatly reduced in Louisiana. The January Snow Goose census in Louisiana was 287,000 compared to the flyway count of 2,235,000. The Louisiana total was approximately half the 2011-2015 average.
More information about the 2015-2016 season will be available in coming months as Dr. Reynolds and his team collect data from their annual waterfowl hunter surveys.