Dearl Sanders, Reed, Donald P., Claesgens, Mark A. | 5/6/2005 2:10:06 AM
CLINTON - Louisiana will return to a deer tagging program not practiced since the 1960s. But the computerized, point-of-sale licensing system will be more efficient and effective than the old carbon-copy, vendor-dependent method, according to David Moreland of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Moreland explained the upcoming policy to more than 150 hunters at the third annual LSU AgCenter Idlewild Research Station Deer Field Day Saturday (April 30). He said, however, implementation is "not on a fast track," adding he expects the new program will begin in 2007.
"From 80 percent to 90 percent of hunters like deer tagging," Moreland said, explaining that hunters want more mature deer, and tagging is a means of reducing the harvest of young bucks. In addition, the proposed regulations would allow does to be hunted all season. The total number of deer that can be taken per season currently under consideration is six – the same as under the present law, he said.
The LSU AgCenter field day included two location tours.
One was to a wooded area to learn about recommended native soft and hard mast trees and shrubs for white-tailed deer, and LSU AgCenter area forestry agent Brian Chandler discussed 15 different species.
The other tour was to a crimson clover field to learn about managing clovers in food plots. That presentation came from Rans Thomas, the consulting service manager of Tecomate Wildlife Systems of Wrightsville, Ga.
Participants also heard the results of a study comparing the attractive value of 10 deer scents. Over a 10-day period earlier in April, LSU AgCenter wildlife professor Dr. Don Reed and his team rotated the scents among various sites at Idlewild and monitored those sites with motion-sensitive cameras. The cameras recorded 48 "events" in which deer triggered the cameras.
The animals visited all areas, according to Reed, who said the number of events in which deer triggered the cameras ranged from one to seven, including the control "scent" of distilled water. That suggested curiosity about the container may have attracted the deer or that a deer may have been just passing by, Reed said.
The LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist also concluded that scents work to some extent – but not to the levels claimed on the labels. And he said he plans a follow-up study.
Certified forester and certified wildlife biologist Mark Thomas of Hoover, Ala., addressed the group about the basics of quality habitat management. He advised "enhancing huntability" by increasing native vegetation before making food plots.
Thomas said to make it a year-round effort by including vegetation for each season. And he showed a number of images of habitats he has designed and maintained, including a 400-yard shooting lane lush with vegetation deer seek.
Thomas also discussed deer management strategies, emphasizing that a "quality" strategy is better than a "traditional" one. Under the old system, deer populations increased to about 85 percent does – with a buck having only a one out of 360,000 chance of reaching maturity. A quality system encourages doe hunting, and where it’s practiced, hunters again are able to harvest mature bucks.
Idlewild resident coordinator Dr. Dearl Sanders said the field day draws the crowd it does because the hunters know they can count on unbiased reports from LSU AgCenter experts and invited guests.
Sanders also noted that Idlewild is one of just a few places in the nation that has both native and captive white-tailed deer populations.
"This enables us to conduct a study on one and turn right around and see if we get the same results on the other," Sanders said.
The field day was cosponsored by the LSU AgCenter, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Quality Deer Management Association’s South Louisiana Branch.