Wildlife field day prepares hunters for next season

Walter Cotton, biologist with USDA’s Wildlife Services, demonstrates proper placement of traps for coyotes at the LSU AgCenter’s wildlife field day on April 30 in Clinton. Cotton said there’s little money in coyote hides, but trapping them can improve the deer population. (Photo by Johnny Morgan. Click on image for downloadable photo.)

News Release Distributed 05/06/11

Preparing land for productive hunting was the focus of the LSU AgCenter’s wildlife field day at the Bob R. Jones Idlewild Research Station in Clinton on April 30.

Participants heard presentations ranging from how to trap nuisance animals like coyotes to identifying the favorite browse of deer during the Saturday morning program.

“We have the LSU AgCenter, Quality Deer Management Association and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries here today to get the latest information to hunters and landowners,” said Don Reed, LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist.

Participants toured different types of natural habitat to see what food source deer preferred and also received a lesson in plant identification.

Walter Cotton, biologist with USDA Wildlife Services, demonstrated numerous ways to call and trap coyotes successfully.

“Coyotes can cause considerable damage to a deer herd by destroying the fawns,” Cotton said.

Scott Durham, deer program manager with Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, presented data on the deer home range study for south Louisiana.

“We found that the home range for deer is a bit smaller than expected in south Louisiana where the bucks covered about 300 acres and does covered an area as small as 30 acres. In the north we expect it to be larger, but those numbers are not in yet,” Durham said.

Deer in this study wear a tracking collar that allows scientist to know where they are at any time as well as how far they travel during any given period.

For the past two seasons, deer harvest have been low compared to former years, but Durham said he doesn’t believe this is a problem of decreased population.

“People are just becoming more selective in their harvest of deer,” Durham said. “Back in the day, if a guy saw a deer, he killed it. But that’s not the case anymore. Hunters are now much more selective.”

In past years the field day has featured discussion on feral hogs, diseases of deer and different food plot demonstrations.

“We want to make sure that we are covering the topics that are most helpful to hunters and landowners so we bring in experts to present the information,” Reed said.

Johnny Morgan

5/6/2011 9:41:45 PM
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