(11/17/23) ROMEVILLE, La. — Wildlife enthusiasts from far and near came to hear the latest on wild hogs, food plots and hunting during what has become an annual event in St. James Parish.
Scheduling issues caused the event to be held on Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m., which didn’t allow for a tour of the food plots, but nobody was left disappointed after the great lineup of speakers and the sponsored dinner.
LSU AgCenter agent Andre Brock said the field day was something that his predecessor, Al Orgeron, started when he was the agent in the parish. With his background in horticulture, he had been hesitant because he wasn’t sure of his role with a wildlife field day.
“Then it dawned on me — food plots,” he said. “We started with an informal study on food plots looking at ryegrass, clover, soybeans, and kind of did the Pepsi Challenge — a taste test to see what they would eat a bunch of.”
He said they didn’t get any rain, so the study didn’t work out well, but it led to a discussion of how to read a soil test.
“Also last year we had Manuel ‘Boo’ Persica, the LSU AgCenter meats lab manager, come and demonstrate the proper way to dress a deer and keeping it clean so that it’s safe,” he said.
Speakers on this year’s program included AgCenter research associate Ariel Bourgoyne, who gave an update on the feral pig bait that’s being developed at the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station in Clinton.
She said it’s in the hands of the government regulators now, and the next step after approval is test trials.
Brock said the wildlife situation in St. James Parish is a bit different than in most other areas of the state.
“Deer or deer hunting is not as big here as in north Louisiana or the Felicianas because there’s just so much water,” he said. “This is a great place for rabbit hunting and ducks. There are some deer around, just not a whole lot.”
Others on the program included retired St. James Parish 4-H agent Ken Guidry, who talked about the work that he is doing at the AgCenter’s LaHouse and the grants that are available for fortified roofs through the state.
Also, urban rodentologist Tim Madere, with New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control, discussed the value of not killing coyotes.
“Coyotes are just filling a niche since the red wolf, black bear and Florida panther are gone,” he said.
“They were the ones taking care of the weak, sick deer so we have bigger, stronger bucks.”
Madere said the No. 1 food source of coyotes is not rabbits — it’s rats.
“Rabbits actually come in second, then cats and dogs,” he said. “And deer actually come in fourth on the list.”
Michael Sullivan, biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, discussed some of work he does, including the findings of a recent wildlife survey.
“One thing that we found is that most of the hunters were displeased with other hunters, from overhunting to violating the hunting times,” Sullivan said.
LSU AgCenter agent Andre Brock discussed food plots and other hunting topics during the recent wildlife field day in St. James Parish. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
LSU AgCenter research associate Ariel Bourgoyne, one of the presenters at the recent wildlife field day in St. James Parish, gives a status update on the feral hog bait that’s being developed at the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station in Clinton. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter
New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control urban rodentologist Tim Madere discussed the value of coyotes and other rodent control during the recent wildlife field day held in St. James Parish. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter