SELA Flood Impact on Deer Season

 

“Are they going to close deer season?” I have had this question more than any other lately. I can only assume the idea of losing everything has sunk in with some and the dry wall and furniture is in piles at the street curb. This has definitely been a trying time for tens of thousands of our state’s residents. What else is there to look forward to or think about? Deer Season of course.

Photo Courtesy of LADWF

Photo Courtesy of LADWF

 

We all saw the videos and pictures of fawns being “rescued” from the flood waters and the lonely doe struggling to stay upright along Interstate 12. Deer are very resilient and seldom need our intervention and rescue from rising water. Fawns are easily displaced, partly due to the amount of time they spend away from their mother. But a lone fawn rarely means it’s in distress or in need of our human services. During a Mississippi River flood back in 2011, there was a radio collar study done by the University of Arkansas showing deer either successfully held tight to high ground or had little to no issue escaping flood waters; only to return immediately after the water’s recession to their home range. I tell you this so you won’t be too worried. In the long-run, our white tailed counter parts will be just fine.

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Displaced fawn in St. Amant

I spoke with Jonathon Bordelon today, Deer Program Manager for LADWF. Here’s what he had to say:

Deer Areas 4 and 9 will likely not be impacted with Area wide restrictions.  Within both Areas there were localized impacts to wildlife.  We will evaluate and make a decision based on findings.  In general, flooding rarely impacts seasons.  The issue with the August flood centers around the timing and fawn drop.  There will be localized impacts on fawn survival and subsequent recruitment.  We will address in September.  The duration or pulse was short in this event for a large area.  Deer should have fared much better where water quickly receded.  Water levels near Maurepas slowly increased from head waters above.  Deer in those areas likely moved to higher ground.  However, evaluation is needed before drawing that conclusion.

When asked about previous flood events and how this one differs here’s what he had to say:

There were closures across parts of SE LA after Isaac.  However, habitat was impacted and degraded by storm surge.  Impacts to fawns was the primary reason for restrictions that season.  However, Area 9 has a 9 day modern firearm antlerless season at this time which is one difference.  However, evaluation is needed.  In general, hunters and landowners should evaluate herd condition once the season begins.  The lack of fawn observations should raise a red flag and harvest strategies will need to be adjusted accordingly.  We will be in communication with our DMAP cooperators across SE Louisiana in the coming weeks.   Also, we have observed does with fawns on roadsides and other open areas adjacent to flood waters.  Fawn observations were encouraging but this is not based on a systematic survey.  Basically, random observations.

 

Keep an eye out for more, exclusive, up to the minute updates from louisianabowhunter.com as we inch closer to the 2016 Deer Season.

 

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