Reestablishment of a Rest Area/Refuge for Waterfowl on Boeuf Wildlife Management Area

WHEREAS, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation (LWF) has previously expressed and continues to have concerns about the impact of hunting pressure on waterfowl populations in Louisiana and on waterfowl hunters’ satisfaction with the hunting experience; and

WHEREAS, public lands such as Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) receive heavy hunting pressure and many hunters in public lands have noticed declines in the number of waterfowl present as well as declines in hunting results in recent years; and

WHEREAS, LWF recognizes that although there are many and complex explanations for trends in waterfowl populations in both the state as a whole and in particular areas, LWF supports selective designation of waterfowl refuge/rest areas to retain waterfowl populations throughout the hunting season especially in areas that receive heavy hunting pressure; and

WHEREAS, Boeuf WMA (50,000 acres) in northeast Louisiana has been a premier duck hunting destination for decades, attracting hunters from many areas of the state and from nearby states; and

WHEREAS, to enhance hunting opportunities at Boeuf, many ATV trails and boat ramps have been installed over the years, leading to increased numbers of hunters pursuing their sport through all portions of the WMA, hence increasing hunting pressure over time; and

WHEREAS, Boeuf WMA once had a refuge area that kept sizeable numbers of the ducks in the vicinity of the WMA, helping maintain a huntable population on a consistent basis; and

WHEREAS, the Boeuf WMA refuge area was eliminated over ten years ago and long-time hunters of the WMA subsequently noticed a decline in the number of waterfowl seen and harvested; and

WHEREAS, approximately fifty Boeuf WMA duck hunters last year petitioned the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to reestablish a refuge area within Boeuf as a way to potentially improVe duck hunting at Boeuf but this request was rejected; and

WHEREAS, LWF agrees that reestablishment of a refuge area at Boeuf WMA could have a positive effect on duck populations and duck hunting in the area and could in addition provide waterfowl observation opportunities for the non-hunting public similar to what exists at some NWRs and WMAs in the state.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that LWF requests that the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approve the reestablishment of a waterfowl rest area (refuge) within Boeuf WMA where hunting would not be allowed during the waterfowl hunting season.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF urges the Secretary of LDWF to direct staff to identify a potential non-hunting area or areas within Boeuf WMA, similar in size, but not necessarily in the same location as the old refuge area, situated to have the best advantage for holding ducks in the area.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that LWF urges that such refuge area(s) be maintained for a three-year trial period and that Boeuf WMA duck hunters be surveyed, at the conclusion of the trial period, regarding the effectiveness and potential permanent status for the refuge area.

Adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in Convention Assembled, August 22, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Resolution #:3, 2015
Date Proposed:08/22/2015
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