Wildlife

Alligator Hunting

 

Private Lands

A resident alligator hunter must either own land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries issues harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest. Alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the season. An alligator hunter license applicant must submit the following:

  • a completed alligator hunter license application form including the hunter's information (name, dob, drivers license #, etc.),
  • proof of property ownership (tax receipts or bill of sale) containing Parish, Township, Range, Section and acreage information,
  • a map outlining the property to be hunted, and
  • a landowner's signature indicating permission for the hunter to harvest alligators on the property.
  • If applicable a legal alligator hunting lease may be submitted.

Individuals interested in obtaining alligator harvest information on private lands (what is considered alligator habitat, does my property qualify for alligator tags, requirements, etc.) should contact the corresponding office/biologist responsible for administering alligator harvests on private lands for the parish in which the property is located (see map and contact information).

 
Click to enlarge.

Resident alligator hunting licenses cost $25 and there is no cost for alligator tags.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags. An alligator Sport Hunter License cost $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Public Lands and Lakes

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes.

There are many public lands and lakes available for alligator harvest opportunities.  These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal governmental agencies.  Methods in which alligator hunters are chosen for these areas include bidding and lotteries. 

The lottery alligator harvest program provides the opportunity for over 300 resident alligator hunters to harvest approximately 800 alligators on almost 40 WMAs/public lakes located throughout the state. 

Lottery alligator harvest applications become available mid to late May of each year and lists all available WMAs/public lakes.  See Lottery Alligator Harvest Program for additional lottery alligator harvest program information

Individuals interested in obtaining specific public land/lake alligator harvest information (selection methods, requirements, availability, etc.) should contact the corresponding office responsible for that particular public land/lake (see map and contact information).

 
Click to enlarge

Resident alligator hunting licenses cost $25 and there is no cost for alligator tags issued to non-lottery alligator hunters.  Lottery alligator hunters may be required to pay a set fee per alligator tag issued.  These fees are in lieu of payments normally made to the Department for the value of alligators harvested.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags. An alligator Sport Hunter License cost $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Alligator Program

History

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Department) manages the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) as a commercial, renewable natural resource. The goals of the Department's alligator program are to manage and conserve Louisiana's alligators as part of the state's wetland ecosystem, provide benefits to the species, its habitat and the other species of fish and wildlife associated with alligators. The basic philosophy was to develop a sustained use management program which, through regulated harvest, would provide long term benefits to the survival of the species, maintain its habitats, and provide significant economic benefits to landowners, alligator farmers and alligator hunters. Since Louisiana's coastal alligator habitats are primarily privately owned (approximately 81%), our sustained use management program provides direct economic benefit and incentive to private landowners, and alligator hunters/farmers who lease land, to protect the alligator and to protect, maintain, and enhance the alligator's wetland habitats.

The Department's sustained use program is one of the world's most recognizable examples of a wildlife conservation success story. Louisiana's program has been used as a model for managing various crocodilian species throughout the world. Since the inception of the Department's program in 1972, over 810,000 wild alligators have been harvested, over 6.5 million alligator eggs have been collected, and over 3.5 million farm raised alligators have been sold bringing in millions of dollars of revenue to landowners, trappers and farmers. Conservative estimates have valued these resources at over $704,000,000, providing significant, direct economic benefit to Louisiana.

Commercial trade in alligators is regulated through the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While the alligator is not endangered or threatened anywhere in the U.S., it is listed on Appendix II of CITES due to its similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilian species. CITES requirements are implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). On an annual basis the Department must provide to the USFWS a "finding of no detriment" stating that Louisiana's harvest and export of alligators are not detrimental to the survival of the species.

The Department's alligator program can be separated into three categories: wild alligator management, alligator farming/ranching program and nuisance alligator program.

Responsibilities

Louisiana's wild alligator management program involves:

  • annual coastal nest surveys to index populations
  • calculate 50+ wild alligator harvest quotas
  • execute the annual wild alligator harvest
  • collect, analyze, and interpret necessary data,
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and hunters
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements
  • conduct necessary research activities

Louisiana's alligator farming/ranching program involves:

  • monitor compliance with farm facility requirements
  • facilitate alligator egg collections; set egg harvest quotas and issue permits
  • verify/account for farm inventories and harvest tags
  • process farm-raised alligators for release into wild
  • inspect live alligator and alligator hide shipments
  • collect, analyze and interpret necessary data
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and farmers
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements

Louisiana's nuisance alligator program involves:

  • minimize/alleviate alligator/human conflicts
  • manage a statewide network of nuisance alligator hunters
  • receive and process nuisance alligator complaints
  • assign complaints to nuisance hunters
  • ensure hunter compliance with nuisance alligator policy
  • review and analyze nuisance alligator complaints and harvest data annually

Statewide Environmental Investigations

Statewide Environmental Investigations is part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Habitat Section. Statewide Environmental Investigations is authorized under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and is partially funded by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant.
Technical Assistance
Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff is responsible for reviewing and providing technical comments and mitigation recommendations on all permit applications from state and federal environmental regulatory agencies. Staff members review and comment on approximately 1,600 state and federal permit applications annually. Staff-generated comments and recommendations are designed to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate adverse impacts to Louisiana's fish and wildlife resources. By working with environmental regulatory agencies to incorporate these recommendations into plans or into permit conditions, fish and wildlife habitat losses are avoided, minimized, and/or fully compensated for. As a result, sustainable fish and wildlife communities are conserved.
Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff collaborates with numerous federal, state, and local environmental regulatory agencies, including, but not limited to,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and LDWF's Natural and Scenic Rivers Program. Additionally, staff provides technical assistance to the general public upon request.
Mitigation Banking
Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff also represent LDWF on two mitigation bank Interagency Review Teams (IRT) chaired separately by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' New Orleans District and Vicksburg District. The purpose of the IRT is to provide regulatory review, approval, and oversight of mitigation banks. Mitigation banks are wetlands, streams, or other aquatic resource areas that have been restored, established, enhanced, or preserved for the purpose of providing compensation for unavoidable impacts to aquatic resources. In addition to LDWF and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the IRTs are comprised of representatives from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries Service (New Orleans District only), and Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (New Orleans District only).
Oyster Leasing Areas
Statewide Environmental Investigations also assists in protecting all private oyster grounds and their lessees. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, staff review and approve oyster lease assessments submitted by project applicants prior to the initiation of activities affecting state water bottoms under lease to private parties for oyster production.At the request of Statewide Environmental Investigations' staff, a project applicant can be required to modify the project if the proposed location unnecessarily impacts oyster reef habitat.
Contacts
Kyle Balkum, Biologist Program Manager - 225-765 2819 or kbalkum@wlf.la.gov

Matthew Weigel, Biologist Manager – 985-543-4777 or mweigel@wlf.la.gov

Chris Davis, Biologist - 225-765-2642 or rcdavis@wlf.la.gov
Zachary Chain, Biologist – 225-763-3587 or zchain@wlf.la.gov

Dave Butler, Permits Coordinator - 225-763-3595 or dbutler@wlf.la.gov
 
 

State Wildlife Grant Program in Louisiana

The State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG) Program was created by federal legislation in November 2001. The SWG program was established "for the development and implementation of programs for the benefit of wildlife and their habitat, including species that are not hunted or fished”, with the goal of preventing species from being federally listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The inclusion of species that are not hunted or fished is one crucial aspect of the SWG program, as many of these species previously had no existing source of funding. In fact, the SWG program has now become the primary federal funding source for non-game conservation nationwide. Another crucial aspect of the SWG program is the focus on proactive conservation measures designed to preclude future ESA listings. This is important, as conservation is often more effective and efficient before species undergo declines sufficient to warrant ESA action.

Congress stipulated that each state fish and wildlife agency that wished to participate in the SWG program develop a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy. In response, LDWF developed a comprehensive planning document to establish conservation needs and guide the use of SWG grant funds for the next 10 years. This document, known as the Wildlife Action Plan (WAP), was submitted for approval to the National Advisory Acceptance Team in October 2005 and subsequently approved in December. The WAP is the roadmap for non-game conservation in Louisiana, and must be reviewed and revised every ten years to insure that it remains an effective tool for conservation planning and implementation. For more information see the Louisiana Wildlife Action Plan page.

The SWG program is funded by annual Congressional appropriations. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) apportions these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies based on the land area and population of each state. Since the inception of the SWG program, the state of Louisiana has received $10,678,752 in federal SWG funding, with an apportionment of $708,882 in fiscal year 2011-2012. State Wildlife Grants can be for either implementation of the WAP, or for planning purposes. Planning grants must directly support efforts to modify, revise, or update the WAP; implementation grants encompass all other eligible activities, including the collection of biological data to support planning efforts.

Louisiana has funded 106 projects through the State Wildlife Grants program to date. Funded SWG projects have included biological inventories, ecological research projects, habitat assessment, habitat management, and the development and maintenance of databases.  A wide range of species have benefited from SWG funding in Louisiana, including the Louisiana Black Bear, Bald Eagle, Whooping Crane, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Alligator Snapping Turtle, Mississippi Diamondbacked Terrapin, Calcasieu Painted Crawfish, Louisiana Pearlshell Mussel, and Painted Bunting. For more information on completed and ongoing grants see the Louisiana State Wildlife Grant Projects page.

State Wildlife Grant proposals are accepted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) on an annual basis in the spring, and include projects developed by LDWF personnel, non-governmental organizations, and universities. State Wildlife Grant proposals are reviewed by LDWF's SWG Committee, consisting of 17 biologists, including representatives from both the Office of Wildlife and Office of Fisheries.

For more information about the State Wildlife Grants Program in Louisiana, contact SWG Coordinator Sam Holcomb (sholcomb@wlf.la.gov).

 

Camp Beauregard

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana National Guard
Acreage: 
12,500 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050

Description:
Camp Beauregard Wildlife Management Area is primarily located in northeast Rapides Parish with some acreage in southeast Grant Parish. The area lies approximately eight miles north of Alexandria.
Camp Beauregard is 12,500 acres and is owned by the Louisiana National Guard. The primary use is as a troop training facility. The Louisiana National Guard also manages the timber for commercial production.
The terrain is characterized by gently rolling hills in the upland areas. The Flagon Creek bottom is a frequently flooded hardwood area of about 800 acres. The upland overstory is dominated by pine plantations. There are scattered hardwoods in the hills. Water oak, post oak, hickory, red oak and sweetgum are the most common species in creek bottom areas. The Flagon bottom is a typical bottomland forest with cypress, overcup oak and bitter pecan the dominant overstory species.
The understory development in the upland area varies considerably depending on the degree of overstory closure. Some plantations that have not been recently thinned have little if any understory. Those areas with good understory development support French mulberry, blackberry, greenbrier, yaupon, trumpet creeper, rattan and other browse plants. The Flagon bottom has swamp privet, water elm, mayhaw and swamp snowbell as the more common understory plants.
Game species available for hunting include squirrel, turkey, deer, rabbits, quail, dove, wood duck and woodcock. The only endangered species known to occur on the area is the red-cockaded woodpecker. However, at this time no known active colonies are present.
The areas first function is as a military reservation, therefore there are special regulations applying to use of Camp Beauregard WMA. An annual permit is required as is checking in and out of self-clearing stations on a daily basis. Limited camping is allowed by reservation only. Call (318) 641-3365 for questions about camping. General information is available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360.

Buckhorn

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
11,262 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
318-343-4044
Map: 

Overview:

Size, Location and History

Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area consists of 11,262 acres located 14 miles west of St. Joseph, La. Major access routes to Buckhorn WMA are Louisiana Highways 4, and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. The majority of the area, approximately 8,900 acres, was purchased by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries around 1995. Between 2001 and 2003, approximately 2,362 acres of cultivated farmland were added to the WMA. The majority of this acquisition has been reforested with a portion managed as wetlands.  

Description of Landscape:

The topography is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet M.S.L. Six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes, approximately 200 acres, are located on Buckhorn WMA and all are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River. All of these lakes and bayous receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.

The predominant tree species are willow oak, Nuttall oak, water oak, sweetgum, green ash, persimmon, sugarberry, honey locust, overcup oak, sweet and bitter pecan, elm, cypress, and tupelo gum. The understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, species include palmetto, switchcane, rattan, Rubus sp., Crataegus sp., buttonbush, swamp dogwood, Vitis sp., deciduous holly, Smilax sp., baccharis, poison ivy, and many herbaceous species. Invasive species include trifoliate orange, cattail, water hyacinth, and several other nuisance aquatics.

The most popular game species is white-tailed deer, squirrels/rabbits, with some waterfowl hunting available.  Woodcock, snipe, and raccoon hunting opportunities are also available. Freshwater fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users, but fishing opportunity is limited by lack of available aquatic habitat.

The Louisiana Black Bear frequents this area and reported sightings and nuisance complaints received from adjacent private landowners are on the increase. Black Bear research is ongoing at Buckhorn WMA.

Bald Eagles are observed frequently on this area and nesting is documented in the surrounding area.

Buckhorn WMA is visited by many neo-tropical and shorebird bird species annually and home to large numbers of passerine and wading birds. The areas managed for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds along with the sloughs and waterways offer excellent waterfowl hunting and viewing opportunity. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.

Public Use:

The largest user group of this area is deer hunters. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and several ATV trails that provide access to area users. Several walking trails follow pipelines rights-of-way. Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Four permit stations located at major entrances to the area are provided to meet self-clearance requirements. No camping areas are available on Buckhorn WMA. The one and one-half mile Brushy Lake Nature Trail located adjacent to the Clydesdale Road provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.

Other Public Use:

Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing other common activities include boating, commercial fishing, hiking, birding/sightseeing, horseback riding, berry picking, frogging, raccoon field trials, and crayfishing. A recreational lottery for alligators is allowed each year also.

Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.

Regulations:

Buckhorn (Department Owned – 11,262 Acres, Monroe Office)

 

Boeuf

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
50,971 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
318-343-4044
Map: 

Overview:

Size, Location and History

Boeuf Wildlife Management Area consists of 50,971 acres located 10 miles southeast of Columbia, La. Major access routes to Boeuf WMA are Louisiana Highways 4, 559, 133 and 848. The majority of the area was purchased by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries through the Conservation Fund in three components between 1977 and 1981 totaling 38,444 acres. The Tensas Delta Tract was purchased through the State Duck Stamp Fund and a purchase agreement with TDLC between 1993 and 1998 and totaled approximately 10,000 acres. The remaining acreage, The Topan Tract, was purchased in mid-2000.

Description of Landscape:

The topography is flat and poorly drained with numerous backwater lakes, sloughs, and bayous. The majority of this area is subject to frequent flooding from Boeuf River and Bayou LaFourche. Boeuf River is the only stream and borders the eastern boundary of the management area for approximately 47 miles. Eight bayous are located on the area and their combined length encompasses approximately 30 miles of waterways. There are 26 lakes located on this area totaling approximately 1800 acres. All lakes and bayous at Boeuf are subject to annual overflow. A large portion of Boeuf WMA consists of prior-converted farmland that has been partially reforested in bottomland hardwoods and approximately 4000 acres along with an 1800 acre greentree reservoir are managed extensively in moist soil and shallow water for waterfowl and shorebirds.

The forest overstory is a relatively closed stand of mixed bottomland hardwoods. On the higher elevations the predominant tree species are willow oak, Nuttall oak, post oak, cedar elm, sweetgum, green ash, persimmon, and honey locust. Important species in the lower elevations are overcup oak, bitter pecan, cypress, and tupelo gum. Understory species include rattan, Rubus sp., Crataegus sp., swamp dogwood, Vitis sp., deciduous holly, Smilax sp., baccharis, poison ivy, and many herbaceous species. Invasive species include several nuisance aquatics.

The most popular game species are white-tailed deer, waterfowl, squirrels/rabbits, and turkey.  Dove, woodcock, and snipe hunting opportunities are also available. Several dove fields, planted annually in brown-top millet are available to area users. Freshwater fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users.

The Louisiana Black Bear frequents this area and reported sightings are on the increase.

Bald Eagles are observed frequently on this area and nesting is documented in the surrounding area.

Boeuf WMA is visited by many neo-tropical and shorebird bird species annually and home to large numbers of passerine and wading birds. The areas managed for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds along with the numerous sloughs and waterways offer excellent waterfowl hunting and viewing opportunity.

Public Use:

The largest user group of this area is deer hunters with waterfowl and squirrel hunters following closely. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and numerous ATV trails that provide access to area users. Several walking trails follow pipelines rights-of-way. Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Seven permit stations located at major entrances to the area are provided to meet self-clearance requirements. Three primitive camping areas are available on Boeuf WMA. The three-fourths mile Bayou Crew Nature Trail is located in the interior of the area and Bucks Brake located in the Hebert area contains a rookery that provides resting and nesting habitat for many species of wading birds, egrets, and woodducks that may be viewed in large numbers.

Other Public Use:

Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing other common activities include boating, commercial fishing, hiking, birding/sightseeing, horseback riding, berry picking, frogging, raccoon field trials, and crayfishing. A recreational lottery for alligators is allowed each year also.

Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.

Regulations:

B0euf (Department Owned – 50,971 Acres, Monroe Office)

 

Bodcau

Information
Owned: 
USACOE
Acreage: 
34,355 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050

Description:
Bodcau Wildlife Management Area is located in Bossier and Webster Parishes and derives its name from the major bayou that bisects it from its northernmost point at the Arkansas-Louisiana state line to its southernmost tip nearly 30 miles to the south. The area is located approximately 17 miles northeast of Bossier City. Numerous access routes to Bodcau WMA are available. The primary access to the area is by traveling north on La. Hwy. 157 from Interstate 20 at Haughton to the community of Bellevue and then following the signs. ATV activity is permitted on numerous marked trails.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and a private corporate landowner own Bodcau WMA. The area is long and narrow with an average width of one and one-half miles and consists of approximately 34,355 acres. The dam and flood reservoir were built and their primary function remains to control downstream flooding. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in cooperation with the U. S. Corps of Engineers and the corporate landowner by way of long term licensing agreements manage the wildlife resources and public access on the area.
The area contains a wide range of wildlife habitat ranging from cypress swamps to upland pine and hardwood forests interspersed with grasslands and open fields. Many species of grasses and forbs that are typically found in states west of Louisiana can be found growing in the grassland areas. There are numerous seasonally flooded sloughs, beaver ponds, and large areas of flatland, bottomland, hardwood forests. One unique feature of the area is that the bottomland forest rapidly merges with the upland forest on a series of ridges that extend into the bottomland area.
Dominate tree species in the bottomland forests include bald cypress, water, overcup, willow, and cow oaks. Shortleaf and loblolly pine, white, red, and cherrybark oaks, sweetgum and elm trees dominate upland forests. Understory species in the bottomland area include poison ivy, honeysuckle, rattan, buttonbush and swamp privet. Upland understory species include blackberry, honeysuckle, poison ivy and beautyberry and sawbriar.
Ivan Lake, a man-made reservoir located on Bodcau WMA provides thousands of hours of fishing and small boating recreation. Bodcau Bayou and its? overflow can provide excellent bass and bream fishing in addition to crawfishing opportunities during certain years.
White-tailed deer can be hunted by bow and arrow and modern firearms. The deer herd is considered healthy. Squirrel, rabbits, doves, quail and all other species of small game hunting opportunities exist on Bodcau WMA. Waterfowl hunting opportunities are provided in the 1,600 acre greentree reservoir and in the numerous sloughs and backwater flooded areas. Wild turkey hunting is also allowed during a short spring gobbler season.
The Department manages a rifle range with targets from 25 to 200 yards, a pistol range with 25 and 50 yard targets and a shotgun station. The range is supervised by an approved range officer and is open to the public on regularly scheduled days.
Ongoing habitat management and development on the WMA include prescribed burning, fallow disking, supplement food plantings, waterlevel manipulation and timber harvest. These practices help to provide quality habitat for game and non-game species. Wildlife watching is a very popular year around activity on Bodcau WMA. Non-game species such as great blue herons, several species of hawks, and barred, horned and screech owls are common. Yellow, black and white, yellow-throated, magnolia, prairie and yellow-rumped warblers are regularly seen on the area. Numerous species of reptiles, amphibians and insects can also be seen on the area.
Camping is available at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers improved camping area located on the south end of the area and several primitive camping areas.
Additional information may be obtained from the LDWF, Wildlife Division, 1401 Talton St., Minden, LA 71055.

Biloxi

Information
Owned: 
Biloxi Marsh Land Corporation
Acreage: 
42,747 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
504-284-5264
Map: 
Description:

The Biloxi Wildlife Management Area is located in Upper St. Bernard Parish about 40 miles east of New Orleans. It is accessible only by boat via commercial launches at Hopedale and Shell Beach. The 42,747 -acre tract is owned and leased to the Department by the Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation. The area is a low brackish to saline marsh. A few oak trees are present on old ridges but the major vegetation includes marshhay cord grass, black rush, hog cane, smooth cord grass, saltgrass, glasswort, and three square. Widgeon grass is the main submerged aquatic plant occurring there.

A tremendous number of bayous, sloughs and potholes make the Biloxi tract an excellent producer of fish, shrimp, crabs, waterfowl, and furbearers. The few canal spoil banks and ridges scattered throughout the marsh provide escape for birds and mammals from rising water levels during storms or high tides. Game species hunted on the area include rabbits, rails, gallinules, snipe, ducks, and geese. Major ducks present in winter are lesser scaup, teal, wigeon, gadwall, shoveler, and mottled duck with lesser concentrations of pintail and mallard. Blue and snow geese are normally found on Biloxi although not in large numbers. Fur animals present include nutria, muskrat, mink, raccoon, otter, and opossum. Alligators are also found on the area.

Fish species common on the area include speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, and croaker. Large catches of crabs and shrimp are often taken by both sportsmen and commercial fishermen.

Besides hunting and fishing, other forms of recreation available are boating, crabbing, shrimping, and bird watching.

Vessels/Vehicles:  All Airboats, ATVs/UTVs, motorcycles, horses, and mules are prohibited.  Mud boats or air cooled propulsion vessels can only be powered by straight shaft “long-tail” air-cooled mud motors that are 25 total horsepower or less.  All other types of mud boats or air cooled propulsion vessels, including “surface-drive” boats, are prohibited.

 

Big Lake

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
19,231 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
318-343-4044
Map: 

Overview:

Size, Location and History

Big Lake Wildlife Management Area consists of 19,231 acres located 12 miles east of Gilbert, La. The eastern boundary of Big Lake WMA is contiguous with a portion of the western boundary of Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge, together these areas form one of the largest remaining tracts of the vast bottomland hardwood forests that historically composed the lower Mississippi River floodplain from lower Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. Major access routes to Big Lake WMA are Louisiana Highways 4 and 610. The area was purchased by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries through the Rockefeller Fund in three components between 1983 and 1985; 9,833 acres 1983, 4,888 acres 1984, and 4,510 acres 1985.

Description of Landscape:

The topography is flat with some ridges and generally poorly drained, terrain varies from 55-65 feet M.S.L. Seasonal flooding occurs dependent on water levels within the Tensas River, but periodic flooding may occur anytime after periods of heavy rainfall. Abandoned and active mineral exploration and production sites, roadways, pipelines, and open-water lakes, sloughs, and bayous provide diversity throughout the area. Seven small lakes and six small bayous, approximately 200 acres and 25 miles of waterways, respectively, can be found on the area.

Most of the forested component of the area consists of relatively closed overstory canopy with a fairly dense understory. Major timber species are Nuttall oak, water oak, willow oak, overcup oak, American elm, sweetgum, bitter pecan, honey locust, sugarberry, willow, sycamore, persimmon, cedar elm, red maple, box elder, and cypress. Understory species include rattan, Rubus sp., Crataegus sp., swamp dogwood, Vitis sp., deciduous holly, elderberry, Smilax sp., baccharis, switchcane, poison ivy, and many herbaceous species. Invasive species include trifoliate orange, water hyacinth, and several other nuisance aquatics.

The most popular game species are white-tailed deer, squirrels/rabbits, and turkey. Limited waterfowl and woodcock hunting opportunities are also available. Freshwater fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users.

Big Lake WMA along with Tensas National Wildlife Refuge is home to a thriving population of Louisiana Black Bear. Reported sightings, nuisance complaints of adjacent landowners, and vehicle collisions are steadily increasing and Black Bear research on this entire area is ongoing.

Big Lake WMA is visited by many neo-tropical bird species annually and home to large numbers of passerine birds. This area is recognized by the American Bird Conservancy as an important site. Bald eagles and osprey are observed regularly.

Public Use:

The largest user group of this area is deer hunters. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and numerous ATV trails that provide access to area users. Several walking trails follow pipelines rights-of-way. Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Four permit stations located at major entrances to the area are provided to meet self-clearance requirements. No public camping areas are available on Big Lake WMA, campsites are available to the public for a fee on adjacent private property. The one mile Trusler Lake Hiking Trail is located in the interior of the area.

Other Public Use:

Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing other common activities include boating, commercial fishing, hiking, birdwatching/sightseeing, horseback riding, berry picking, frogging, raccoon field trials, and crayfishing. A recreational lottery for alligators is allowed each year also.

Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.

Regulations:

BIG LAKE (Department Owned - 19,231 Acres, Monroe Office)

 

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