Louisiana Deer:  An estimated population of 500,000 deer in 2016, about 480,000 in 2015 and 450,000 in 2014 , down from about 625,000 in 2011.  The population has been on a downward trend since 2000, a result of habit loss to farming and urban development, also competition and fawn predation by wild hogs.  An estimated 650,000 deer in 1989.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Louisiana deer harvest data and news archive.

Louisiana Deer News

LDWF announces regulation on transport of deer carcasses February 23, 2017 Louisiana,  KATC.com
... Cervid's, as defined by LDWF, are animals including but not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer.  The ban on the cervid importation is to reduce the risk of CWD [chronic wasting disease] transfer in the current Louisiana deer population...

Proposed 2017-2018 hunting seasons January 21, 2017 Louisiana, The Advocate
... the season limit in State Deer Areas 4 and 10 will be lowered (from six per season) to three with a limit of no more than two antlered or two antlerless deer ...

Five men nabbed for host of deer-hunting violations, LDWF says January 9, 2017 Louisiana, The Times-Picayune
... Failing to comply with deer-tagging requirements and hunting without non-resident and big-game hunting licenses each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 30 days in jail for each offense... The men may also face civil restitution totaling $4,872 for three illegally taken deer...

Big changes likely for Louisiana's 2017 hunting seasons January 6, 2017 Louisiana, NOLA.com
... in deer-hunting Areas 4 and 10, where hunters would see their season limit drop from six to three... proposed at the request of hunters ...

Night hunters busted selling deer meat, LDWF says January 4, 2016 Louisiana, The Times-Picayune
... admitted to shooting 11 deer at night and two other deer during the day ... Louisiana law restricts hunters to six deer per season...

Louisiana: First verified cougar sighting since 2011 December 21, 2016 Connecticut Post
... no way to tell whether the animal photographed in northeast Louisiana is a wild animal or an escaped illegal pet ...

Have there ever been elk in Louisiana? December 16, 2016 Louisiana, Herald-Guide
... The eastern elk sub-species lived throughout much of the eastern U.S. According to H. E. Anthony’s authoritative Field Book of North America Mammals (1935) the elk’s native range was between 35˚ and 50˚ N. Latitude.  North Louisiana lies a few degrees south of this region...

Deer hunting with dogs spans generations December 10, 2016 Louisiana, The Advocate
... other than a brief firestorm caused when rabbit hunters believed extended deer seasons were squeezing them from their hunting seasons, there has been no bigger hunting issue in Louisiana during the past 25 years than hunting deer with dogs...

Chronic Wasting in deer population November 13, Louisiana, KTBS
... Kate Hasapes Biologist La. Dept. Of Wildlife and Fisheries says "The scary thing with Chronic Wasting Disease is that it is similar to Mad Cow in the way that affects deer but with Mad Cow is primarily found in the brain and the spinal column while Chronic Wasting Disease is found throughout the entire deer....  testing for the disease is fully under way in Louisiana with no diagnosed cases to date ...

Beating a dead horse November 6, 2016 Louisiana, The Times and Democrat
... When coyotes first invaded the state at the turn of the century, many experts, including DNR, predicted they would have minimal impact on turkey and deer populations. To its credit, DNR finally admitted it was wrong.  The public stance now is that coyote predation is such a drain on deer populations that hunters must now take less deer...

NOLA.com
... Hunting deer is illegal in Orleans Parish, and hunting deer at night is illegal everywhere in the state. ... two men hunting deer after dark ...

... The $750,000 total offering will support forestland restoration and working forests throughout the piney woods on the Louisiana-Texas border.  ... “Bobwhite quail, the Eastern wild turkey, white tail deer and a whole host of migratory birds will benefit from this effort.” ... 

Louisiana Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game & Fish
... a restocking program that, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, began in 1949 and ended in 1969.  Current estimates suggest that nearly 500,000 deer are found in Louisiana today, which is a significant improvement considering that an estimated 20,000 animals were present in the mid 1920s...

Deer populations unsustainable with CWD, study shows September 23, 2016 Louisiana, The Times-Picayune
... A team of researchers, led by Ph.D. graduate student David Edmunds, studied deer populations in a region of Wyoming that has been impacted by chronic wasting disease ... discovered, however, is that CWD caused a 10.4 percent annual decline in the region's deer herd...

Hunting outlook promising for squirrels and deer September 14, 2016 Louisiana, Bastrop Daily Enterprise
... “The wet year we’ve had so far should be good for deer hunters. Not only will deer have access to a good crop of acorns but the plenteous moisture has kept the vegetation green, palatable and more nutritious than when conditions are dry,” ..,

A new crop of wildlife, a new hunting season September 12, 2016 Louisiana, Louisiana Sportsman
... Northwest Louisiana continues to lead the state in deer harvest numbers, and the season structure of every day being a doe day remains in effect. The buck limit was reduced years ago in an effort to increase the state herd’s adult buck age structure, and this seems to be working...

Commission softens, delays deer-importation ban September 2, 2016 Louisiana, The Times-Picayune
... The proposed regulation is designed to keep a malady fatal to deer out of Louisiana [chronic wasting disease] ... Courville told his fellow commissioners that as the law was written, it would have been impossible for Louisiana hunters who travel to Texas to be legal...

Deer, oysters top wildlife commission meeting September 1, 2016 Lousiana, The Advocate
... the “Cervid Carcass Ban Notice” was slated to become rule some time during the deer hunting season... the amendment put a March 1, 2017, effective day for any new rule covering the importation ban...

... Deer in areas around Baton Rouge and in the Atchafalaya Basin ,,, breed much later in the rutting season than others... Long-retired Wildlife and Fisheries’ biologists reasoned years ago the deer along the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers adopted this timetable so their young-of-the-year would be born after the threats of spring floods from these two giant rivers...

State's efforts to fight CWD in deer August 28, 2016 Louisiana, American Press
... has not been found in Louisiana but has been discovered in the bordering states of Texas and Arkansas. During a 10-year period the LDWF has checked more than 7,000 deer ... An importation ban on carcasses of animals of the Cervidae family (white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer) harvested out of state has been proposed ...

... "In the bottomland hardwoods, most of the deer breeding occurs in December and January. In that area, we typically see lactation rates in the 60s. For that to drop into the 40s, that's eye-opening." ... Certainly predation is a consideration, but when you see a 30-point drop from one year to the next, that doesn't indicate predation ... disease could be the chief culprit ...

Study finds only 30 percent of fawns survive predators August 23, 2016 Louisiana, NOLA.com
... "If you live in the woods, your chances of predation are pretty low. If you live in or around a field edge, your chances of predation are pretty high." That would seem to be counterintuitive, but Bordelon said the thick growth along field edges and in young forested areas attracts rodents, which are like candy for predators...

...  the state's proposal to ban all deer and other cervid carcasses from entering the Bayou State. ... "We're gonna lose a lot of money; it's going devastate our ranch and our business," said Dale Sharp, manager of Plug Nickle Ranch in Menard, Texas... 

... you will not be able to “quarter” a deer and bring it back, and it will be illegal to return from an out-of-state hunt with a trophy to have mounted in Louisiana... an animal afflicted with CWD carries the disease in its brain ...

Louisiana's deer harvest sees a rebound August 19, 2016 The Times-Picayune
... The department estimates that overall, Louisiana's hunters took 156,000 deer during the 2015-16 season. That's a nice rebound from the previous season's take of 140,000 deer, but it's significantly below harvest levels from 1990 through 2003. Every year during that time period, hunters took more than 200,000 deer... The 2009, 2011 and 2012 droughts could still be impacting deer populations ...

Deer success down on Louisiana's WMAs August 18, 2016 The Times-Picayune
... Success during 2015 managed either-sex hunts on WMAs was the worst of the last decade. Overall, it took 17.4 hunter efforts to produce each deer. The worst season of the previous decade, 2009, required only 10.6 efforts per deer... In all, hunters scored 1,332 deer during managed hunts on the state's WMA ...

... Rescuers are encouraged to contact the LDWF if they spot a displaced fawn so officers can investigate the situation and determine if the animal needs help... Louisiana residents and rescuers can contact LDFW about animal sightings, here...

Louisiana releases top-20 parishes for deer productivity August 18, 2016 NOLA.com
... Most of the parishes listed in the top 20 for productivity are located in North, Central or West Louisiana...

Public opinion sought on deer-importation ban August 10, 2016 Louisiana, NOLA.com
... keep hunters from bringing into the state caped deer heads that they plan to have mounted, as well as other deer parts. The move is designed to limit the state's exposure to chronic wasting disease... six public meetings ...

Judge hits deer poachers with nearly $40,000 in fines August 2, 2016 Louisiana, NOLA.com
... ordered two men to pay a total of $38,776 for going on a deer-killing spree earlier this year... The two men would drive around at night on public roads looking for deer to shoot...

... have checked 7,000-plus deer and have not discovered it. We are being proactive because it's in our neighboring states (Texas and Arkansas) and its close enough that we need to be on guard.''... An importation ban on carcasses of cervids harvested out-of-state was proposed [PDF] ...

LWF Commission mulling ban on out-of-state deer carcasses July 11, 2016 Louisiana,  Louisiana Sportsman
... The measure is being considered as  means to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in the state’s deer herd ...  It persists in the environment. So once you have it, it’s never going to go away... White-tailed deer in Texas and Arkansas have tested positive for the disease ...

Kill a trophy buck? You may have to leave it out of state July 8, 2016 Louisiana, The Times-Picayune
... a proposal that would make it illegal for hunters to transport certain deer parts into Louisiana. That would include the brain and spinal column, which many hunters leave on bucks they intend to bring to taxidermists for mounting... designed to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease into the state ...
     Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Adopts NOI to Establish Rules, Regulations for Importation of Cervid Carcasses July 7, 2016 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - Louisiana.gov
... this regulation would be an additional effort aimed at preventing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) ... o view the full notice of intent, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

2016-17 Louisiana Hunting Regulations  Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
... Major Changes for 2016-2017 Hunting Regulations ... Incorporation of former Deer Area 5 into Deer Area 1 and the creation of a new Deer Area 5 within the levee protection system of the Atchafalaya Basin... Implementation of mandatory hunter check-in for either-sex firearms deer hunts on several WMAs, including Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Big Lake, Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Grassy Lake, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage, and Sherburne... Modification of allowable weapons to be carried for protection purposes on WMAs...

Stray dog protects American Rose Center gardens June 7, 2016 Louisiana, KSLA-TV
... Rosie is a stray [border collie] who showed up at the gardens a few years ago, and she has taken it upon herself to protect the gardens. The working dog may look timid, but she has corralled deer and shooed away various wildlife over the past few years from eating the precious plants...

Suit challenges ban on hunting deer with dogs May 21, 2016 Louisiana, Amarillo Globe-News
... The Louisiana Sportsmen Alliance is asking a judge to block the U.S. Forest Service from enforcing its ban on dog-deer hunting in central Louisiana’s 600,000-acre Kisatchie National Forest... 

...  many wildlife professionals recommend there should be five to 10 acres of permanent natural clearings for every 100 acres of timberland  — and they don’t mean just one five-or one 10-acre clearing.  The individual clearings should each range from one to a maximum of three acres in size...

 ... claims the U.S. Forest Service ... arbitrarily tramples on the state’s “cultural fabric” by eliminating a tradition that dates back to colonial times...

The tale of the tape for the 2015-16 deer season May 12, 2016 Louisiana, Louisiana Sportsman
... Most hunters would rate the 2015-16 deer season as one to forget. Warm temperatures and an abundant mast crop made for poor deer activity and hunter success ...

Louisiana hunters can wear 'blaze pink' under new law May 9, 2016 NOLA.com
... Act 7 allows people to wear blaze pink in addition to hunter orange during the open gun hunting season...

...The Louisiana Legislature enthusiastically sent House Bill 179 to Edwards desk Monday (April 25). It would allow people to wear "blaze pink" in addition to "hunter orange" during the open gun hunting season...

LDWF monitoring for CWD in state’s white-tailed deer population April 8, 2016 Louisiana, Louisiana Sportsman
...  the disease has already entered both Texas and Arkansas, and the state has developed a plan in the event it eventually is found here.  “We’ve been monitoring for CWD statewide for more than 10 years, and have checked 7,000-plus deer and have not discovered it,” ...

Louisiana Data: An estimated 500,000 deer in 2016.  About 480,000 deer in 2015 and about 450,000 in 2014 based on harvest data.  A relatively wet year in 2016 into September provided good access to food an increasing the population.  Spring rains in 2015 contributed to fawn survival, but drought in the fall stressed populations followed by flooding in late 2015 into 2016 that displaced many deer.  The good mast crop in 2015 helped deer with good nutrition.  A major habit improvement effort in 2015 with planting of native oaks, cypress, ash, gum and pecan trees in bottomland and swamp forests.  The deer harvest fell by 16% in 2014.  The population has been trending down since about 2000.  The explosion of feral hogs that complete for food, kill fawns, and push deer out of some areas is thought to be a significant cause, also the loss of habitat as rural areas are opened for farming or urban development.  Coyotes have also reduced the herd.  Rain and a good acorn crop in 2013, but the population was down by about 20 percent from 2007.  
     The outbreak of  Hemorrhagic Disease in 2012-13 reduced the herd significantly in some areas and there were also reports of the disease in 2015.  Some hunting areas were changed to reduce hunting pressure.  Populations in the southeast were severely impacted by high water from Hurricane Isaac in 2012 with 90 percent fawn mortality in some areas.  State wildlife officials estimated 500,000 to 750,000 deer in the state in 2011 (about 625,000).  Sever drought and high temperatures reduced the herd in 2011
     In 2014, 273,541 hunters took 139,900 deer. The deer population is higher in the north.  Hunting Statistics LDFW has changed some deer hunting regulations to support herd growth. Rainfall prior to 2015 had been lower than average for about a decade, reducing foliage and contributing to the decline of the herd.  An estimated 1989 population of 650,000.  Graphic at right from LDFW 2015 report, click to enlarge.  
     Populations were hunted very low levels in the first half of the 1900's, the 1920 population estimated at 20,000.  A restocking program to rebuild the herd began in 1949 and ran through 1969.  

Report Poaching: Tips can be made anonymously through a toll-free hotline — 1-800-442-2511.


Mission Statement: "To manage, conserve, and promote wise utilization of Louisiana's renewable fish and wildlife resources and their supporting habitats through replenishment, protection, enhancement, research, development, and education for the social and economic benefit of current and future generations; to provide opportunities for knowledge of and use and enjoyment of these resources; and to promote a safe and healthy environment for the users of the resources." From About About LDWF and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheriries Strategic Plan

Deer Management Objectives:
Each WMA (Wildlife Management Area in the state) has a federal-aid management plan developed by Region biologists and deer are important features of most of these plans. Managed deer hunts are held each year to allow the harvest of surplus deer and prevent habitat damage resulting from overbrowsing. Biological data collected from harvested deer provide a basis for assessment of population health. Seasons are generally shorter on public lands than on private lands because WMAs receive higher hunter use over a shorter period of time than private lands. The Forestry Section of the Wildlife Division has developed a forest management plan for each WMA to insure proper management of the forested habitat. These plans in combination with deer browse surveys are used to assess current and predict future deer habitat conditions.