Louisiana Deer Population:   A state estimate of about 600,000 deer in 2023.  About 545,000 deer in 2019 and 2018, up from 540,000 in 2017 based on harvest data.   A state estimate of nearly 500,000 deer in 2016.  About 560,000 in 2015 and 520,000 in 2014, down from about 625,000 in 2011.  A record wet year in 2017 resulting in a population increase into 2018.  Droughts in 2009, 2011 and 2012 reduced populations into 2014. 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.   A peak population of about one million around 1996.  An estimated 650,000 deer in 1989.  


Louisiana Deer News

Court documents reveal details of deer trading conspiracy ahead of final sentencing April 19, 2024 Louisiana, Daily Leader

... Two Louisiana men charged with conspiracy to trade live-white tailed deer ... The final fine was half of the maximum penalty of $10,000. Favre will have to implement a four-year Chronic Wasting Disease sampling and testing plan on an 850-acre enclosure and will have to pay $59,808.19 in restitution for the costs conducted by the MDWFP ...

LWFC Adopts Amendments to 2024-25 Hunting Regulations Notice of Intent March 13, 2024 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries 

... Included in the amendments were alterations to deer hunting season dates in Deer Area 2, language pertaining to legal firearms on Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), the use of dogs to track mortally wounded deer on private lands ... see the information

A disease that's killing deer is on the rise in Louisiana February 12, 2024 NOLA.com

... chronic wasting disease ... There have now been 19 confirmed Louisiana cases of the disease, officials said Friday ... first confirmed case in January 2022 ..,

LDWF agents use deer decoy to cite Charenton man January 24, 2024 Louisiana, katc

... Agents set up surveillance on a deer decoy they placed near the town of Baldwin ... observed Know fire a .22 rimfire rifle from the window of the truck, striking the deer bait...

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set hunting regulations and rules for 24-25 January 9, 2024, KTVE

... proposed changes are listed below:  Prohibition of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) for the recovery of deer and bears that are not mortally wounded... [more information]

Late-season deer hunting success December 22, 2023 Louisiana Sportsman

... ... The current deer population in Louisiana is estimated at 600,000 animals in total. This estimate is based on known harvest data and the Population Reconstruction estimate process. Deer harvest data is compiled through DMAP programs, public land mandatory check data, and harvest tags...[Johnathan Bordelon, Deer Program Manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries]

NELA hunters urged to test deer heads for Chronic Wasting Disease December 13, 2023 Louisiana, Monroe-El Dorado KNOE TV 8

...  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is urging Northeast Louisiana hunters to test any deer heads they harvest for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). There are 13 free CWD Testing Collection points located throughout the NELA region...

Beauregard wildfires have little impact on hunting season, deer population November 9, 2023 Louisiana, Lake Charles KPLC

... “While it is still early, we are only second to the record of 2022, so things are looking pretty good,” Bordelon said... this is likely due to the parish’s timber industry. Timber harvesting and thinning allows for more sunlight to hit the ground, promoting plant growth that deer forage for..,

Deer season means hunters on CWD watch October 14, 2023 Louisiana, The Advocate

...  CWD has spread from the Tensas Parish “hot zone” where nearly a dozen CWD-infected deer have been found during the past 20 or so months...  infected deer found in Issaquena County, Mississippi, in 2018 started Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries wildlife managers and the agency’s veterinarian, Jim LaCour, to activate our state’s CWD Response Program ..,

How Hurricanes Affect Deer Populations And Movement  Georgia October 5, 2023 Louisiana, Outdoor News

... Louisiana State University and Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries found no evidence that the 57 deer marked for research were affected by three tropical systems in the coastal marshes of Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta during 2007-2012...

Drought affecting Louisiana wildlife September 21, 2023 Louisiana, The West Side Journal

...  77 percent of the state experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions... Drought affects the growth of plants used by deer for food and cover... has been linked to increased bluetongue virus (BT) and epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreaks..,

Heat, drought bode ill for hunters August 26, 2023 Louisiana, The Advocate

...  Deer and squirrels rely on acorns and other nuts to sustain their diets... The lack of rainfall leads to low production ... and predicts lower reproduction for the next season... The lack of rain also reduces the quality of understory, the leafy greens and berry-producing plants ...

LWFC Modifies CWD Control Area to Include Portion of Concordia Parish June 1, 2023 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - Louisiana.gov

... The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) has modified the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Control Area in northeast Louisiana to include a small portion of northeast Concordia Parish... The move was necessitated due to detection of the disease further south in Tensas Parish. Louisiana has detected 12 CWD positive deer, all in Tensas Parish, since January of 2022..,

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issued Monetary Rewards at May Meeting May 22, 2023 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

... The LOGT board reviewed 19 cases that included public tips from informants.  A total of 29 subjects were apprehended and a total of 92 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.  The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of turkey, deer, migratory game bird and fishing cases...

Eleven Deer Tested Positive for CWD During 2022-23 Hunting Season April 21, 2023 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

... Eleven deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Tensas Parish during the 2022-23 hunting season, bringing Louisiana’s total to 12 cases since the discovery of the disease in January of 2022 ... 2,370 hunter-harvested deer were tested ..,

LWFC Approves Notice of Intent to Amend DMAP Regulations for Chronic Wasting Disease April 6, 2023 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries - Louisiana.gov

... The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a Notice of Intent (NOI) to amend Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) regulations pertaining to the detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD)... The amendment will increase CWD management capacity to hunters in close proximity to a positive detection  ... 

Louisiana Deer Archive:    Population and Management, Deer in the News,   Disease

Louisiana data:  An estimate from the state of about 600,000 deer in total in 2023Drought and heat in 2023 reduced deer populations.  In their 2019 report the state re-estimated the deer harvest for 2012 to 2018.  Using this data and commentary summarized below, gives an estimate of 545,000 deer in 2019 and 2018, up somewhat from 540,000 in 2017.  The state estimated nearly 500,000 deer in 2016.  Using harvest data gives an estimate of 560,000 deer in 2015;  and 520,000 in 2014  For 2019 good rainfall increased fawn survival in the spring, but historic flooding later in the year reduced populations in some areas with poor fawn survival into 2020 due to poor food availability.   Does were about 10 pounds lighter in 2020 than in 1993-93.  Doe tag numbers were reduced to allow the population to rebound.  

A 2020 study concluded the deer population in the Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge could not sustain even light hunting given the recovery of bear populations.  In 2020, as a result of clouds of mosquitos in the southwest, "deer were reported to be "anemic and bleeding under their skins from all the bites ... exhausted from constantly moving in an attempt to avoid being bit."  The state wildlife agency requested emergency funding in 2020 having been cut off from state support for two decades and relying on license fees and oil revenues.

Adequate rainfall in 2018 and an improvement in lactation rates indicate an increase  in the deer population.  The record wet year in 2017 increased deer numbers, but a long term decline in was attributed to reduced habitat, an increase in wild hogs competing for food, and not enough adult bucks in the population -- dominated by 1.5 year olds.   A relatively wet year in 2016  provided good access to food in some areas but devastating floods in ohter areas reducing 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 and reduced hunter success.  A major habit improvement effort in 2015 with planting of native oaks, cypress, ash, gum and pecan trees in bottomland and swamp forests.  A reduction in the buck limit to increase the adult buck average age is thought to have improved deer numbers.  The deer harvest fell by 16% in 2014.  Rain and a good acorn crop in 2013, but the population was down by about 20 percent from 2007.  

Droughts in 2009, 2011 and 2012 reduced populations into 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.  Low fawn survival and potential disease causing low lactation rates.  Heavy doe harvest.

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.  A minimum population estimate of 500,000 in 2012.

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).  Severe drought and high temperatures reduced the herd in 2011.  Source of graphic below:  LDWF.     

In 2014, 273,541 hunters took 139,900 deer. The deer population is higher in the north.  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.   A minimum population estimated at 500,000 in 2012.  The population trend was lower for the previous five years as a result of less timber cut reducing deer forage an cover, wild hogs, drought in 2012 and 2011, and floods in 2011.  A population estimate of 750,000 in 2009.

 A peak population of about one million (Moreland, 1996) with a peak harvest of about 267,000 in 1997.  An estimated 1989 and 1990 population of 650,000. 

Chronic Wasting Disease:  Discovered first on January 28th, 2022, in an adult buck harvested in Tensas Parish.  A second case detected on December 29, 2022, in Tensas Parish about four miles from Louisiana’s first positive.  More cases in early 2023, seven positives were detected in January on one piece of private property in Tensas Parish.  For the 2022-23 hunting season there were 11 deer testing positive brining the total positives to 12.  In early 2018, 118 deer reported tested with no positives, more than 360 deer in 2015 and 2016.  Testing continued into 2020 and 2021, but found in nearby Arkansas in December, 2021.  As of December, 2021, more than 12,000 deer had been tested with no positives.

History:  LDWF estimates 400,000 deer in the state prior to colonization.  Several hundred thousand deer in 1700, but in the late 1800s and early 1900s hunting, particularly by hide hunters, decimated the herd.  Large scale timber cuts reduced habitat.  Populations fell to their lowest levels around 1915 to 1925 estimated at 20,000 to 70,000.  A restocking program to rebuild the herd began in 1949 and ran through 1969.  

 Population Estimates:  67,000 in 1940, 200,000 in 1968.  About 1 million around the year 2000 and 500,000 to 700,000 in 2011.

Mountain Lion:  A sighting in 2011 and 2016.

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