Deer hunters in Louisiana have finally gotten some resolution to an age old quandary.

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That question regards the ethics and confliction with Louisiana law regarding the retrieval of a mortally wounded animal during previously disallowed "hunting hours" or with previously disallowed weapons.

To elaborate on that, let me paint a picture. It's Archery Season and you've just arrowed a nice buck late in the evening. On inspection, you discover a good blood trail which goes on for a couple hundred yards when the blood just stops.


Is that the end of the search? Can you call in a blood tracking dog even though it's not dog hunting season? What if you find the deer long after dark? Can you dispatch the deer even though it's after official "hunting hours?" Do you have to finish the job with your bow or can you use a firearm, even though it's not officially "firearm season?"

Well, to clarify that situation, Governor Jeff Landry has just signed Act 272 into law that will be effective August 1 this year.

From Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries
From Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries

Act 272 is an act that recognizes the ethical obligations of a hunter to recover game they have taken and provides for a legal method to do so. It allows a licensed hunter or tracker to pursue a deer that was legally shot and mortally wounded, to utilize lights and a blood-trailing or tracking dog, and then dispatch the deer with a handgun if the deer is found alive. This does not include LDWF Wildlife Management Areas.

Certain restrictions apply to this activity to prevent the unlawful use of dogs to hunt deer and nighttime hunting activity.

  • No more than one dog may be used per tracking party in pursuit of the wounded deer. However, a second dog may be utilized for the purpose of deer retrieval training.
  • Tracking dogs shall be on a handheld leash or utilize a GPS tracking collar.
  • Any mortally wounded deer discovered alive after legal hunting hours may be dispatched by the licensed hunter or tracker by using a centerfire handgun with a barrel no longer than six inches caliber no larger than .45 or smaller than .25.
  • The licensed hunter or tracker may pursue a mortally wounded deer onto private property only if he has received verbal or written permission from the landowner.

Wild Animals Illegal To Keep As Pets in Louisiana

While a person might consider it novel to keep lions, tigers or bears as a pet in Louisiana, they are among the list of wild animals forbidden to be kept by private citizens as pets. These are just some those animals Louisiana law completely forbids from ownership.

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