With the 2023 Louisiana dove season set to begin in another week, the minds of area hunters have started to drift off to deer stands, duck blinds, and much cooler days.

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However, the question of "where" to hunt has gotten to be one of the biggest snags preventing some of these hunters from pursuing their passion.  Long ago in Louisiana it seemed as though hunting areas were limitless. If a piece of property wasn't posted then it was essentially fair game for hunting.

Duck Shooting Season In New Zealand
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Those days are long gone and unless a hunter is fortunate enough to be born into a family with a large tract of privately owned property, there are only a couple of options available to enjoy the passion of hunting.

Option #1

One option is to join some type of hunting lease. Be it a duck lease or deer lease, this has become the most widely used option. However, there are some drawbacks to hunting leases.

On occasion things can get somewhat political. There appears to be two sets of rules. One set for the general membership and another set for the founders or executive members of the club.

The other drawback has only come about in the past five or six years. Hunting leases have gotten increasingly expensive. With most hunting clubs utilizing land owned by major timber companies, these clubs are at the mercy of these corporations and their perceived value of their hunting rights. One company doing business in North Louisiana has established that their hunting rights will go up by a full 10 percent each year with no end in sight. This means that the hunter who is currently paying $1,000 per year to hunt on one of these properties will be paying $2,000 to hunt the same property in ten years.

Father and daughter hunting

Because of the increasing cost for these hunting rights, many have said that hunting has become a "rich man's sport."

I can see where that argument might hold true for those enjoying the "exclusive hunting rights" on the leased property, but there is another option that some are either unaware of or just haven't thought about.

Option #2

That option is hunting public land. And here in Northwest Louisiana we have literally thousands and thousands of acres of public lands available for hunting. These Wildlife Management areas are conveniently located and free to hunt. However, those wishing to utilize these areas must abide by specific rules for each and according to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, must have the following:

All visitors must have a WMA Access Permit, Senior Hunting/Fishing License, Louisiana Sportsman's Paradise License, or a Lifetime Hunting/Fishing License to visit an LDWF WMA, Refuge, or Conservation Area, including Shooting Ranges, for any reason—boating, hiking, bird watching, berry picking, fishing, hunting, shooting, etc. The WMA Access Permit only covers access onto the property—it does NOT convey hunting or fishing privileges. Beginning July 1, 2022, all visitors must also comply with self-clearing permit guidelines.

All visitors must also comply with self-clearing permit guidelines.

Just look at all the public hunting grounds available right here in Northwest Louisiana.

WMA's and Public Hunting Lands in Northwest Louisiana

Northwest Louisiana is home to a number of public hunting grounds and surprisingly, some of these areas are conveniently located and used very little. See what we have found.

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