Some hunters who oppose recent action by the U.S. Forest Service to prohibit deer hunting with dogs on Kisatchie National Forest effective with the 2012-2013 hunting season have filed suit in federal court seeking to halt that decision.
The suit seeks an injunction. The paperwork was filed by the Louisiana Sportsmen Alliance LLC, Alexandria Division, and names Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and Elizabeth Agpaoa, Southern Regional Forester with the U.S. Forest Service.
According to court papers, the action aims "to preserve the rights of the members of Plaintiff's hunting organization, and allowing them to continue the ability to hunt deer with dogs on Kisatchie National Forest, as hunters have done for hundreds of years, as irreparable harm will result, for years to come, if hunting is not allowed on Kisatchie National Forest for the 2012 season."
In court papers, the hunters also claim that the U.S. Forest Service's reasoning for the prohibition does not meet the appropriate measures under law.
The U.S. Forest Service ruled that hunting deer with dogs will be prohibited in the Kisatchie National Forest effective with the 2012-2013 hunting season.
According to a Forest Service news release, the decision is a "federal action" and overrules the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission which previously approved deer season dates for Kisatchie that included nine days in December 2012 for deer hunting with dogs.
"All deer season dates within the KNF for the 2012-2013 season are now still hunting only and no special federal or state deer hunting permit is required," the release states.
Federal officials have said that the remaining deer season dates, within the Catahoula (Grant and Rapides parishes), Winn (Winn, Grant and Natchitoches parishes), Kisatchie Ranger Districts (Natchitoches Parish), and the Evangeline Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District (Rapides Parish), include the following:
Firearms, either sex: Nov. 23, still hunt only
Firearms, bucks only: Nov. 3-22 and 24-25, Dec. 15-30, still hunt only.
Officials said the public is advised that the deer hunting "with or without dogs" dates listed for the Kisatchie National Forest in the printed 2012-2013 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet are "no longer valid."
Officials said a revised version of the booklet is available on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) website with all deer season changes included. To access that document, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations.