Where are the ducks? Local hunter claims less ducks are migrating to Louisiana

Where are the ducks? Local hunter claims less ducks are migrating to Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One of Louisiana's main claims to fame is being a sportsman's paradise.

However, some duck hunters feel nowadays things are much different than they used to be.

Josh Goins, a local duck hunter, said the amount of ducks migrating to Louisiana is disappointing compared to when he was growing up.

"This is the sport we were raised on," Goins said. "I'd say since 1999, we've seen a lack of migration."

"It's been a statement in our lives forever, I'm going to fly south for winter, well the birds aren't flying south for winter until it's already past winter."

Goins said he has a few theories as to why he believes migration is dwindling, a legal practice that allows people to hunt in fields of unharvested crops.

"Unharvested crops to a bird is like a magnet," Goins said. "And if you have a big enough magnet, you can control a big enough concentration of birds."

Goins said it'll take some changes to the current rules to bring the birds back.

That's why he's started his own non-profit organization called the Flyway Federation of Louisiana, with the hopes of gaining support for the cause.

"We have to do something as American taxpayers that are being denied a right to a natural resource," Goins said. "We have to stand up and do something before it gets worse."

We reached out to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries who gave us their latest statistics on population.

While there may have been an increase in some categories of birds this past year, agents tell us there has been a general decline in recent years due to several factors.

Here is a statement from the Waterfowl Program Manager for LDWF, Larry Reynolds:

"It is very difficult to precisely know why fewer ducks or geese are migrating to Louisiana because there are multiple factors influencing it.  We have experienced, and continue to see, loss of extensive coastal wetland habitat; loss of rice acreage and declining food for waterfowl provided by remaining rice fields due to agricultural efficiencies; and expansion of invasive aquatic vegetation like water hyacinth and salvinia that has eliminated waterfowl habitat value over large areas.  Combined with warmer temperatures and changing land uses up and down the Flyway, we would predict fewer waterfowl wintering in Louisiana if everything else remained the same.   Hunters and wildlife managers in other states have, and will continue to do whatever they can to provide habitat for waterfowl for their own benefit, just like we do.  Not only is there little we can do about that, I suspect those influences are less important than large-scale changes in land use and climate, and changes in habitat quality here in Louisiana."

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