John's Journal...

Louisiana’s Rice Fields for Hunting Ducks and Geese

Day 1: 2015 Louisiana Duck Hunting Means Wearing Lightweight Clothing

Editor’s Note: One of the toughest places in America to hunt early-season waterfowl is Louisiana. The first time I hunted there one November, my guide brought out two cans of industrial strength Yard Guard to keep the mosquitoes out of our blind. Bill Daniels of Hayes, Louisiana, has been hunting the Bayou State for 33 years. He wears Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades because he says, “This camo blends in well with the places we hunt.” This week he’ll tell us how to hunt ducks at the end of the flyway.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewDuck hunting in Louisiana has changed quite a bit. We don’t shoot as many mallards as we have in the past. Primarily, we hunt gray ducks and teal, a few wigeons and quite a few spoonbills. I think one of the reasons we don’t have the opportunity to take as many mallards as we once did is due to our state not having as much cold weather as we have had in the past. Too, there’s a lot more food up north for the ducks to dine on today. The mallards don’t have a reason to fly down here like they have had in the past.

Where I hunt, our duck season started November 7, 2015, and the temperature was in the 70s. We hunted in short sleeve shirts the entire first duck season which ran through December 6, 2015. The second split duck season started December 16th, and I won’t be surprised if we’re still hunting in short sleeve shirts at the end of the season.

We haven’t had a push (migration) of ducks since the first of the season, when the original ducks came down the Mississippi Flyway. So, in December and the first part of January, we’re hunting stale ducks (ducks that have been here for awhile). After the first weekend of duck season, our ducks in Louisiana become highly educated. So, I hold back on my calling. I don’t do a lot of aggressive calling then. Mainly, I depend on feeding chuckles to get the birds to come in to where we are. We only put out six to 10 dozen decoys at the blinds where I guide. Other blinds may be putting out 400 to 600 decoys. Every morning we hunt, we usually get a mixed bag of ducks - a few wigeons, gadwalls, pintails, ring-wing teal and maybe two or three mallards.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI hunt every day of duck season, because I'm the waterfowl guide for a private duck-hunting club called the Lacassine Hunting Club. I've been guiding for the past 15 years. I'm totally into waterfowl. Also, I build duck and goose calls for Riceland Custom Calls ( Although we build quite a few duck calls, I believe our goose calls are some of the best in the world, especially our championship speck goose calls.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Numbers of Ducks and Specklebelly Geese in Louisiana

Check back each day this week for more about Louisiana’s Rice Fields for Hunting Ducks and Geese

Day 1: 2015 Louisiana Duck Hunting Means Wearing Lightweight Clothing
Day 2: Numbers of Ducks and Specklebelly Geese in Louisiana
Day 3: Louisiana’s Specklebelly Geese
Day 4: Hunting Tough Snow Geese
Day 5: Calling the Shots for Waterfowl

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Entry 855, Day 1