By Chris Berens, D&DH Intern
The future of deer hunting with dogs in the Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana is still in question. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a decision was made this July by the Forest Service Chief’s Office in Washington, D.C. to reverse the Regional Forester’s 2010 decision to ban deer hunting with dogs in the Kisatchie. The reversal pointed out several technical deficiencies that must be reviewed and corrected before a new decision can be made this fall. There will be a period for public comment once the new decision is announced. Deer hunting with dogs in the Kisatchie though, will still not be allowed this coming season.
An article in the Leesville Daily Leader said that many who disagree with the dog-deer hunting ban have cited that the area will lose a large amount of revenue from the hunters that buy fuel, groceries and supplies during the hunting season. Hunters who disagree with the ban point out that deer hunting with dogs is a long-time tradition not only in the Kisatchie, but in many regions of the South. There are currently nine other southern states that allow deer hunting with dogs. However, the article incorrectly states that deer hunting with dogs will be allowed in the Kisatchie this fall.
National Forest Service Regional Forester, Liz Agpaoa, said safety concerns were the main reason she filed the December 2010 ban after an increase in the amount of disputes and offenses that involved dog-deer hunters, the article stated. She made the decision after reviewing an environmental analysis and over 1,200 public comments on the issue. Normal dog-deer hunting is still open in other areas of Louisiana subject to the state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ regulations.