John McCoy is the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette’s award-winning outdoors writer. His "Woods & Waters" page appears weekly in the Sports section of the Sunday Gazette-Mail.
In 32 years of outdoors writing, John has had articles published in Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Bowhunter, North American Whitetail, Hatches and other publications. His works have earned more than 50 state, regional and national awards for writing and photography.
Natural disasters such as hurricanes don’t ordinarily affect wildlife all that much. Hurricane Isaac, which drenched Louisiana last month, apparently did.
Wildlife authorities have dramatically curtailed deer seasons in low-lying areas of the state, where as many as 90 percent of this year’s fawns are feared drowned.
From the Associated Press:
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — More than a month after Hurricane Isaac invaded southern Louisiana, state wildlife biologists confirmed last week that the Category I storm’s surge and heavy rains could have more long-lasting wildlife and habitat effects than much stronger storms bearing names like Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike.
State Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck told the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission that extended periods of high water over 391,000 acres in what he described as “The Maurepas Basin,” likely resulted in fawn mortality as high as 90 percent and light-to-moderate adult deer mortality.
Those estimates, Ribbeck said, forced wildlife biologists and managers to call for a reduction in the seasons lengths and switch in the decade-old either-sex-take allowed to deer hunters.
While the emergency plan the LWFC approved during Thursday’s meeting did not change the structure of the archery-deer season, it altered the primitive and modern firearms seasons throughout this basin and most of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.
The firearms seasons in these areas will be bucks-only, and a reduction of 46 days for Maurepas Basin and more than 60 days for St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes’ deer hunters.