Louisiana: Field Day Features Wildlife Management Info

A white-tailed buck contemplates which deer forage research plot to browse next at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Overton. The fenced enclosures prevented deer from having 100 percent access to each variety plot in the trial so season forage growth can be measured, said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Overton. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Attendees of a recent field day at the LSU AgCenter Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station heard presentations and saw demonstrations on wildlife management.

The event, held on April 29, was hosted by the AgCenter, the Quality Deer Management Association and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The three organizations have jointly organized events for several years, representing a partnership that is instrumental in extending science-based information to the public, said AgCenter associate vice president Phil Elzer.

“Being in the Sportsman’s Paradise, it is important to provide programming on forages, taxidermy, butchering, feral hog control and other topics that play into wildlife management,” Elzer said. “We are happy to help put on this field day because it teaches some of the best ways to handle these issues.”

Emile LeBlanc, retired coordinator of the LDWF Deer Management Assistance Program, told about a state regulation that went into effect in March to prevent chronic wasting disease from spreading into Louisiana. The disease, which causes brain damage and ultimately death in deer, has been identified in other states, including Arkansas and Texas.

Hunters are now banned from bringing deer carcasses from other states into Louisiana unless certain conditions are met. It is OK to bring antlers, capes, cleaned skull plates and teeth, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts, and cut-and-wrapped or deboned meat into the state.

LDWF veterinarian Jim LaCour talked about diseases that feral hogs carry, including brucellosis, which is infectious to other animals and people. Wearing gloves and protective glasses when cleaning meat, disinfecting utensils and cooking meat to 165 degrees will help protect people from brucellosis, he said.

Feral hogs can carry pseudorabies, which is not contagious to humans but is often fatal to dogs that contract it, LaCour said. He also advised checking feral hog meat for worms, which could be a sign of trichinosis, a parasitic disease that makes people sick if they eat infected meat.

LaCour said his agency and others continue to study options to control the ever-growing feral hog population. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry recently canceled the state registration for Kaput, halting potential sales of the poison until more research can be done on how it affects other animals and feeding systems can be improved.

“We definitely know we need a poison for pigs, and Kaput may be fine, but we need more information,” LaCour said.

Also at the field day:

  • Research associates Manuel “Boo” Persica and Phillip Alford, who work in the AgCenter meat lab on the LSU campus, demonstrated how to butcher a feral hog.
  • Glen Gentry, resident coordinator of the Idlewild station, showed attendees three types of feral hog traps that people can check out from the station for a fee. He also gave an update on his ongoing work to develop a sodium nitrite-based feral hog bait.
  • Dave Moreland, retired administrator of the LDWF Wildlife Division, explained how to conduct a browse survey to identify plants that are available for deer to eat. The surveys can help people make better herd and habitat management decisions.

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