They have a decent gene pool and some incredible old growth oak forests that hold some quality deer. Trophy quality hit a peak back in the late 1980's-early90's. I think a couple 180" dear were killed and I know of a buck that weighted 332# (live weight) on a certified scale. The hunting can be very tough mainly due to the endless palmettos that are "dog-hair thick" and over head high in places. The short rifle seasons have been modified the last few years to take place in December. The muzzleloader season is either sex and often produces the best bucks. The rut is prime here after Christmas and into January. Bow hunters have it to themselves for the whole month of January if you have the patience to figure out the deer here. The potential for a quality buck is always in play.
Any good bow hunting only public land??Contributors to this thread:
Mike the Tiger 15-Mar-18
I am an avid bow hunter looking for any refuge's or wma land that is bow only
Many of the NWR's are bow only except some lottery weekends. I used to hunt several of them...Tensas, Cat Island, Lake Ophelia, and Bayou Cocodrie. Haven't hunted them in a few years though. Very few WMA's are bow only, although some have pretty short gun seasons. Just have to look through the WMA regs.
Big Branch NWR is archery only. Heavily pressured though because its such a narrow strip. Hard to get away from anyone. Acadiana Conservation Corridor along I-49 North of Opelousas is as well but sort of the same issue as Big Branch and possibly more so. I have heard of some good deer coming out of there. I believe Laccasine and Atchafalaya Delta WMA are as well.
Bzachary32, Thistlewaite WMA North of Opelousas has restricted areas that for years were off limits to any hunting. They have since relaxed the restriction to allow "bow hunting only" in these areas. The WMA has 11,100 Acres in total. I would guess that this limited area is less than 1% of the total unit. There is camping at "Willie's Campground" a private operation just off exit 27 of I-49. ATV use is limited to handicap and seniors only. This is a plus to the hunter willing to hike in deep to be undisturbed. Game carts are a welcome and useful tool.
Griz, I didn't know that about the restricted areas in Thistlewaite. Wish they'd expand it a bit.:) Ashame about the Palmettos there. When I was a kid my Dad hunted Thistlewaite heavily, back in the '70's. The Palmettos were nothing like they are now. Dang things spread like crazy.
From: Mike the Tiger
Palmettos are bad for deer hunting?