Deer Hunting in Louisiana

Back to All State Reports
  • B
  • 500,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 170,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $29

    Basic hunting and big-game licenses are $29. Bow and primitive firearm license are $10.50 each.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $300

    Basic hunting and big-game licenses are $300. Bow and primitive firearm licenses are $26 each.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 184 6/8"

    Taken by John Lee in Madison Parish in 1943.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 59

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 281 6/8"

    Taken by James H. McMurray in Tensas Parish in 1994 and ranks 18th overall.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 28

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Alex Leblanc killed this big Louisiana stud. (Photo courtesy of Alex Leblanc)

Season Dates (2021):

Louisiana is broken down into 10 deer areas, and rules and regulations vary greatly in each one. Please check the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LDFW) website for specific season dates.

The Grade: B

Louisiana is not known as a deer hunting hotspot, but it's getting better. However, it does offer a good opportunity for success, especially for residents or others with access to private land, or those who’ve spent time scouting the state's abundant public lands. 

Interestingly, in 2017, two of 10 deer areas reduced bag limits. These dropped from no more than three antlered and no more than four antlerless to no more than two antlered and no more than two antlerless. We think that’s a step in the right direction.

“The 2020 harvest was the highest reported harvest in the past 10 years,” said Johnathan Bordelon, deer program manager with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. “There is no reason to think that 2021 can’t offer the same success.”

Fortunately, chronic wasting disease (CWD) hasn’t been discovered here, and hunters should help keep it that way. Plus, last season, the top five states with the highest percentage of 3-plus-year-olds in the herd and harvest were Mississippi (74%), Louisiana (71%), Arkansas (70%), Texas (70%) and Oklahoma (64%). All factors in the balance, we raised Louisiana's grade to a B.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Been asking Santa for a big Louisiana buck? It’s pretty clear where your best odds are located. Some of the best trophy bucks are along the Mississippi River and the parishes within the floodplain. Whitetail numbers and body size are best in the state along the river basin. It has the nutrients and food sources to produce better body sizes and antler development. More specifically, Avoyelles, Concordia, East Carroll, Madison, Natchitoches, Rapides, and Tensas parishes consistently crank out studs. Most of the remaining parishes in the northern half of the state create the next tier of big-buck producers. There are also a few hotspots in the middle of the state, but the coastal areas have a smaller deer population, both in number and in size.

“The Mississippi Alluvial Valley is well known for producing large bodied and large antlered bucks in Louisiana,” Bordelon said. “However, portions of west and northwest Louisiana are often overlooked.  Many of these areas are managed for older age bucks and they produce their fair share.

“The river parishes in Louisiana are well known for producing large bucks and good numbers,” he continued. “Late summer flooding in 2015 and 2019 was a negative for this area due to reduced fawn crops along with forage limitations but conditions have improved. [This season] should be a good year for the river parishes.”

Some of these big southern deer are taken on public land. Certain wildlife management areas (WMAs), conservation areas, national forests, refuges, Army Corps of Engineers, and other property types are open to hunting, totaling more than 1.6 million acres to roam. These are scattered across the state, providing opportunities for hunters to hunt all of the state’s physiographic regions. Sure, some spots are under water (for duck hunting), but pockets of quality deer habitat exist. Use the Louisiana Outdoor Explorer map to find a public hunting spot near you. And don’t forget about lottery hunt opportunities.

Finally, for those with extended time to hunt, the breeding season in Louisiana spans a four-month window, depending on location. The wide range in dates allows hunters to pursue rutting deer over an extended period if they are willing to travel and hunt in the different breeding zones.

Louisiana Harvests

  • Jerome Doucet

    Livonia, Louisiana

From the Realtree Trophy Den