June 21, 2016 – Good fortune smiled twice on Steven Ray of Simsboro the morning of Dec. 19, 2015. It was the day he harvested the biggest deer of his life and also earned first prize in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Validate to Win Contest.
Ray’s deer, the only one he took during the 2015-16 season, measured 19 ¾ inches wide, 14 inches high and had seven points. He also came away with a Thompson Center breech loading rifle complete with a scope and case, the grand prize provided by Bowie Outfitters in the Validate to Win Contest. Four other hunters will be selected to receive lifetime hunting licenses provided by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.
One of the key components in LDWF’s Deer Management Program is hunters reporting each harvested deer to LDWF, as required by Louisiana hunting regulations. During the 2015-16 deer season, Louisiana deer hunters had the added incentive provided by the Validate to Win Contest.
Hunters needed only to validate each tag for each deer harvested during the 2015-16 season. Each validated tag equated to an entry in the prize drawing.
Any hunter who validated his/her deer tag information within seven days after harvest was automatically entered in the contest.
“Our Validate to Win contest was designed to encourage deer hunters to supply the vital information we need to manage the state’s deer population,” said Johnathan Bordelon, Deer Program Manager for LDWF. “We’d like to thank Bowie Outfitters and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation for supplying the prizes and congratulate Mr. Ray. It is the obligation and requirement for our state’s deer hunters to report every harvest.’’
Just taking the only buck of the 15-16 season was good enough for Ray, who began hunting when he was a child with his father. He said he overslept that morning but decided to venture out anyway.
“I was going to my stand and it was 7:30 a.m.,’’ said Ray, who said he was only about five miles from his home when he took the buck. “The feeder had already gone off and I said, ‘If I go (to the stand), I’ll just run anything out.’ So I climbed alongside a tree, sat down and about 30 minutes later he walked out. It’s about as lucky as you could get. It’s the biggest and best deer I’ve ever taken.’’
Ray said he normally harvests one to two deer per season and makes validating a priority.
Deer harvest validation, or reporting, provides parish-level data on the season harvest numbers, sex ratios and calendar information that illustrate trends in the state’s deer harvest. That information plays a critical role in setting season lengths and bag limits. If harvest data is under-reported, LDWF biologists and managers cannot make accurate determinations on hunting success and deer population parameters.
Prior to hunting deer, all deer hunters, regardless of age or license status, must obtain deer tags and have tags in possession when hunting deer. Immediately upon harvesting a deer, the hunter must tag the deer with the appropriate license tag before it is moved from the site, and the hunter must document the harvest on the attached report card portion of the deer tag license.
The hunter must record the date of harvest and the parish on the carcass tag. The tag must remain attached to the deer while kept at camp, or while it is transported to the domicile of the hunter, or to a cold storage facility. Hunters who keep the carcass or meat at camp must also comply with the game possession tag regulations. Within seven days, the hunter must validate the harvest using the toll free validation phone number 866-484-4805 or the web link: www.la.wildlifelicense.com.
For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at 225-765-2344 or email@example.com .