deer.jpgParticipation in the state’s new tagging system for deer was voluntary for hunters last year. In just a few weeks, it becomes mandatory. That means all hunters, regardless of age or license status, will have to obtain special tags for their game, carry those tags with them in the woods and then later validate any kills using the Internet or phone. It’s an involved process, especially compared to the previous no-tag system, which is why the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries did a trial run last year.

“The tagging of deer taken by hunters was voluntary last season, and we wanted hunters to become familiar with the process,” said Jimmy Anthony, assistant secretary of the wildlife office. “This season tagging is mandatory, and we are very interested in collecting the valuable harvest information the program will provide.” The various deer tags can be purchased at the point of sale when hunters buy their regular big game licenses. For lifetime license holders, Louisiana youth age 15 and under and in-state senior citizens, tags will be issued free of charge.

According to the new law, when in the field and immediately upon harvesting a deer, the hunter must tag the deer with the appropriate carcass tag before it is moved and document the kill on the “Harvest Report Card” portion of the deer tag. When transporting the harvested deer, the tag must remain attached to the deer while it’s being transported or even being kept at a camp. For those hunters who keep the carcass for taxidermy work or the meat to eat, possession tags - printed within the back of the of the 2008-09 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet, or can be downloaded via the LDWF Web site - must be filled out.

Finally, within 72 hours of the harvest of each deer, Louisiana hunters must validate the kill toll-free by phone at (866) 484-4805 or via the Internet at www.wildlifelicense.com/la/start.php. A complete listing of all the new rules pertaining to this coming deer season and the tagging system is provided in the 2008-09 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet, or those same rules can be downloaded via the LDWF Web site at www.wlf.louisiana.gov. To view an instructional video on deer tagging via the LDWF Web site, go to www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations/deerhunting/.

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