June 24, 2024

New Law on Tracking Mortally Wounded Deer with Dogs

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to thank Governor Jeff Landry for signing Act 272 into law, as well as the Louisiana State Legislature, and Representative Dewitt, for the passage of HB 802.

Act 272 is an act that recognizes the ethical obligations of a hunter to recover game they have taken and provides for a legal method to do so.  It allows a licensed hunter or tracker to pursue a deer that was legally shot and mortally wounded, to utilize lights and a blood-trailing or tracking dog, and then dispatch the deer with a handgun if the deer is found alive. This does not include LDWF Wildlife Management Areas.

Certain restrictions apply to this activity to prevent the unlawful use of dogs to hunt deer and nighttime hunting activity. No more than one dog may be used per tracking party in pursuit of the wounded deer. However, a second dog may be utilized for the purpose of deer retrieval training. Tracking dogs shall be on a handheld leash or utilize a GPS tracking collar. Any mortally wounded deer discovered alive after legal hunting hours may be dispatched by the licensed hunter or tracker by using a centerfire handgun with a barrel no longer than six inches and caliber no larger than .45 or smaller than .25. The licensed hunter or tracker may pursue a mortally wounded deer onto private property only if he has received verbal or written permission from the landowner.

This law becomes effective on August 1.

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