Working the Lease

January 27, 2016
Longtime Vandebilt coach passes away
January 27, 2016
January 27, 2016
Longtime Vandebilt coach passes away
January 27, 2016

Hunting leases and hunting clubs abound in south Louisiana, but with local duck-hunting leases at a premium and guided duck hunts running $200 person and up, hunting at a free public wildlife management area just might be the most economical and readily accessible way to get your duck hunt on.

At roughly 35,000 acres, Pointe- aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (PAC WMA) lays at the end of Highway 665 in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. Managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, this WMA is ideal for the duck hunter that doesn’t mind paddling a pirogue or one that owns a shallow draft mud boat of 35 HP or less. Further, the self-clearing entry and exit stations make getting in and out a breeze.

Local duck hunting enthusiast, Capt. Curtis Wright, takes advantage of hunting the PAC WMA every chance he gets. With our warm late December and early January temperatures, though, the ducks just did not always show up in large numbers. Regardless, less than ideal conditions didn’t keep Wright from hunting the PAC ten times during the second split. He managed to bag at least two ducks per trip, and those species include teal, ruddy ducks, red heads, and scaup, (dos gris for all you locals!).

Wright advises hunters to get to the launch early in order to avoid waiting in line to launch a boat, with the crowds arriving between 5 and 6 a.m. He chooses to arrive around 4 a.m. to beat the crowds and have time to paddle his pirogue to an ideal spot. After all, these blinds are not privately owned and open for public use, so “first come, first served” absolutely applies here.

Wright encourages hunters who don’t have their own leases or can’t afford to cough up the cold cash for a guided trip to check out a wildlife management area. The advantages to hunting any WMA are that they are free to the public, easily accessible, often small enough to paddle to the blinds, and a good way to take advantage of the tax dollars you paid to help maintain the refuge.

When asked the disadvantages of hunting this WMA, Wright was quick to respond.

“The only real disadvantage to me is the rude hunters waiting until the last minute to launch their boats and pass near my decoys, when I made the effort to get out early and get set up. It’s the new generation of hunters coming along that have pushed aside the old school traditions. I call it the Duck Dynasty mentality. Nobody wants to get up early or pre-scout a spot. They need to get there early and set up more than 50 yards from the nearest hunter to get a good chance at shooting ducks. ”

With no lease fees to pay, maybe putting up with the inconsiderate hunter is a small sacrifice to make in order hunt ducks close to home for free. Another local hunter, Capt. Dan Billiot, hunts the PAC WMA at least a couple times per split. As the result of working a seven-and-seven schedule, Billiot must hunt on his days off, no matter the conditions. Such was the case on a recent Saturday morning trip to the PAC WMA.

Billiot, his younger brother, Seth, and hunting partner, Cord Naquin, braved torrential rains for the chance to pick off a few birds. The bad news is, the rain never let up; but the good news is, they didn’t go home empty handed. In spite of less than ideal conditions, they bagged a gadwall (grey duck) and a scaup (dos gris) while hunting from their surface-drive mud boat.

Billiot also recommends getting to the launch extra early in order to avoid the crowds and to get a choice blind. “Anybody can hunt the blinds, so you have to get out there early to pick your spot and get your decoys spread out before anybody else. We like to hunt on the weekdays, that way we can get our pick of the best ponds!”

Whether you paddle a pirogue or operate a shallow-draft mud boat, at Pointe aux Chenes WMA, the price is right – free access for duck hunters where the early hunter catches the best spot. And if you go often enough, you just might bring home a limit of ducks—some for the grill and some for the good, ole fashioned gumbo pot.


Before making your hunt to the PAC WMA, be sure to check out the Hunting Regulations and Map for the WMA on the LDWF website:

Regulations regarding the allowed engine horsepower might be hard to find on the website, but two launches are provided. There is one launch into the area designed for “small boats” with engines running 25 HP or less, and a separate ramp for “larger boats” with engines running between 25 and 35 HP.

Filling out the self-clearing card information after the hunt is valuable to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in terms of gathering data about numbers of ducks taken from the refuge in any given season.

It only takes a few minutes to fill it out and is a small price to pay to hunt the refuge.

It’s well worth it for a hunter.


Wendy Wilson Billiot is a freelance writer, wetland educator, and owner of Beyond the Bayou Excursions. To contact, visit

Capt. Curtis Wright shows off his string of ducks, each of which he took at the Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (PAC WMA). The 35,000-acre site is ripe for hunting activity.WENDY BILLIOT | THE TIMES