I don’t remember the date but it had to be more than 25 years ago when I was invited, along with another writer, on a deer hunt to the Jackson Bienville wildlife management area south of Ruston.
After spending the night in the old green cabin that was area headquarters at the time, we were transported to stands for a morning hunt.
Not long after daybreak, I heard chain saws and logging equipment start up a couple of hundred yards from my location, dashing any hope I had of collecting a deer that day. Thankfully I was wrong because the commotion pushed a young buck from its bed my way and I was able to connect on a fat little four point.
The logging operation was normal for that area; the acreage that comprised Jackson Bienville was owned by Willamette Industries and timber operations were on-going. However, the activity no doubt put a number of deer that would ordinarily be bedded down on the move, resulting in hunters having the opportunity to see more deer.
In addition, the timber operation gave the deer exactly what they needed. Once timber was thinned, the forest floor exploded in lush tender growth, ideal deer forage.
Years later, Weyerhaeuser Company replaced Willamette and assumed the same posture on the management area as their predecessor had done.
Times and circumstances have changed over the years and portions of the 32,000-plus acres that comprised Jackson Bienville are being removed from the management area and offered to hunting clubs for lease.
According to Peyton Weeks, Recreation Manager for Weyerhaeuser Company, the long-term agreement with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) which has been provided to the agency free of charge, is being adjusted. Some 25,000 acres in the management area will remain and will continue to be managed by LDWF free to the public. Weyerhaeuser is carving out three blocks from Jackson Bienville that are currently being bid on by hunting clubs.
“We’re had a long time agreement with the LDWF for that agency to manage the entire area but today’s economy is dictating that we generate revenue where we can from our lands,” said Weeks.
The three areas that are being placed for bids include a 1,569 acre tract lying west of Highway 147; a 2,609 acre tract lying south of Highway 155 and another 2,321 acre tract just east of Highway 167.
“The bids opened July 16 and will be open through August 31 with the floor price starting at $10 per acre,” Weeks continued.
“The parcel of land lying east of Highway 167 has a large hardwood component, which should be excellent habitat for deer, turkeys and other species. The tract south of Highway 155 is a mixed pine-hardwood site with several streams meandering through the area while the site west of Highway 147 is generally a large pine timber component. Both the highway 147 and 155 tracts have large components of red cockaded woodpecker colonies, which will work to the lease holder’s favor as we provide constant maintenance on these areas where these endangered birds live,” he added.
Anyone interested in checking out these areas for possible hunting club leases can find out more information, which includes maps of the tracts, by going to www.weyerhauserhuntinglands.com or by calling Weeks at 318.238.7228.