Enforcement

LDWF Names New Chief of Enforcement Division

Release Date: 06/06/2013

LDWF Names New Chief of Enforcement Division

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) promoted Jeff Mayne to colonel, which is the highest ranking position in the Enforcement Division.  Col. Mayne takes over for the recently retired Col. Winton Vidrine, who served the department for 43 years of which the last 25 years were as colonel.

Col. Mayne, 42, of Baton Rouge, graduated from the LDWF cadet academy in 1991 and has been an agent for 22 years.  In 2008, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and has served as an assistant chief since that time.  Col. Mayne served as the department’s legislative liaison from 1999 to 2011 and the state’s boating law administrator since 2008.

“The department’s law enforcement division will be in good hands with Col. Mayne at the helm.  He is a seasoned veteran who has a lot of experience to take over such an important position,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “He has served time as an agent patrolling the outdoors and waterways upholding conservation laws.  He has also served as legislative liaison for the department and has worked during traumatic events such as hurricanes and the oil spill in the gulf.”

In 1997, Col. Mayne was honored as LDWF’s Outstanding Agent of the Year.  He also received the LDWF Chief’s Award in 2001 and a state civil service Charles Dunbar award in 2011 for his civil service career.

Col. Mayne earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2003 and his Masters of Public Administration in 2011 also from LSU.

“I’m very honored to be promoted to such a prestigious position and will continue to advance the Enforcement Division as we take on new challenges and missions in the future,” said Col. Mayne.  “We will continue to uphold conservation game laws as well as perform search and rescue missions after hurricanes, maritime security protecting our vital ports and continue to put an emphasis on boating safety.”

Col. Mayne serves on the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Law Enforcement Committee, Joint Terrorism Task Force Executive Board for the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Exchange Executive Steering Committee, National Marine Fisheries Service Joint Enforcement Advisory Committee, Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel, Keep Louisiana Beautiful Advisory Board, Louisiana Seafood Industry Advisory Board, Louisiana Crab Task Force, Saltwater Recreational Fishing Task Force, Louisiana Seafood Certification Steering Committee, National Association of Boating Law Administrators, and the National Safe Boating Council.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Chief of LDWF’s Enforcement Division Retiring

Release Date: 06/05/2013

Chief of LDWF’s Enforcement Division Retiring

After more than 43 years of service to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, Col. Winton Vidrine, 69, of Washington, has announced his retirement and will be leaving the department effective June 7, 2013.

In January of 1970, Vidrine was hired as an LDWF Enforcement Division agent.  Vidrine reached the highest rank of colonel in 1988 and served the last 25 years as the division’s chief of enforcement at the Baton Rouge headquarters office.

“We wish the best to Col. Vidrine in his retirement years.  He has certainly deserved his retirement for all of the years he has served the state of Louisiana.  I’m proud to say that I was able to work with him these past years,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “He was instrumental in many programs and initiatives that improved the enforcement division over the years that have also benefitted conservation of our outdoor resources.”

When Vidrine started there was no formal training for LDWF agents and he was put out in the field on his first day in civilian clothes, driving his own truck and carrying his personal pistol.  He received his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification in the fall of 1970.  Vidrine worked out of the Opelousas office mostly working boating, night hunting and fish shocking cases.

In 1972, Vidrine was instrumental in creating the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association to help organize agents statewide into a collective unit.  Vidrine was awarded as the LDWF “Outstanding Agent of the Year” in 1975.

After his hiring, Vidrine quickly rose through the ranks achieving captain of the Opelousas office in 1976 and then being promoted to major in 1978 overseeing the Baton Rouge and Opelousas offices.  In 1980, Vidrine was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and worked out of the New Orleans office.

“I’ve had a great career that I wouldn’t have traded for anything,” said Col. Vidrine.  “Just becoming a game warden was satisfying by itself as I was an avid hunter and fisherman and got the chance to uphold rules and regulations that conserved our outdoor resources for my grandkids and their grandkids to enjoy.”

After becoming Colonel in 1988, Vidrine's top priority for the enforcement division was training.  Beginning in 1990, he implemented a more tailored training program for LDWF Wildlife Cadets that included classes on the laws for fisheries and wildlife management, driving while intoxicated detection, migratory game bird and fish identification, boating, and search and rescue training.  These changes increased the training a cadet receives from 12 weeks to over 20 weeks.  In 2001, LDWF initiated their first fully accredited and POST certified Cadet Academy that was completely taught and ran by LDWF agents.

Vidrine also oversaw every agent being issued a pistol beginning in the 1990s, initiation of the Maritime Search and Rescue course in the 2000s, the Maritime Special Response Team in 2010, and the first state to be accredited in the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrator's Boat Operation and Training program in 2011.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes to the enforcement division in my 43 years of service,” said Vidrine.  “Thankfully, I was able to be in a position to make a lot of changes over the years that made us a more professional, efficient and improved law enforcement agency.”

Vidrine will be retiring back to his farm in Washington with his wife of 50 years, one child, two grandkids and two great-grandkids.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

$10,000 in Reward Money Now Being Offered for Information in Whooping Crane Shooting

Release Date: 06/05/2013

June 5, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are still looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish in April.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the USFWS each initially offered up to $1,000 in rewards, for a total of up to $3,000.

LDWF Whooping Crane Biologist Sara Zimorski said, “We are grateful to the organizations and individuals who have contributed to the reward fund and we hope this extra incentive will bring forward some leads to help solve this case.”

The Humane Society of the United States and the The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000, John Perilloux is offering $1,000, the International Crane Foundation, through the restitution money from the South Dakota whooping crane shooting case is offering $500, the Audubon Nature Institute is offering $250, and an anonymous donor is offering $250.  This brings the total in rewards to $10,000 for anybody that has any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

If any group or person wants to donate funds to increase the reward amount, please contact LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400 ext. 4.

To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The reintroduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is still protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

Region 4 Boating Course

Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Address: 

LDWF New Iberia Office
2415 Darnell Road
New Iberia, LA 70517

City: 
New Iberia
Notes: 

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues $5,200 in Rewards

Release Date: 05/24/2013

 
Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $5,200 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 18 in Woodworth.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Lt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on the 11 cases and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted mostly of turkey, deer and alligator cases.

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps from the iTunes or Google Play store free of charge.  Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.

Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Gretna Fishermen Ordered to Pay Over $60,000

Release Date: 05/23/2013

The Office of the General Counsel Enforcement Section within the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a civil monetary penalty in the amount of $62,500 to a Gretna fishing boat captain on May 14.

The civil monetary penalty stems from a joint investigation between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and NOAA that resulted in Nam Nguyen, 52, captain of The Blue Fin, receiving citations for allegedly violating highly migratory species (HMS) regulations.

Nguyen and The Blue Fin were jointly charged to pay the $62,500 penalty for using pelagic longline gear for Atlantic HMS in federal waters with live bait and for possessing “J” hooks while possessing an HMS permit.

Agents received a complaint from NOAA Fisheries that the USCG discovered The Blue Fin fishing in federal waters with live bait while also using pelagic longline gear on March 18.  LDWF agents boarded the vessel when it returned to Dulac on March 19 and found J-hooks, pelagic longline gear and three places to hold live bait.

It is illegal to fish for HMS in the Gulf of Mexico with live bait and J-hooks when using pelagic longline gear.  Circle hooks and either artificial lures or dead bait can be used with a highly migratory species permit when using pelagic longline gear.

Agents seized 2,861 pounds of yellowfin tuna and a total of 623 pounds of swordfish, wahoo and escolar, pelagic longline gear and two buoys.

LDWF Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Louis Burnett, Senior Agents Dean Aucoin and Norman Deroche and Sgt. Ted Dewitt.  NOAA Fisheries Special Agent Steve Campbell and USCG Ensign Zack Bowman also assisted in the case.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Statue Honors Enforcement Agents Killed in the Line of Duty

Release Date: 05/21/2013

Statue Honors Enforcement Agents Killed in the Line of Duty

May 21, 2012 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) dedicated a statue today, May 21, in Baton Rouge to honor those Enforcement Division agents who have died in the line of duty.

The statue depicts an LDWF Enforcement Division agent in an honor guard uniform with his head bowed honoring fallen agents.  The statue sits on top of a granite pedestal that is engraved with the names of the seven LDWF agents that have been killed in the line of duty.

“Enforcement agents have a very dangerous job since they are often in remote areas by themselves without backup and sometimes at night.  The training the agents receive alleviates a lot of the dangers that the job brings, but there are still a lot of instances where agents put themselves in harm’s way,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “This statue will memorialize those agents that lost their lives while upholding rules and regulations that protect Louisiana’s natural resources.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA) purchased and donated the statue to LDWF where it will permanently stand at their headquarters building.

The following are the agents who are engraved on the pedestal and honored by the statue:

Sgt. Paul Stuckey, 47, was shot and killed when his shotgun accidentally discharged on Sept. 30, 2011.  Sgt. Stuckey was responding to reports of night hunting in West Feliciana Parish at the time of the accidental discharge.  Sgt. Stuckey was an 18 year veteran and is survived by his wife and three children.

Agent Jim Matkin, 30, was killed in an automobile accident while on-duty in Concordia Parish on March 2, 2005.  Agent Matkin was a six year veteran and was survived by his parents, two sisters and a step-son.

Capt. John Garlington, 53, drowned while investigating a report of illegal gill net fishing on the Mill Creek Reservoir in Bienville Parish on Feb. 10, 2000.  Capt. Garlington was responding to the report at approximately 3 a.m.  Capt. Garlington was a 14 year veteran.

Agent Leon Henderson, 36, was killed in an accident while en route to a reported drowning in Morehouse Parish.  Agent Henderson was transported to a local hospital where he died two weeks later on March 30, 1996.  Agent Henderson was a 15 year veteran and was survived by his wife and daughter.

Agent Ricky Dodge, 37, was killed when his all-terrain vehicle flipped over as he was responding to a call about a game violation on Jan. 21, 1992 in Avoyelles Parish.  Agent Dodge was survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Agent Kenneth Aycock, 35, drowned while on duty on July 6, 1991 in Morehouse Parish.  Agent Aycock was survived by his wife and two sons.

Agent Frank Fagot, 31, was shot and killed by a poacher he was attempting to arrest on Nov. 29, 1927.  Agent Fagot was survived by his wife and two children.

LDWF dates back to 1912 when it was constitutionally created as the Conservation Commission of Louisiana as a department of state government, making the Law Enforcement Division 101 years old.

LDWF and LWAA will hold a ceremony in the fall to honor those whom gave the ultimate sacrifice while performing their duties as LDWF enforcement agents.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Up to $3,000 in Reward Money Offered for Information in Whooping Crane Shooting

Release Date: 05/17/2013

May 17, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the USFWS are each offering up to $1,000 in rewards for a total of up to $3,000 in rewards for any information about this illegal shooting that leads to an arrest.  To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population back to its historic levels in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “These were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see these cranes thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”

USFWS Office of Law Enforcement for the Southeast Region Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago said, "The shooting of this whooping crane is an insult to all law abiding hunters.  We ask the public to please share any information that will lead us to the shooter.”

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The re-introduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  Multiple efforts are underway to bring this bird further along its path to recovery.  This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 600 whooping cranes left in the world with 421 of those cranes living in the wild.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465.

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