Enforcement

Alligator Violations on the Rise in Louisiana

Release Date: 08/22/2012

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division has seen a steady rise in alligator violations since 2009.

According to LDWF violation statistics, Enforcement Division agents have issued 98 alligator related violations in 2012 already.  LDWF issued 60 total alligator related citations in 2007 and 2008, 69 in 2009 and 2010, and 80 in 2011.

“The increase of alligator citations is of concern and the department is doing their best to catch these violators,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.

The popularity in outdoor reality TV shows seems to be one of the reasons why there have been more alligator violations in the last couple of years.

“In some of our cases the subjects have admitted to watching a reality TV show and then wanting to replicate what they watched,” said Col. Vidrine.  “While these shows offer a high level of entertainment, they do not offer a lot of information on how to legally harvest an alligator.”

The majority of the alligator violations are classified as possession of an alligator during a closed season, failing to possess a license and possession of an alligator without a license.  Also, most of the increases in violations are occurring in the Saint Mary, Saint Martin, Assumption, Saint James, Saint John, LaFourche and Terrebonne parishes going from two violations in 2010 to 42 violations so far in 2012.   For illegally possessing an alligator, poachers can get up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for the first offense.

LDWF issues alligator harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest.  A resident alligator hunter must either own this approved land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags.  Alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the season.  To apply for tags, hunters must submit an application prior to the season found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting.

The alligator season is split into an east zone that runs from the last Wednesday of August for 30 days and the west zone that goes from the first Wednesday of September for 30 days.  A resident alligator hunting license costs $25.

“With the upcoming opening of alligator season, hunters are reminded to utilize their tags only on the approved property and that all alligators caught on their lines must be harvested and immediately tagged,” said Noel Kinler, LDWF’s alligator program manager.

Currently there are an estimated 1.5 million alligators in Louisiana.  Since 1972, over 870,000 wild alligators have been harvested.

“The department’s Alligator Program has been very successful in managing the alligator resource from near extinction to a healthy sustainable population,” said Col. Vidrine.  “These regulations are put in place for a reason and have worked for over 40 years since their inception in 1972.”

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags.  An alligator sport hunter license cost is $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes.  These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal governmental agencies.  Methods in which alligator hunters are chosen for these areas include bidding and lotteries.

The lottery alligator harvest program provides the opportunity for over 300 resident alligator hunters to harvest approximately 800 alligators on almost 40 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)/public lakes located throughout the state.

Lottery alligator harvest applications become available mid to late May of each year and lists all available WMAs/public lakes.  For more information on LDWF’s Alligator Program, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-program.

Anyone wanting to report alligator 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, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

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

Body of Noble Man Recovered from Toledo Bend

Release Date: 08/17/2012

Search and Rescue officials recovered the body of a Noble man from Toledo Bend Sabine Parish on Aug. 16.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office recovered the body of Brandon Jeane, 27, around 9:45 p.m.

Officials were notified about a fisherman who fell overboard in Toledo Bend around 6:45 p.m. on Aug. 16.  Jeane was fishing with his Uncle in a 16 foot boat when he fell overboard without a personal flotation device.  According to the Uncle, Jeane never resurfaced and he called for help.

Jeane’s body was turned over to the Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office to determine a cause of death.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Two Livingston Parish Men Cited for Littering

Release Date: 08/10/2012

 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Denham Springs men for alleged gross littering violations on Aug. 7.

Agents discovered approximately 40 large garbage bags of household trash, appliances and mattresses located off of Miller Road and Neal Landing Road in Livingston Parish on July 30.

After sifting through the piles of garbage and conducting a thorough investigation, agents were able to identify two suspects.  Agents cited Cody D. May, 19, and Johnnie J. Jarreau, 17, for gross littering.

Gross littering brings a $500 to $1,000 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program approved by the court.

Agents involved in the case were Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Guy Adams, Senior Agent Buck Hampton and Senior Agent Carl Armstrong.

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

Five Men Cited In Terrebonne Parish For Oyster Violations

Release Date: 08/03/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on July 31.

While on oyster-growing-area patrol in Four Isle Bayou, agents found a vessel being used to dredge oysters from a private lease without the lease owner's permission.

Agents cited Lawrence J. Verdin, 61, from Bourg; Wesley P. Verdin, 54, from Theriot; Shaft D. Jones, 29, of Houma; Russell A. Trahan, 24, of Houma; and Walter O. Jones, 29, from Houma, for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease and failure to have written permission.

The oysters located on the vessel were seized and returned to the water.  The boat and dredges were placed under an LDWF seizure order.

The penalty for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease is a fine between $900 and $950, or imprisonment up to 120 days, or both, plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized in connection with the violation.  Failure to have written permission is punishable by a fine of $400 to $900, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs.

Any person convicted of these violations may for one year after the date of such conviction only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system.  Access to the monitoring system shall be granted to LDWF.  For that year, the person convicted of these violations shall identify for the department which vessel will be used to harvest oysters.

Agent participating in the case were Sgts. Richard Purvis and Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.

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

Three Men Sentenced For Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 08/01/2012

Three Louisiana men were sentenced in federal court on July 24 for their roles in illegally dove hunting over a baited field during the 2011 hunting season in St. Charles Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents observed three men hunting over an illegally baited field during the 2011 dove season.  The area had been under surveillance after learning about the placing of bait to attract doves. 

After a subsequent investigation by LDWF and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agents, LDWF agents cited Ronald Guillory, 66, Darrel Guillory, 43, both of Norco, and Thomas Brandt, 75, of Kenner for hunting doves over a baited field.

On July 24, 2012, Ronald and Darrel Guillory and Brandt appeared before a U.S. Magistrate in federal court in New Orleans and pleaded guilty to hunting doves with the aid of baiting.  Each man received a fine of $1,010 and three years of unsupervised probation with a special condition that they forego hunting migratory game birds for one year.  Ronald Guillory also pleaded guilty to the placement of bait and was sentenced an additional $1,510 fine and three years of unsupervised probation to run concurrent with the previous sentence.

LDWF agents testifying in the trial were Sgt. Jason Russo and Agent Jared Taylor.  Investigating agents for the USFWS were Senior Agents Scott Boudreaux and Steven Clark.

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Three Livingston Parish Men

Release Date: 07/24/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division (LDWF) agents arrested three Walker men in July on charges that stemmed from an operating or driving a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) allegation.

Agents arrested Kyle Corkern, 26, of Walker, for an alleged DWI on the Amite River Diversion Canal on July 8.  Arresting agents parked their vessel at the Hill Top Inn Marina while they transported Corkern to the French Settlement Police Department for an intoxilyzer test.

As other agents working on the Diversion Canal arrived at the marina, they observed a male subject jump out and run from the unattended LDWF patrol vessel tied to the pier. Agents made contact with the two male subjects at the scene, but were unable to ascertain what had taken place and the subjects were released.

Agents later discovered that the unattended LDWF vessel had the plug removed allowing it to begin to fill with water.  This particular vessel had a bilge pump that was able to keep up and keep the vessel afloat.

After a week long investigation, agents arrested Brian B. Heyse, 25, and Neal D. Corkern, 23, on July 17 for allegedly tampering with an LDWF patrol vessel.  Both subjects were passengers in Kyle Corkern’s vessel prior to his arrest.

Agents charged Heyse and Neal Corkern with simple burglary, attempted criminal damage to property, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.  Heyse was additionally cited for intentional littering after breaking a bottle in the marina parking lot.

Driving a vessel while intoxicated carries a fine between $300 and $1,000 and up to six months in jail with the chance of losing driving and boating privileges.

Simple burglary brings up to a $2,000 fine and up to 12 years in jail.  Criminal damage to property carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in jail.  Criminal trespassing brings a fine between $100 and $500 and up to 30 days in jail.  Criminal mischief carries up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.  Intentional littering carries a $250 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.

Agents participating in the investigation and arrests were Senior Agent Hal Bridges, Sgt. Randy Lanoux, Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt. Guy Adams and Senior Agent Terry Hicks.

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

Body of Second Boater Recovered from Lake Charles

Release Date: 07/22/2012

Search and rescue crews have recovered the body of a Westlake man at 6:30 a.m. today, July 22 near the vicinity where authorities found the body of his fishing partner and capsized vessel on the west bank of Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of two missing boaters on Lake Charles on July 20 after 10 p.m.  According to family members, William R. Druilhet Jr., 22, of Lake Charles, and Christopher Rollins, 25, of Westlake, were out fishing and last made contact shortly before 10 p.m.

Search and rescue crews searched throughout the night and found their 16 foot vessel capsized on the west bank of Lake Charles at 4:30 a.m. on July 21.  Authorities then found the body of Druilhet at 4:50 a.m. on July 21 near the boat and Rollins at 6:30 a.m. on July 22 also near the boat.

Authorities found Druilhet wearing a personal flotation device and Rollins without a personal flotation device.  Both bodies of Druilhet and Rollins were turned over to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office to determine a cause of death.

LDWF has recovered the vessel and will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Boating Incident in Lake Charles Leaves One Dead and One Missing

Release Date: 07/21/2012

Search and rescue crews are currently searching for a missing boater who was onboard a vessel on Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish that was found capsized and left another man dead.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents along with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a report of two missing boaters on Lake Charles on July 20 after 10 p.m.  According to family members, William R. Druilhet Jr., 22, of Lake Charles, and Christopher Rollins, 25, of Westlake, were out fishing and last made contact shortly before 10 p.m.

Search and rescue crews searched throughout the night and found their 16 foot vessel capsized on the west bank of Lake Charles at 4:30 this morning, July 21.  Authorities then found the body of Druilhet at 4:50 a.m. near the boat. 

Druilhet was wearing a personal flotation device and his body was turned over to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office to determine a cause of death.

LDWF has recovered the vessel and will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Authorities Recover Boater’s Body from Lake Fordoche

Release Date: 07/20/2012

Search and Rescue officials recovered the body of a Central man from Lake Fordoche in St. Landry Parish on July 20.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office were notified about a capsized vessel and a missing boater in Lake Fordoche, which is a tributary north of Henderson Bay, around 9:50 a.m.

The body of Allen Fontenot, 66, was found by search crews around 1:30 p.m. in the near vicinity of the capsized vessel.

According to the survivor, the two men were in a 21 foot boat when they hit a stump that caused the vessel to capsize.  The survivor was able to swim to the shore.

Fontenot was not wearing a personal flotation device and his body was turned over to the St. Landry Parish Coroner’s Office.  LDWF has recovered the vessel and will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.

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

Two Franklin Parish Men Cited for Shocking Fish

Release Date: 07/19/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged fishing violations on July 2 on the Boeuf River.

Agents cited Tyler Gilmore, 22, of Fort Necessity, and Derek Guillot, 30, of Winnsboro, for taking game fish using illegal methods after they were found with a shocking device.

LDWF Sgt. Albert Tarver discovered Guillot and Gilmore in Boeuf River with a shocking device and 13 catfish.  The catfish were allegedly taken with the shocking device.

When Sgt. Tarver approached Gilmore and Guillot, he ordered them to not to throw the shocking device.  Guillot then threw the shocking device into the river and was also charged with obstruction of justice.

Taking game fish with illegal methods brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Obstruction of justice carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Agents participating in the case included Sgt. Albert Tarver, Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Leya Grover.

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

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