Enforcement

Two Overdue Boaters found On Mississippi River

Release Date: 06/05/2017

Search and rescue crews found two overdue boaters this morning, June 5, on the Mississippi River in West Feliciana Parish.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, West Feliciana Sheriff’s Office and family members found the two 22 year old men in their vessel on the Mississippi River around 9 a.m.

Search crews were alerted around 11:30 p.m. on June 4 about the two overdue boaters after they didn’t return from their afternoon fishing trip.  The crews searched throughout the night for the missing men.

According to the rescued men, they left to check fishing lines around 1 p.m.  Shortly into their trip, the motor struck an unknown object in the water that damaged the propeller and made the motor inoperable.  They were able to paddle the vessel to a backwater area of the river and tie off to a tree for the night.

This morning, the men began to paddle back to the main channel of the river when a family member spotted them.  The men were found without any injuries.

Girl Scouts Rescued from Saline Bayou

Release Date: 05/30/2017

Search and rescue crews rescued nine kayakers from Saline Bayou on May 29 in Natchitoches Parish.

Search and rescue crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), U.S. Forest Service, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Natchitoches Parish Fire Department and Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO) were alerted around 9 p.m. on May 28 about the missing kayakers.  The crews searched throughout the night when they found the nine kayakers along the banks of Saline Bayou before daybreak on May 29.

The kayakers consisted of a Girl Scout group from Dallas, Texas with three adults and six juveniles.  After leaving the Hwy. 126 boat launch on the Winn and Natchitoches Parish line, the kayakers encountered a strong thunderstorm.  After failing to arrive at their destination at Cloud Crossing Campground in Natchitoches Parish, friends and family members alerted authorities for assistance.

The kayakers were found by LDWF agents on foot with the assistance of a citizen on an all-terrain vehicle around 3:30 a.m.  The kayakers were found using their kayaks for cover from the elements.  LDWF agents were able to walk them out of the woods along the bank and to the Cloud Crossing Campground that was less than a mile away.

Louisiana Safe Boating Week Set For May 20-26

Release Date: 05/18/2017

The state of Louisiana has issued a proclamation that recognizes May 20-26 as “Safe Boating Week” in Louisiana, which signifies the beginning of the spring and summer boating season.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will again be reminding all boaters to be safe, responsible and knowledgeable while on the water during this safe boating week.  Safe Boating Week is a time for all boaters to inspect their vessels to ensure that all required safety equipment is on board and that vessels are in good working condition.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents will be out in full force as always during the week to perform boating safety checks and driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) patrols.

Each vessel should have enough personal flotation devices (PFD) on board for all occupants and a sober operator.  LDWF regulations also state that anyone 16 years of age and younger must wear a PFD while underway in vessels less than 26 foot long.  For more boating and PFD regulations, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Alcohol use is one of the leading causes of boating crash incidents and fatalities on the water.  Alcohol consumption impairs a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  The penalties for DWI on the water are the same as on the road.  Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.

LDWF also wants to remind anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 that they are required to successfully complete a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course to operate a motorboat over 10 horsepower.  LDWF offers these classes free of charge statewide.

For a list of courses, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses.  Since the safe boating course’s inception in 2003, over 100,000 boaters have been certified in Louisiana.

In 2016 Louisiana reported 24 boating fatalities.  So far in 2017 Louisiana has reported nine fatalities.

Agents Cite Six People for Closed Season Red Snapper Violations

Release Date: 05/18/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited six subjects for alleged red snapper violations in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Plaquemines Parish on May 16.

Agents were on a joint enforcement agreement (JEA) patrol and noticed a fishing vessel near an oil platform approximately 13 miles offshore.  The subjects on the vessel were in possession of 10 Red Snapper and were approximately three miles beyond the nine nautical mile line.

Agents cited Ryan Baldassaro, 22, from Metairie, Nathan Randazzo, 18, from Marrero, Brandt Becnel, 21, from Belle Chase, Thomas Becnel Jr, 56, from Belle Chase, Patrick Becnel Jr, 24, from Belle Chase, and Nathaniel Peters, 22, from Metairie, for taking red snapper during a closed season.  Agents seized 10 red snapper which were later donated to a local charity.

Taking red snapper during a closed season brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  The subjects may also be subject to civil restitution totaling $229 for the illegally taken fish.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. Adam Young, Lt. Jason Russo, Senior Agent William Bartlett and Senior Agent Jeffrey Farmer.

Body of 15 Year Old Boy Recovered from Black Bayou Lake

Release Date: 05/09/2017

Search and rescue teams recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy from Black Bayou Lake in Caddo Parish around 11 a.m. this morning, May 9.

Search crews with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Caddo Parish District 8 Fire Department have searched for the boy from Rodessa since Saturday evening.

Search crews received a call around 7:15 p.m. about a capsized vessel near the Hwy.1 bridge near Rodessa on Black Bayou Lake.  When the search crews arrived they learned the 12 foot vessel had capsized with four teenaged boys on board.

Three of the teenagers were able to make their way to shore while one of them never resurfaced.  A passerby on the bridge was able to call 911 for help.

LDWF enforcement division will be the lead investigative agency for this fatal boating incident.  It is unknown at this time what caused the vessel to capsize.  None of the boys were wearing a personal flotation device.

Agents Make Closed Season Shrimp Case

Release Date: 05/09/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two subjects for alleged closed season shrimping violations on May 4 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Marvin Smith, 58, of Venice, and Etienne Pellegal III, 56, of Boothville, for using skimmers to harvest shrimp during a closed shrimp season.

Agents observed the men actively shrimping in the Yellow Cotton Bay area around 11:21 a.m. on May 4.  The Louisiana spring inshore shrimp season was currently closed at the time of the stop.

Agents seized 1,291 pounds of shrimp and sold them at the dock for the highest bid.

Using skimmers during a closed shrimp season carries a fine up to $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Additionally, if convicted the men could be sentenced to harvest shrimp only from a vessel with an approved vessel monitoring system monitored by LDWF.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Jason Gernados, Senior Agent William Bartlett, Agent Jonathan Boudreaux and Agent Anthony Corner.

Four Men Honored for Heroic Achievements at May Commission Meeting

Release Date: 05/04/2017

Four Men Honored for Heroic Achievements at May Commission Meeting
Four Men Honored for Heroic Achievements at May Commission Meeting

Four men were honored at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) meeting in Baton Rouge this afternoon, May 4.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Sgt. Rusty Perry received the LDWF Enforcement Meritorious Service Award and Winn Parish Firefighter Buddy King received the LDWF Enforcement Citizens Meritorious Service Award at the meeting.

Sgt. Rusty Perry and Buddy King were notified about citizens trapped in their homes or stranded because of rising flood waters along the Dugdemona River east of Winnfield on March 10, 2016.  Sgt. Perry and King attempted to get to this location by vessel through rapid and swift flood waters.  While in route to the location, the vessel capsized because of the rough conditions.

Sgt. Perry and King remained with the capsized vessel while being pinned to trees from the strong flood waters and after several hours and failed rescue attempts were successfully airlifted from the water by a Louisiana Air National Guard helicopter crew.  Sgt. Perry and King both risked their lives trying to help others.  The helicopter crew will be honored at the June LWFC meeting.

LDWF Lt. Beau Robertson also received an LDWF Enforcement Life Saving Award while Phillip Trosclair received an LDWF Enforcement Citizens Exceptional Bravery Award at the LWFC meeting.

Lt. Robertson received a call on April 5, 2016 about two overdue 19-year-old men onboard a vessel that went on an offshore fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico out of Joseph’s Harbor on Rockefeller Refuge.  Lt. Robertson and LDWF Rockefeller Refuge Manager Trosclair searched for the men overnight in rough conditions.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. on April 6, 2016, Lt. Robertson and Trosclair located the two men and their capsized 18-foot aluminum boat about 12 miles offshore south of the mouth of Joseph’s Harbor Bayou in the Gulf of Mexico.  Trosclair was able to steer the vessel in rough seas to get close enough to the men for Lt. Robertson to pull the men into the rescue vessel.

Lt. Robertson and Trosclair rotated performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on one of the men, who was unresponsive, and operating the vessel until they reached the landing where an emergency personnel were waiting.  The unresponsive man was pronounced dead at the hospital while the other man made a full recovery.

It was later learned that the survivor was suffering from extreme hypothermia and had just left the capsized the vessel in an effort to swim to an oil platform in the distance before Lt. Robertson and Trosclair arrived on the scene.  It is unlikely that the survivor would have been able to reach the platform alive.

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 23 New Agents at Graduation

Release Date: 04/26/2017

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 23 New Agents at Graduation

From left to right (Front Row): Col. Joey Broussard, James Smith, Amanda LeBlanc, Michael Treadway, Harvey Pearce, Thomas Forehand, Richard Heinold, Michael Meserole, Seth Courtney and Major Spencer Cole.
From left to right (Middle Row): Justin Greer, Jeremiah Fletcher, Jonathan Boudreaux, Javier Bazaldua, Gerald Sander, Dylan Egan, Charley Hawkes, and Zachary Meche.
From left to right (Back Row): Jacob Neal, Jeremy Triplett, Anthony Corner, Jonathan Morrison, Zachary Allen, Cameron Densmore, and Matthew Perkins.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, April 26, graduated its 31st class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After seven months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 23 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.  “Going through the department’s training process has shaped these cadets into agents for what we hope is a long and successful career with the department,” said Montoucet.  “I’m proud to be a part of this graduation and to serve as their first secretary of the department.”

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadet’s transition to commissioned agents official.  “We welcome these cadets into the Enforcement Division ranks as they fill much needed positions across the state.  Today we celebrate a much deserved graduation day.  Going forward these newly decorated agents will be required to hit the ground running with their assigned field agents for additional on the job training for the next six months.”

The 23 new agents are:

Zachary Allen, of Prairieville, assigned to Ascension Parish
Javier Bazaldua, of Plaquemine, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Jonathan Boudreaux, of Raceland, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
Anthony Corner, of Duson, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
Seth Courtney, of Hammond, assigned to East Feliciana Parish
Cameron Densmore, of Farmerville, assigned to Avoyelles Parish
Dylan Egan, of Covington, assigned to Vermillion Parish
Jeremiah Fletcher, of Bentley, assigned to Sabine Parish
Thomas Forehand, of Metairie, assigned to Plaquemines Parish
Justin Greer, of Minden, assigned to Red River Parish
Charley Hawkes, of Jena, assigned to Natchitoches Parish
Richard Heinold, of Highland, Illinois, assigned to St. Bernard Parish
Amanda LeBlanc, of Lafayette, assigned to Cameron Parish
Zachary Meche, of Church Point, assigned to Jefferson Davis Parish
Michael Meserole, of Bossier City, assigned to Bossier Parish
Jonathan Morrison, of Houma, assigned to Southern Strike Force
Jacob Neal, of Deville, assigned to Natchitoches Parish
Harvey Pearce, of Noble, assigned to Sabine Parish
Matthew Perkins, of Lafayette, assigned to Catahoula Parish
Gerald Sander, of Amite, assigned to St. James Parish
James Smith, of Hornbeck, assigned to Sabine Parish
Michael Treadway, of Lake Charles, assigned to Calcasieu Parish
Jeremy Triplett, of Little Rock, Ark., assigned to Desoto Parish

During the graduation ceremony, Pearce received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class.  Pearce also received the physical training award for being the most fit.  Forehand received the academic award for having the highest grades.  Pearce won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty.  Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations.  These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

202 Boaters Certified During "Boating Education Lagniappe Day"

Release Date: 04/24/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) certified 202 boaters statewide after their seventh annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on April 22.

Boating Education Lagniappe Day was at nine locations across the state and consisted of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

The NASBLA safe boating certification is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 who wants to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The NASBLA approved course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Each student received that completed the course was issued a vessel operators certification card.

To register for a future boating education class please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses and follow the links to register.

Below was the list of class locations for lagniappe day:

Webster Parish
LDWF Region 1 Office
9961 Hwy. 80
Minden, LA 71055
Sponsors included the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA), Coca-Cola of Minden, McDonald’s, Burger King, Sonic, Raising Cane’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ouachita Parish
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Sponsors included Academy Sports and Outdoors and Johnny’s Pizza House.

Rapides Parish
Academy Sports and Outdoors
3205 S MacArthur Dr.
Alexandria, LA 71301
Sponsors included Academy Sports and Outdoors

St. Martin Parish
1015 Amy St (next to the Henderson town hall)
Henderson, LA 70517
Sponsors included LWAA

Beauregard Parish
First Baptist Church of Deridder
2030 US-171
DeRidder, LA 70634
Sponsors included Beauregard Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited

Lafourche Parish
Galliano Fire Station District 3
1762 West Main St
Galliano, LA 70354
Sponsors included Renovation Hardware in Cut Off

Tangipahoa Parish
Manchac Fire Department
30221 US-51
Akers, LA 70421
Sponsors included Reno Seafood and Manchac Boat Club

Livingston Parish
Bass Pro Shop of Denham Springs
175 Bass Pro Blvd
Denham Springs, LA 70726
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be teaching this class.
Sponsors included Bass Pro Shop of Denham Springs

St. Tammany Parish
St. Tammany Parish Library Madisonville Branch
1123 Main St
Madisonville, LA 70447
Sponsors included LWAA and Raising Canes.

St. Bernard Parish Man Sentenced For Oyster Violations

Release Date: 04/24/2017

A St. Bernard parish man pled guilty to oyster violations in St. Bernard Parish Court on April 20.

Judge Kirk Vaughn accepted the guilty plea from Joshua C. Alfonso, 30, and sentenced him to pay a $950 fine plus court costs.  Alfonso pled guilty to taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area as set by the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Since this is Alfonso’s second offense, his oyster harvester license will also be revoked for three years.  He is also forbidden to be on a vessel possessing oysters or processing oysters for three years.  Alfonso’s dredge that was seized by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents will be forfeited to the state.

The guilty plea stems a citation Alfonso received from LDWF agents on Sept. 9, 2016 for harvesting oysters from a polluted area closed by DHH in Lake Robin on un-leased state water bottoms in St. Bernard Parish.

District Attorney Perry Nicosia’s office prosecuted the case for the state and Senior Agent Blaine Wagner was the case agent.

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