Four Men Honored at June Commission Meeting

Release Date: 06/08/2017

Four Men Honored at June Commission Meeting

Four men were honored at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) meeting in Baton Rouge this morning, June 8.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division recognized the Bayou 69 Blackhawk Helicopter crew of the Louisiana Air National Guard for their efforts in rescuing six people during the 2016 March floods in Winn Parish.

Command Chief Warrant Officer Five Jack Mucha, Command Chief Warrant Officer Two Corey Sayer, SSgt. Chad McCann and Sgt. Aaron Adam, were awarded LDWF Enforcement Citizens Exceptional Bravery Awards for their efforts.

The Bayou 69 helicopter crew was called into action to bring LDWF Sgt. Rusty Perry and Winn Parish Firefighter Buddy King to safety.  The vessel Sgt. Perry and King were using to try and evacuate people from the flooded and turbulent waters capsized along the Dugdemona River east of Winnfield on March 10, 2016.

Sgt. Perry and King stayed with the capsized vessel for several hours.  After several unsuccessful rescue attempts by vessels and high water vehicles, the men were successfully airlifted into the helicopter by the Bayou 69 crew.

After rescuing Sgt. Perry and King, the helicopter crew then rescued a Louisiana State Trooper and a DOTD officer that were stranded on a road grader.  The helicopter crew then rescued the two civilians that Sgt. Perry and King were attempting to rescue before capsizing their vessel.

Rapides Parish Man Found Alive by Search and Rescue Crews

Release Date: 06/07/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division and the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office (RPSO) located a missing Boyce man this afternoon, June 7, in Rapides Parish.

Charles T. Pickering, 48, was found by LDWF agents around 4:30 p.m. in a wooded area off of St. Claire Road about four tenths of a mile from his residence.

RPSO deputies were able to transport Pickering to the road where Acadian Ambulance then transported him to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries and exposure to the elements.

The RPSO was alerted that Pickering had been missing since around 3:30 p.m. on June 6th.  The RPSO deputies learned that Pickering was last seen on June 5th around 5 p.m.

According to family members, Pickering is partially blind.

Three Jennings Men Cited for Illegally Killing two Alligators

Release Date: 06/07/2017

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited three Jennings men for alleged alligator and frog violations on June 3 in Jefferson Davis Parish.

Agents cited Rhett Guidry, 24, Dodie Bouley, 19, and Kyle Thibodaux, 23, for taking alligators during a closed season, hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting from a public road and taking frogs using illegal methods.  Guidry and Thibodaux were also cited for collecting frogs without a basic fishing license.

Agents were notified about an incriminating video of the three men on Guidry’s Facebook page.  The video showed the three men shoot and kill two alligators and some frogs from a truck and road with a .17 caliber rifle on the night of June 2 off of Cherokee Road in the Welsh Drainage Canal near Jennings.

Agents were able to make contact with all three men and they all confessed to their crimes when confronted with the video.  Alligator season in Jefferson Davis doesn’t open until the first Wednesday in September for those with alligator tags.

Taking alligators during a closed season brings a $400 to $900 fine and 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting from a public road, and taking frogs using illegal methods each bring a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Collecting frogs without a basic fishing license carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

The men could also face civil restitution totaling $751 for the replacement value of the alligators.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Scott Fontenot, Sgt. Danon Maricle, Senior Agent Steve Vidrine and Agent Luke Langley.

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.

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