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LDWF News Release

LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

Release Date: 09/07/2017

LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season
LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season
LWF Commission Sets 2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2017-2018 oyster season based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
 
The following dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – Calcasieu Lake: West Cove only
     
  • Monday, November 13, 2017 - all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 1-4), Bay Long/American Bay sacking-only area, Sister Lake, and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one half-hour before sunrise
     
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - the following areas will close to seed harvest on November 13 but remain open as sacking-only areas: all Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH areas 1-4) and Sister Lake 

During the 2017-2018 open oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:
 
1.    Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the      public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above shall:
 
a.     Be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 50 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation where the limit shall not exceed 35 sacks per vessel, and except for in the West Cove portion of Calcasieu Lake where the limit shall not exceed 7 sacks per person per vessel per day. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440. If sacks smaller than the size described in R.S. 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and possession limit shall be based on the number of sacks harvested. The daily take and possession limit will not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit will not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit, and these vessels cannot harvest oysters.
b.     Be limited to either harvesting market oysters for direct sale (sacking) or harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both.
 
2.    If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Public Oyster Seed Grounds, Reservations, or areas described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground, reservation, or area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are offloaded dockside.
 
3.    Prior to leaving Public Seed Grounds or Reservations with oysters harvested from said seed ground or reservation for market purposes: all oysters must be sacked, the number of sacks shall be recorded in a log book, and each sack shall be properly tagged.
 
4.    All vessels located in Public Seed Grounds or Reservations during those times between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise must have all oyster scrapers unshackled.
 
5.    In Calcasieu Lake, oyster scrapers are prohibited on vessels actively harvesting oysters.
 
The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2017-18 oyster season:

  • the area east of the Mississippi River as described in LAC 76:VII:511, south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 5,6,7,8), excluding the American Bay area defined above;
     
  • the Bay Gardene, Hackberry Bay, and Bay Junop Public Oyster Public Oyster Seed Reservations as described in R.S. 56:434;
     
  • the Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:521;
     
  • the Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Lake Tambour, and Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:517;
     
  • the east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area;
     
  • the Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area as described in R.S. 56:435.1. 

Closure dates, adjustments in sack limits and/or sacking-only areas will be determined by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 
 
Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
 

LWF Commission to Modify Black Bass Regulations on Caney Creek Reservoir

Release Date: 09/07/2017

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission considered a Notice of Intent (NOI) to modify rules and regulations for black bass on Caney Creek Reservoir in Jackson Parish to be consistent with statewide regulations for the species.
 
The proposed change will remove the 15 to 19 inch protected slot limit, and 8 fish daily take and replace it with statewide black bass regulations of 10 fish daily, with no minimum length limit. The possession limit will be the same as the daily take on water and twice the daily take off water.
 
The protected slot limit was initially adopted as part of an effort to increase the production of trophy bass. Following a 3-year comprehensive assessment, LDWF biologists determined length limit regulations have little impact upon the fishery, primarily due to the high rate of voluntary catch-and-release fishing by Caney bass anglers. The removal of these regulations will enhance recreational opportunities and simplify regulations for area anglers.
 
Black bass is the most sought after freshwater gamefish species in the United States.
 
The full notice of intent is available here.
 
Interested persons may submit comments relative to the proposed rule to Jeff Sibley, District 1 Biologist Manager, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden, LA 71055 or via email to jsibley@wlf.la.gov prior to November 20, 2017.

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Regulation Governing Importation of Cervid Carcasses Now in Effect in Louisiana

Release Date: 09/06/2017

Sept. 6, 2017 - A new regulation governing importation of cervid carcasses into Louisiana is in effect, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced. The regulation was passed by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) in the fall of 2016 and aims to prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Louisiana’s white-tailed deer population.
 
The regulation reads in part: No person shall import, transport or possess any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass originating outside of Louisiana, except: for meat that is cut and wrapped; meat that has been boned out; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth. …Any and all bones shall be disposed of in a manner where its final destination is at an approved landfill.
 
For more information on CWD and a video on proper deer caping, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/CWD.
  
The ban defines a cervid as animals of the family Cervidae, including but not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer. 
 
This ban is strictly for the purpose of reducing the likelihood that CWD will enter Louisiana through carcass importation. Approved parts and meat from other states must contain a possession tag with the hunter’s name, out-of-state license number (if required), address, species, date and location (county and state) of harvest.
 
Each state has different possession requirements for game once processed. A total of 41 states have regulations on cervid carcass importation. Click here to see an interactive map with specific state regulations or go to http://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/Cervid-Carcass-Regulations.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk and mule deer as well as white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue which leads to death of the animal.
 
CWD is caused by prions, which are proteins normally found in the body that have mutated. These prions replicate, leading to holes in the brain tissue. They are spread through direct deer-to-deer contact or through contact with urine, feces, saliva and exposure to infectious materials in the soil. Infected soils are caused by prions binding to soil particles after the animal has decomposed. This creates a route for disease transmission through environmental contamination.
 
It is different from hemorrhagic disease (epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and/ or bluetongue virus), which is a virus spread by bites from infected insects.   

Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, the CDCP recommends caution in handling venison in the infected region and that deer be tested for CWD before consuming.
 
CWD has been documented in 24 states, including Texas and Arkansas, and two Canadian provinces.
 
For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2344.

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LDWF Bird Radio Tracking Project To More Than Double in Capacity Thanks to Grant From ConocoPhillips

Release Date: 09/06/2017

Receiver stations in the Coastal Louisiana Array are typically small footprint, 30-foot towers.
(From left to right) Kell McInnis, LWFF, Michael Seymour, LDWF, Phil Precht, ConocoPhillips Coastal Wetlands, Buddy Baker, LDWF.

Sept. 6, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Coastal Louisiana Array Project, used to track radio-tagged birds, will more than double in capacity by July 2018 thanks to a generous grant from ConocoPhillips.
 
This project started as a joint effort among LDWF, the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF) in the spring of 2016. Louisiana’s network, based on Bird Studies Canada’s successful Motus Wildlife Tracking System, consists of multiple very high frequency (VHF) receiver stations constructed along the coast.
 
The ConocoPhillips’ grant will allow construction of an almost seamless digital network, consisting of 32 VHF receiver stations stretching from the Texas border to the Mississippi border. To support the donation, ConocoPhillips, through its subsidiary, The Louisiana Land Exploration Company LLC which owns approximately 636,000 acres, will provide free access to its property along the southeast Louisiana coast.
 
"BTNEP is pleased to partner with the many organizations and funding partners who understand the value of tracking migratory birds,’’ said BTNEP Director Susan Testroet-Bergeron. “The key benefit of this technology is that it allows biologists to conduct research on target individuals without the requirement of recurring and often random visual observation. This low impact form of monitoring has led to tremendous advances in our knowledge of bird habitat use, breeding success and mortality."
 
Although radio-tracking of animals has occurred since the 1960s, the miniaturization of electronics and the collaborative nature of the Motus project have revolutionized animal tracking. Biologists across North America have been attaching miniature radio tags, called nanotags, to birds and other animals for several years. Nanotags emit radio signals that are detected by the receiver stations, allowing scientists to study animal behaviors like migration and allowing identification of sites for conservation.
 
To date, LDWF and BTNEP have constructed 13 receiver stations across coastal Louisiana. Several dozen birds, from songbirds to shorebirds, including federally threatened species like the red knot, have already been detected in just the first year of the project.
 
Because of the Motus program and Louisiana’s new coastal network, Louisiana scientists and colleagues across the globe are able to more efficiently study animal movements and implement conservation.
 
Generous funding from ConocoPhillips, BTNEP, LWFF and LDWF ensures Louisiana’s continued contribution to this novel, international scientific network.
 
For more information, contact LDWF ornithologist Michael Seymour at mseymour@wlf.la.gov or 225-763-3554.

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September 2017 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 09/05/2017

The next regular Commission meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, September  7, 2017, at LDWF headquarters in the Louisiana Room of 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

 Agenda:

1.     Call to Order

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Adoption of August 3, 2017 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6.     Enforcement Report August, 2017 – Captain Edward Skena

7.     Receive and Consider a Resolution commending LDWF Enforcement Division for Hurricane Harvey response – Al Sunseri, Commissioner

8.     Receive Presentation on Passive Transponder Bird Migration Study --Michael Seymour, Biologist

9.     Recognize Conoco-Phillips for their Financial Contribution to the Transponder Study --Buddy Baker, Administrator

10.  Receive One Health presentation --Dr. Rusty Berry, Wildlife Veterinarian

11.  Receive a Presentation of LDWF’s participation in the Breeding Waterfowl and Habitat Survey --James Whitaker, Biologist

12.  Receive a Presentation on Waterfowl Population Status, Hunting Regulations, and Pre-Season Update --Larry Reynolds, Program Manager

13.  Receive Update on Roseau Cane Mortality --Todd Baker, Director

14.  Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to update the Louisiana Threatened and Endangered Species List --Amity Bass, Director

15.  Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to remove the current black bass slot limit regulations of 15-19 inches and 8 fish daily harvest from Caney Lake and place the lake under the statewide black bass regulations  -  Jeff Sibley, Fisheries Biologist Manager

16.  Receive and Consider a Declaration of Emergency setting the 2017-2018 oyster season on the public oyster areas of Louisiana – Steve Beck, Program Manager

17.  Receive an Update on the Recent Gulf Council Meeting (including a Louisiana Only Amendment Update) and Louisiana Red Snapper Harvest and 39-day Season Extension Projection Update – Chris Schieble, Biologist Manager

18.  Receive and Consider a Resolution supporting continued efforts to reduce the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico – Doug Daigle, Coordinator, Louisiana Hypoxia Working Group

19.  Set January, 2018 Commission Meeting Date

20.  Receive Public Comments

21.  Adjournment

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2418555430874433283

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to the contact at the top of this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date. 

 

Oyster Task Force Public-Private Oyster Grounds Committee to Meet

Release Date: 09/01/2017

Oyster Task Force Public-Private Oyster Grounds Committee

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 9:30 A.M.

UNO Advanced Technology Center

2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210

New Orleans 70122

 

 

AGENDA
I.              Call to Order
II.             To Receive an Updated Draft NOI with Proposed Changes
III.            Discussion of Stock Assessment and Season Recommendation  
(Habitat Suitability Index)
IV.            Discussion of the Shell Budget
V.             Discussion of Tagging Regulations for Mini-Sacks
VI.            Public Comment
VII.           Set next meeting
VIII.          Adjourn

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4948304087345110785

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup. . For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

Oyster Task Force to Meet September 5

Release Date: 09/01/2017

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting

John Tesvich, Chairman

Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 1 p.m.

2021 Lakeshore Dr., STE 210

New Orleans, LA 70122

 

I.Roll call and introduction of guests

II.Approval of August 1, 2017 Meeting Minutes and September 5, 2017 Agenda

III.Treasury Report

A.      Oyster Tag Sales

B.      LOTF Financial Report

IV.Committee Reports

A.      Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee  (Mitch Jurisich)

B.      Enforcement (Captain Chad Hebert)

C.      Legislative (Jakov Jurisic)

D.     Research (Earl Melancon)

E.      Coastal Restoration (Dan Coulon)

F.      Marketing (LDWF)

G.      Health (Lance Broussard)

H.     Sustainability (LDWF)

I.        Professionalism (LDWF)

J.      Aquaculture (John Supan)

                     K.      Joint Task Force Working Group (Mitch Jurisich)

V.New Business

A.     Consideration of a State-Wide (Public/ Private Leases) 3-Inch Minimum Size Limit on Market Oysters- Steve Beck

B.     To Consider a Draft Resolution for the State’s Continued Work on the Gulf Hypoxia Issue- OTF

C.     Discussion of Tagging Regulations for Mini-Sacks- Brad Robin

D.    To Hear a Presentation on Oyster Import Data- Jack Isaacs

E.     To Hear an Update on the Summer 2016 Oyster Die-Off - Steve Beck

F.     To Hear an Update on the Assessment of Oyster Loss on Public Reefs East of the MS River – Steve Beck

G.     To consider funding and Participation in the 2018 LA Alive & Acadiana Events- OTF

VI.Public Comment

VII.Set Next Meeting

VIII.Adjourn

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.  To listen in to the meeting via webinar register at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6279452028767510017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup. . For press inquiries please contact Rene LeBreton, 504-286-8745 or rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to rlebreton@wlf.la.gov at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date.

Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge to Reopen Friday at Sunrise, LDWF Announces

Release Date: 08/31/2017

Aug. 31, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will reopen most of Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge on Friday (Sept. 1) at sunrise.
 
The south end of Price Lake Road will remain closed until flood waters recede and repairs to the road can be made. This closure is just south of the bird observation tower. Visitors are cautioned not to drive through any standing water or the shoulder of the road.
 
Areas available for public access include the Joseph Harbor Boat Launch and East End Locks Road, both located about three miles east of refuge headquarters. Water control structures throughout the refuge are open but visitors are urged to use extreme caution around these structures as the water current is high.
 
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 76,042 acres, is located in eastern Cameron and western Vermilion parishes. It borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 miles and extends inland toward the Grand Chenier ridge, a stranded beach ridge, six miles from the Gulf. For more information on the refuge, go to ttp://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/rockefeller-wildlife-refuge.
 
For more information, contact Gabe Giffin at 337-491-2000 or ggiffin@wlf.la.gov.

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Sperm Whale Stranded at Grand Isle Third Found On Louisiana Coast in the Last Year

Release Date: 08/31/2017

A female sperm whale was found stranded near Grand Isle on Aug. 26.
The female sperm whale found stranded near Grand Isle on Aug. 26.

Aug. 31, 2017 – A female sperm whale found dead on a sandbar just off of Grand Isle Beach on Aug. 26 was the third sperm whale found stranded along the coast of Louisiana within the past year and the fifth stranding of this endangered species in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
 
The sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in the Gulf of Mexico. This was either an older juvenile or a young adult, said LDWF biologist Mandy Tumlin, the Louisiana Marine Mammal Stranding and Rescue Program Coordinator.
 
“Sperm whales found in the Gulf of Mexico are generally smaller than those found in other locations,’’ Tumlin said. “This animal was a female and they tend to be a lot smaller than males in this species. Sperm whales only have teeth on the lower jaw, those teeth have been collected and can be used in determining the age of the animal.’’
 
Staff from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), City of Grand Isle and Audubon’s Coastal Wildlife Network responded to the stranding. They were able to get the animal onto the beach and to perform a necropsy on the whale.
 
The necropsy allows biologists to collect internal samples from organs and tissues that are analyzed by a lab in an effort to determine the cause of death. Upon conclusion of the necropsy, the City of Grand Isle buried the carcass on the beach further away from camps and residences. LDWF thanks the public, Grand Isle Employees, Coastal Wildlife Network and everyone who assisted with these efforts.
 
“It is important to note that sometimes we may not be able to identify an exact cause of death,’’ Tumlin said. “However, each and every stranding is important for obtaining valuable information about each of these species, especially in this case of an endangered species such as the sperm whale.’’
 
LDWF encourages the public to report any marine mammal strandings to the NOAA Southeast Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network Hotline at 1-877-433-8299. To report marine mammal violations, such as people feeding, attempting to feed, or harassing marine mammals in the wild, please contact the national NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Information may be left anonymously. Sperm whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to harass or interact with marine mammals whether they are dead or alive.
 
Dos and Don’ts For Encountering Marine Mammals
 
DO immediately report all dead marine mammals, even if they are decomposed. Call the Southeast Region Stranding Network 24-hour hotline: 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343) to be connected to your state’s marine mammals stranding network. The stranding network will send out trained responders who will get to the scene quickly with appropriate equipment.

DON’T push the animal back out to sea! Stranded marine mammals may be sick or injured. Returning animals to sea delays examination and treatment and often results in the animal re-stranding in worse condition.

If the animal returns to the water on its own, DON’T attempt to interact with it (swim with, ride, etc.).

DO put human safety above animal safety. If conditions are dangerous, do not attempt to approach the animal.

DO stay with the animal until rescuers arrive, but use caution. Marine mammals can be dangerous and/or carry disease. Keep a safe distance from the head and tail. Also, minimize contact with the animal (use gloves if necessary) and avoid inhaling the animal’s expired air.

If the animal is alive, DO keep its skin moist and cool by splashing water over its body. Use wet towels to help keep the skin moist and prevent sunburn.

If the animal is alive, DON’T cover or obstruct the blowhole. Try to keep sand and water away from the blowhole.

DO keep crowds away and noise levels down to avoid causing further stress to the animal.

DO keep dogs/pets away from the live or dead marine mammal.

DON’T collect any parts (tissues, teeth, bones, or gear, etc.) from dead animals. They are still covered by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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Elmer's Island to Reopen Tomorrow at Noon After Temporary Closure.

Release Date: 08/31/2017

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will reopen Elmer's Island on Friday, September 1 at 12:00 pm.  The island was temporarily closed as a precaution due to Hurricane Harvey.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

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