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LDWF News Release

Monterey Man Sentenced for Illegal Night Hunting

Release Date: 11/18/2014

A Monterey man was sentenced in 7th Judicial District Court in Concordia Parish on Nov. 14 for illegal night hunting.

Judge Kathy Johnson sentenced Duell S. Moreland, 24, to 60 months of hard labor with 40 months suspended, 30 days in jail and to a 15-year no hunting ban.

Agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arrested Moreland on Jan. 31, 2014.  The agents observed Moreland night hunting on foot on an All-Terrain Vehicle trail located on the Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  The agents were able to make contact with Moreland after a brief chase.

Moreland was found hunting after hours with a cross bow equipped with a night vision scope along with a .444 primitive rifle.

Moreland was booked into jail for hunting deer during illegal hours, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements, resisting an officer, hunting deer using illegal methods, using a firearm/archery equipped with illegal sights and not possessing a resident hunting license.  The agents seized all the equipment.

USFWS Agent Mark Cupit and LDWF Sgt. Trey Mason participated in the case.

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

Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish

Release Date: 11/17/2014

*Corrected release date
 
Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish
 
Nov. 17, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) responded to a report of a dead cougar along LA Hwy. 12 in Calcasieu Parish west of Dequincy. The animal was found late afternoon on Friday, Nov. 7.
 
A necropsy performed by LDWF staff determined that the cougar was a 70-pound adult that had been declawed on all four paws.  Decomposition made the immediate exact age and cause of death more difficult to determine.  However, the cause of death remains under investigation.  The origin of the cougar is unknown at this time.
 
There are no personal captive cougar permits currently issued in the state due to public safety concerns, therefore it is unlawful for anyone to possess a cougar in Louisiana, other than a certified zoo.
 
The mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma are names that refer to the same animal.  Their color ranges from lighter tan to brownish grey. Cougars in Louisiana are protected under state and federal law. Anyone convicted of killing a cougar in Louisiana could face civil restitution of up to $4,351 and federal citations with additional fines and penalties.
 
To report information related to the dead cougar found Nov. 7, contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division Lake Charles office at 337-491-2580.
 
Anyone with any information regarding persons owning a pet cougar should call LA Operation Game Thief, inc. at 1-800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.
 
To report verifiable sightings of cougars with photos, tracks or scat, please call Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061, or contact Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 

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LDWF Recognizes Dedicated Volunteer Fish Taggers

Release Date: 11/17/2014

Tagger of the Year, wife accepting on behalf of Dr. Victor Tedesco, III
Top Redfish Taggers
Top Speckled Trout Taggers
Top Red Snapper Tagger, Andre Thomas
Women & Youth Taggers

(Nov. 17, 2014) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana honored volunteer fish taggers during their annual Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program’s awards banquet on Thursday, November 6 at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, La.
 
The program relies on a group of volunteers who dedicated nearly 3,200 hours to fish tagging efforts this year.  The event honored those volunteers who tagged 20 or more fish during the season, which ran from July 2013 to September 2014.
 
Nearly 26,000 fish were tagged, more than doubling the amount of fish tagged in the previous season. The increased number of tagged fish can be attributed to more than 700 volunteers who tagged at least one fish during that timeframe. 
 
“The tagging program is only possible because of the anglers who volunteer their time to fish, tag, collect, and report data,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We’re very lucky to have such an extraordinary group of volunteers who contribute to this important source of recreational fisheries data.”
 
Program officials recognized 57 volunteer anglers who out-competed their colleagues as members of the Century Club by tagging more than 100 fish during the season. 
 
Women and youth participation in the program is also growing in popularity. In recognition of their efforts, 24 women and youth anglers were awarded prizes during the event.
 
Top Fish Taggers include:
 
Tagger of the Year - Dr. Victor Tedesco, III
Most Tagged Fish Overall (1,574)
Most Tagged Fish Recaptured (77)
Most Volunteer Hours (446.5)
 
Most Tagged Redfish
1st Place - Donna Dearman (663)
2nd Place - Jeff Bavar (657)
3rd Place - Andre Thomas (526)
 
Most Tagged Speckled Trout
1st Place- Dr. Victor Tedesco, III (1,308)
2nd Place - Larry Shields (521)
3rd Place - Diane and Norman Norton (359)
 
Most Tagged Red Snapper
1st Place - Andre Thomas (43)
2nd Place - Mike Patrick (27)
3rd Place - Tommy Moore (23)
 
Fish tagging can provide a wealth of information, including data on migration patterns, growth rates, and population size. Since the program began in the 1980s, nearly 183,000 fish have been tagged and of those over 5,700 have been recaptured.
 
“One exciting thing we’ve learned through taggers’ data is most fish are recaptured very close to their original tagging location, explained Pausina.  “One redfish in particular was tagged, released, and then recaptured a record 4 times – all near the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle, La.  In fact, only about 2 percent of tagged red drum and spotted seatrout are recaptured more than 50 miles from the location where they were originally tagged and released.”
 
The Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program is a cooperative effort between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, universities, non-profit organizations and volunteer anglers.  Program goals include educating anglers on fisheries management and conservation and opening communication between researchers and anglers.
 
LDWF urges interested saltwater anglers to join the program.  Tagging kits and program materials are provided at no charge.  For more information about the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, contact us by calling 1-800-567-2182, via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tag/louisiana or email Fishtags@wlf.la.gov.
 
The 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, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.
 

LDWF Announces Addition to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 11/14/2014

LDWF Announces Addition to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Nov. 14, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has added acreage to the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
 
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a resolution Nov. 6 to officially include two tracts of land acquired in July 2014 within Maurepas Swamp WMA.
Known as the Crusel Tracts, the Livingston Parish properties are comprised of a 13-acre farm tract and a 1,569-acre tract totaling 1,582 acres.
 
The full expanse of the WMA now includes a total of 122,098 acres of wildlife habitat dedicated to the conservation and management of fish and wildlife and their habitat. The public accessible land is situated between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and includes acreage in Ascension, Livingston, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Tangipahoa parishes.
 
The perimeter boundary of the new acreage will be marked with LDWF signage to alert the public of the WMA boundaries. To view the site map and learn more about Maurepas Swamp WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2791 .
 
For more information, contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4781 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov .
 

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Two Louisiana Men Cited for Night Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/13/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent cited two Louisiana men for alleged night hunting violations on Nov. 12 in Franklin Parish.

Agents cited Claude B. Roberts, 24, and Cody A. Barton, 27, both from Fort Necessity for taking a deer during illegal hours, hunting from a public road and hunting from a moving vehicle.  Barton was also cited for discharging a firearm from a public road.

According to the men they were in a vehicle and shined a deer with a spotlight from a public road in Franklin Parish around 9 p.m.  Barton then shot and killed a spiked deer from the vehicle.

After shooting the deer, the men saw a vehicle coming and attempted to flee the area and wrecked their truck in the process of leaving.  The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a person near where they crashed their truck.

LDWF Senior Agent Johnny Wilson made contact with the men at the scene and cited the men.

Taking deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road and discharging a firearm from a public road each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Barton may also face civil restitution of $1,624 for the illegally taken deer.

Involved in the case are Senior Agent Johnny Wilson and Franklin Parish Deputy Brandon Box.

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

Recovering Tuna Tags is Rewarding in More Ways Than One

Release Date: 11/13/2014

LDWF biologist Jennifer McKinney performs surgery on a yellowfin tuna to insert an internal archival tag.
A green dart tag at the base of the second dorsal fin indicates a tag is present and reward is available.

If you reel in a big one, you might catch more than just a trophy fish for dinner

(Nov. 13, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is actively implementing a research program that involves the insertion of electronic tracking devices in yellowfin tuna to better understand their behavior.  Fish tagging programs are typically designed by scientists, but any angler can contribute to this important research.
 
The most important action that anglers can take to aid tagging programs is to return tags and information.  In order for the Department to learn more about yellowfin tuna movements and habitat use in the Gulf of Mexico, biologists are requesting anglers return the internal archival tags when a tagged fish is caught.
 
“The holy grail of these electronic tags is the detailed data they record,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “But LDWF researchers can only access that level of information if they get the tag back.”
 
Not only can anglers expect a better-managed fishery, but the department is also offering up a reward for every tag returned.  Individuals who return an intact electronic tag will receive a $200 Academy Sports and Outdoors gift card.
 
Tuna included in this study are surgically implanted with an electronic tag in the abdominal cavity and can be identified by an external green and white conventional tag at the base of the second dorsal fin.
 
If you catch a tagged yellowfin tuna:
• Record date, time and catch location (GPS coordinates).
• Measure fork length, weight and take photos of the surgical site (when possible).
• Carefully remove the tag from the fish.  The light stalk, which can be seen protruding from the abdomen of the fish, must remain connected with the tag body inside the fish.
• Call the reward line at (855) 728-8247 or email sattag@wlf.la.gov to arrange pickup of the tag.
 
The internal archival tags are surgically implanted into the belly of the fish and record a range of parameters every 30 seconds including depth, light intensity, water temperature and the internal body temperature of the tagged tuna. 
 
Since the study began in June 2013, over 100 internal tags have been deployed with approximately a 10% recapture rate.   Thus far, the greatest movement of an internally tagged yellowfin is 155 nautical miles after 417 days at large.
 
The department will continue the study over the next few years, and resulting data can indicate habitat preferences and feeding and spawning behavior.  Findings will greatly improve the body of knowledge of the yellowfin tuna resource in the Gulf of Mexico and its connectivity with the Atlantic-wide population, resulting in improved stock assessments and fishery management. 
 
The 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, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.
 

Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish

Release Date: 11/13/2014

Nov. 17, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) responded to a report of a dead cougar along LA Hwy. 12 in Calcasieu Parish west of Dequincy. The animal was found late afternoon on Friday, Nov. 7. 
 
A necropsy performed by LDWF staff determined that the cougar was a 70-pound adult that had been declawed on all four paws.  Decomposition made the immediate exact age and cause of death more difficult to determine.  However, the cause of death remains under investigation.  The origin of the cougar is unknown at this time.
 
There are no personal captive cougar permits currently issued in the state due to public safety concerns, therefore it is unlawful for anyone to possess a cougar in Louisiana, other than a certified zoo. 
 
The mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma are names that refer to the same animal.  Their color ranges from lighter tan to brownish grey. Cougars in Louisiana are protected under state and federal law. Anyone convicted of killing a cougar in Louisiana could face civil restitution of up to $4,351 and federal citations with additional fines and penalties.
 
To report information related to the dead cougar found Nov. 7, contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division Lake Charles office at 337-491-2580.
 
Anyone with any information regarding persons owning a pet cougar should call LA Operation Game Thief, inc. at 1-800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.
 
To report verifiable sightings of cougars with photos, tracks or scat, please call Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061, or contact Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 

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Raceland Man Pleads Guilty to Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/12/2014

A Raceland man pleaded guilty to several hunting violations on Nov. 5 in the 17th Judicial District in Lafourche Parish.

Judge John E. Leblanc sentenced Eric Savoie, 37, to a total of $3,750 in fines, 120 days of imprisonment suspended, and has to forfeit a 7 mm rifle with scope, 12-gauge shotgun and .22 rifle in connection with the hunting violations.  Savoie also faces up to $3,249 in civil restitution for two illegally taken deer.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited Savoie for deer hunting violations on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 2013 on Eagle Island.

Agents cited Eric Savoie, 37, for hunting or taking deer during illegal hours, failing to tag deer, over limit of deer, taking deer illegally during an open season, hunting deer without a big game license, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun.  Savoie pleaded guilty to these charges.

On Dec. 24, LDWF agents received a complaint that Savoie had killed two does at night on Dec. 20.

When agents approached Savoie’s residence on Eagle Island on Dec. 25, agents observed Savoie seated at the rear of his residence with a loaded 7 mm rifle in hand and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot, a loaded .22 rifle and using a utility street light to shine deer to shoot them at night.

Upon further investigation, agents learned that near the light Savoie placed several pounds of soybeans on the ground to attract deer at night.

After Savoie was disarmed by agents, Savoie was questioned.  Savoie admitted to harvesting two antlerless deer during illegal hours on Dec. 20 and attempting to harvest more deer during illegal hours on the night of Dec. 25.

Agents involved in case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agents Jamie Folse and Ryan Breaux.  District Attorney Camille A. Morvant II prosecuted the case.

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

Two Men Arrested For Recreational Fishing Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 11/12/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Agent arrested two men for alleged recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Nov. 9.

LDWF Sgt. Adam Young arrested Terry Felo Jr., 42, of Harvey, and Gary Felo, 39, of New Orleans, for taking and possessing undersized red drum, possessing over 10 red drum, and taking or possessing undersizde black drum.  Terry Felo was also charged with the intentional concealment of illegal fish.

Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office (PPSO) deputies also charged the pair with criminal trespassing for entering into a parish owned pump station without permission.  It was also discovered both men had warrants out for Jefferson Parish and Gretna.

Sgt. Young and Plaquemines Parish Deputies stopped the men and found them in possession of 63 red drum, placing them 53 over their daily limit.  Out of the 63 red drum, 61 were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches.  The men also possessed three black drum under the size limit of 16 inches.  Additionally, when uniformed law enforcement arrived on scene Terry Felo tried to conceal the illegal fish from agents and deputies.

Taking undersized red drum carries up to a $350 fine and 60 days in jail.  Possessing of over 10 red drum and intentional concealment of illegal fish each brings up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for each offense.  The men also face a total civil restitution of $1,614.67 for the illegally possessed fish.

LDWF Enforcement Sgt. Adam Young and PPSO Deputies Chad Lafrance and Johnathan Camneter were involved in the case.

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

Hunter Orange Reminder

Release Date: 11/07/2014

Nov. 7, 2014 -- With deer hunting season underway, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reminds deer hunters that the wearing of hunter orange (fluorescent orange) clothing is not only required by law, it is a very important safety practice.
 
During the open firearms season for deer, any hunter in possession of buckshot, slugs, primitive firearm or centerfire rifle must display on their head, chest and/or back a minimum of 400 square inches of “hunter orange”.  There are some exceptions to this requirement:

  • Hunters on private land may wear a hunter orange cap or hat instead of the 400 square inches of hunter orange.
  • Hunters on legally posted and privately owned land are not required to display hunter orange while hunting from an elevated stand. However, hunters must display the required hunter orange while walking to and from their elevated stand.
  • Hunters using archery equipment are not required to display hunter orange when hunting on legally posted land where firearm hunting is not allowed by agreement of the landowner or lessee.
  • All hunters (except waterfowl and dove hunters) on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) must wear a hunter orange cap in addition to the hunter orange on their chest/back when a firearms season for deer is open on the WMA.

Hunter orange is an unnatural color and dramatically improves a hunter’s visibility to other hunters.  Some hunters are concerned that deer will be alerted to a hunter’s presence if they wear hunter orange.  Research into deer vision indicates that while deer see color, they don’t see it the way most humans do.  Deer are essentially red-green color blind, meaning that red, green and orange all look about the same to a deer.  Hunter orange does not look much different to a deer than the various shades of green clothing many hunters wear.
 
In addition to the inability to distinguish between some colors, deer do not have very sharp vision.  Their inability to see fine details means that deer are unlikely to detect a motionless hunter, even when the hunter is wearing hunter orange.   Most of the time, when a hunter is detected by a deer, it is because of the hunter’s movement or scent.
 
Hunter orange is particularly important in heavy cover and during the low-light hours in the early morning and late afternoon when visibility is reduced.   In all conditions, hunters must take the time to positively identify their target and what is beyond it before they fire a shot. Wearing hunter orange will help keep hunters safe and in compliance with the law.
 
Kalkomey Enterprises, the provider of LDWF’s online hunter education course and hunter education manual, has produced a video that demonstrates the effectiveness of hunter orange.  The video is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kjSI79ss9I.
 
For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or fkimmel@wlf.la.gov .

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