L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

Anacoco Lake Drawdown to Begin Early

Release Date: 11/14/2011

(Nov. 14, 2011)– In cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Sabine River Authority, the Anacoco Lake spillway gate will be opened November 15, 2011 to maintain water quality downstream. Plans were already in place for a drawdown to begin in January 2012. The gate will be opened slightly to allow for a slow release. The action is designed to accommodate downstream concerns and still allow water for Anacoco Lake duck hunters.

The lake will be lowered approximately 18 feet below pool stage and will remain lowered until November 1, 2012.

The drawdown is being conducted to reduce muddy water and renovate the lake bottom. It will also allow property owners the opportunity to conduct shoreline and property maintenance. 

For further information regarding the drawdown, contact Eric Shanks, LDWF Inland Fisheries Manager, at (337) 491-2577.

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.louisiana.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 (225) 765-5113.

 

L.D.W.F. Advises Hunters to Remain Alert, Know Basic Safety Measures for Encounters with Black Bears

Release Date: 11/12/2011

Nov. 12, 2011 -The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising hunters to remain alert for possible encounters with black bears during hunting season.

With Louisiana’s growing black bear population the opportunities for bear sightings and encounters with bears has increased. Additionally, bears are actively foraging at this time of year to gain weight for denning season. LDWF urges hunters to carry bear spray as a personal protection alternative to firearms.

Recent reports of black bears on Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area at the southern edge of the Atchafalaya Basin have prompted LDWF to post signage that hunters need to take necessary safety precautions when hunting in this remote location. LDWF recommends the following for all hunters on public and private hunting property:  

Basic Tips for Hunters Statewide:

  • Corn used as bait will concentrate bear activity – consider an alternative food source.  It is recommended that hunters utilize food plots such as soy beans, when possible, which will be less likely to attract bears.
  • Be aware that bears forage for mast crops and will be attracted to food sources that attract deer.  Heavy mast crop trees may become a food source that bears will defend.

If You Are Approached by a Bear While Hunting:

  • Stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, speak in a normal voice and make the bear aware of your presence.  Back away slowly when possible.

  • If the bear continues to approach, stand your ground.  Prepare to use your bear spray per the manufacturer’s recommendation. This product can be easily carried in a belt holster and can be obtained via the Internet.

  • Never run from a bear, as this may trigger the bear’s chase instinct.

  • If attacked by a bear, defend yourself with any available weapon.

The Louisiana black bear remains on the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List.  LDWF’s Black Bear Program needs any information hunters can provide on a close encounter with a bear. For assistance with black bears in any situation that public safety is threatened, call 1-800-442-2511 toll free, seven days a week.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

LDWF Announces Closure of Seed-Oyster Harvest in Public Areas East of the Mississippi River

Release Date: 11/10/2011

Seed-Oyster Harvest Closure  11.14.11

November 10, 2011 –Today, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham signed an order to close seed-oyster harvest in selected public oyster areas east of the Mississippi River effective Monday, November 14, at one-half hour past sunset. 

The harvest of legal-size oysters (≥ 3 inches) for market sales is allowed to continue in these areas until further notice. 

The following areas are affected by the seed-oyster harvest closure:

1.      The public oyster seed grounds north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet; and

2.      The public oyster seed grounds and reservations south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and west of a line that generally runs from California Point northeast to Point Gardner.

These areas were determined by LDWF biologist to hold only small amounts of seed oyster stock and a significant portion of the available stock has been harvested thus far during the 2011/2012 oyster season.  Additionally, sampling of seed-oyster loads on commercial vessels has determined that excessive amounts of non-living cultch material (reef shell, etc.) is being removed during seed harvest.  This activity threatens the long-term sustainability of the reefs by removing critical settlement substrate upon which oyster larvae settle and grow.  Based on current harvest pressure and the estimated low oyster stock size, these areas should be closed to protect from further impacts. 

All other details, rules and regulations of the 2011/2012 oyster season remain in effect until further notice.

For the latest on the 2011/2012 oyster season visit:   http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oyster-seasons

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.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (225) 610-2363.

Coastal Wildlife Management Areas Provide Young Hunters Opportunity For Success

Release Date: 11/10/2011

Coastal Wildlife Management Areas Provide Young Hunters Opportunity For Success
Coastal Wildlife Management Areas Provide Young Hunters Opportunity For Success
Coastal Wildlife Management Areas Provide Young Hunters Opportunity For Success

November 10, 2011 At the southern end of America’s largest swamp lies Louisiana’s largest public outdoor recreation area, the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area (ADWMA).  Here the muddy waters of the Atchafalaya River mingle with the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico to create one of the largest river delta systems in the country and the only significantly accreting property in coastal Louisiana.

This 137,695-acre WMA is dominated by fresh emergent marsh and shallow mud flats created by the Atchafalaya River.  It is home to a wide diversity of wildlife and each winter is home to impressive numbers of migratory birds including hundreds of thousands of waterfowl.

Like most isolated areas along the Louisiana coast, ADWMA hides many secrets known only to a local few.  While this WMA is primarily known for its excellent waterfowl hunting opportunities, it is also one of the best public deer hunting areas in south Louisiana.  For those hunters willing to brave the Atchafalaya River and make their way through the winding marsh, ADWMA provides an opportunity to hunt deer in a primitive setting without fire arms, corn feeders, and noisy neighbors for deer that never hear or see automobiles and rarely a human.  It is an opportunity to hunt deer in a truly wild setting.

The deer herd is closely managed by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)and recent hunting statistics demonstrate an annual harvest in excess of 100 deer taken by archery hunters.  Each year hunters harvest bucks with impressive antler quality and weighing nearly 200 lbs. Year after year, trophy bucks are harvested on the WMA, with several being including in the state record books.  Last year’s harvest totaled 154 deer including a 190-lb., 11 point; a 200- lb., 10 point; and a 175-lb., 13 point buck.

Every year LDWF provides youth hunters an opportunity to apply for the youth lottery deer hunts on several WMAs operated by the Coastal and Nongame Resources Division.  LDWF staff prepare food plots of various food mixes including iron clay cow peas, soybean, and select wildlife mixes to provide a diverse diet for the deer herd, as well as an enhanced opportunity for young hunters to observe and possibly harvest a deer. During these hunts, youth are allowed to use firearms in areas generally reserved for archery hunting.  LDWF staff clear viewing lanes and maintain deer stands for the exclusive use of youth lottery deer hunters and their chaperones.  New stands were constructed this yearand erected on ADWMA for the participants.

Participants in the 2011 youth lottery deer hunts on ADWMA included 27 young hunters who observed 40 deer and harvested 10; 6 bucks and 4 does.  An additional youth hunt on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA attracted 19 young hunters who sighted a dozen deer.

Applications are available for interested youth hunters in August preceding the October hunts. Contact the New Iberia Field Office at 337-373-0032 for more information or visit www.wlf.la.gov .

Ouachita Parish Man Sentenced In Federal Court For Wildlife Crimes

Release Date: 11/10/2011

A Ouachita Parish man was sentenced on Nov. 7 in U.S. Western District Court in Monroe for two counts of violating federal pesticide laws and one count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Leslie W. Hardwick Jr., 47, of West Monroe, was sentenced to pay a $5,035 fine, be on supervised probation for three years with no hunting privileges and six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring by U.S. District Judge Robert James.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited Hardwick in January 2011 after receiving a complaint that dead animals were being located in Ouachita and Richland parishes.  In Ouachita Parish, animals were found in the area of Bosco Lodge owned by Robert Stone and Sal Miletello.  In Richland Parish, animals were found south of Start on Two Stone Farms, which was also owned by Stone.  Bosco Lodge, a licensed deer pen in southeast Ouachita Parish, employed Hardwick.

Agents went to the areas and located a total of 54 dead animals four of which were migratory non-game birds.  The animals consisted of 17 coyotes, 16 raccoons, 12 opossums, four bobcats, a red tailed hawk, barred owl and two sparrows.

After finding the dead animals, a joint investigation began with LDWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.  During the investigation, agents located several areas baited with the insecticide known as Temik, which is a restricted use pesticide.

All 54 animals were sent to LSU veterinary school for analysis where it was found that all animals contained high levels of Temik in their digestive tracts.  During the interview with Hardwick, he stated that he had placed the bait sites laced with Temik to eradicate coyotes.

U.S. Assistant District Attorney Cytheria Jernigan prosecuted the case.

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

LDWF Reminds Waterfowl Hunters to Watch for Whooping Cranes

Release Date: 11/10/2011

Nov. 10, 2011 -- As waterfowl hunters prepare for opening day of the regular duck season in the West Zone this Saturday, and the East Zone on Nov. 19, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds them to be alert for some new residents in our marshes and fields.

In February, 10 juvenile whooping cranes were released at White Lake Wetland Conservation Area as the first step in re-establishing a self-sustaining whooping crane population in southwest Louisiana.  Four of those original birds have survived, and another 16 whooping cranes are scheduled to be released in early-December of this year.  Although the original 10 birds were released in Vermilion Parish, the birds have frequently inhabited surrounding parishes including Acadia, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, St. Martin and Evangeline, and have roamed over an area reaching from southeast Texas to West Feliciana Parish.

With the duck and goose season opening in most of these areas, local hunters should welcome the opportunity to see this magnificent bird while hunting, and as always, “positively identify your target before you shoot.”  Although whooping cranes in Louisiana are considered an “experimental, non-essential population” under the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can NOT be pursued, harassed, captured, or killed.

Waterfowl hunters should be accustomed to seeing large-bodied, white birds with black wing-tips, such as white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, which must be distinguished from the legally-hunted snow geese.  Whooping cranes are equally identifiable as they stand at an impressive 5 feet and have a wingspan of 7-8 feet. Easily identifiable characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs. Photos of the cranes can be seen on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

Southwest Louisiana was once an important part of the whooping crane’s winter range, and until the mid-twentieth century, was the home of the last resident whooping crane population.  The reintroduction of whooping cranes is a long-term commitment by LDWF with the goal of establishing at least 130 individuals, including 30 nesting pairs; basically a population capable of surviving for 10 years without additional restocking.

LDWF asks experienced hunters to take the time in the field to educate young hunters and improve their target identification skills to distinguish game birds from non-game birds.  A whooping crane sighting can add to the outdoor experience for outdoorsmen and women of all ages and hunter vigilance can assist the department’s efforts to restore this unique species in southwestern Louisiana.

For more information on LDWF’s whooping crane re-introduction, contact Sara Zimorski at 337-536-7292 or szimorski@wlf.la.gov.

 

Amended-Louisiana Oyster Task Force to Meet in New Orleans

Release Date: 11/09/2011

November 11, 2011 – Next Tuesday, November 15 at 1 p.m. the Louisiana Oyster Task Force will meet at the UNO Advanced Technology Building located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans in suite 210.

The agenda for the task force meeting is as follows:

I.  Roll Call

II.  Approval of  August 23, 2011 MINUTES

III.  Treasury Report

      A. Oyster Tag Sales

      B. LOTF Budget

IV.  Committee Reports

      A.  Public and Private Oyster Grounds Committee – (Buddy Pausina)

      B.  Enforcement   - (Steve McManus)

      C.  Legislative - (Jakov Jurisic)

      D.  Research – (John Supan)

      E.  Coastal Restoration – (Dan Coulon)

      F.  Marketing - (Dana Brocato)

      G.  Health – (Glenn Cambre)

V.   Old Business

       A.  BP Oil Spill Remediation

         1. Claims Process

         2. Public Reef Remediation

         3. Oyster Lease Remediation

       B.  Oyster Lease Moratorium Update -- WLF

       C.  Results of 2011 ISSC, Seattle  -- Al Sunseri

       D.  Public Oyster Reef Evaluation & Shell Plants and Explanation of Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permits – Patrick Banks

VI. New Business

      A.  D.C. Mardi Gras-Ewell Smith

      B.  Presentation on the state’s Master Plan by CPRA – Kirk Rhinehart  

      C.  Protecting oyster resources, i.e. natural reefs, in the Master Plan – John Tesvich

      D.  Time-temperature regulations on harvest vessels and enforcement – DHH & WLF

      E.   Vessel Monitoring System and Louisiana Seafood Certification Plan Update-WLF

      F.     Other

VII. Set Next Meeting

VIII. Adjourn

This meeting is open to the public.

For more information contact Ashley Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or (504)286-8735.

LDWF Agents Cite Seven For Night Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/09/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited seven individuals for alleged hunting violations in Red River Parish on Nov. 7.

LDWF was notified at approximately 4 a.m. by the Red River Parish Sheriff's Office about possible night hunting activities on La. Hwy 71 north of Coushatta.  Agents responded and made contact with the suspects and found two dead doe deer and a dead raccoon.

Dametry Caldwell, 19, of Coushatta; Adam Caldwell, 20, of Coushatta; Demarcus Atkins, 22, of Glostner; Sean Griffin, 22, of Natchitoches; Christian Campbell, 21, of Coushatta; Michael Powell, 35, of Mansfield; and Quinton Grant, 24, of Coushatta were all cited for hunting deer during illegal hours with artificial light, hunting from a moving vehicle and hunting from a public road.

Dametry Caldwell was also cited for discharging a firearm from a public road, hunting without resident hunting and big game licenses, possessing over the limit of deer and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.  Adam Caldwell was also cited for discharging a firearm from a public road, hunting raccoons illegally and failing to comply with hunter safety regulations.

Agents believe the group began night hunting the previous day shortly after sunset.  The group had traveled several miles from Hall Summit to Lake End in Red River Parish.  The firearms used by the group varied from a high-powered rifle to a 12-gauge shotgun.

Hunting deer during illegal hours with an artificial light range brings a $900 to $950 fine, up to 120 days of imprisonment and forfeiture of anything seized.  Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road brings a $200 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Possessing over the limit of deer brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging regulations carries a $200 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting raccoons illegally brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Discharging a firearm from a public road carries up to a $50 fine and up to 30 days imprisonment.

Hunting without resident hunting or big game licenses brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to comply with hunter safety regulations carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

There could also be a civil restitution penalty for the two doe deer in the amount of $1,624 per deer and for the raccoon in the amount of $27.75.

Agents involved were Sgt. Chuck Dison, Sgt. Patrick Staggs, Senior Agent John Blalock and Red River Parish Sheriff's Office Lt. John Malfouz.

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

tip411 Complaint Leads to Deer Hunting Citations

Release Date: 11/08/2011

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Calcasieu Parish man on alleged deer hunting violations on Oct. 30.

LDWF agents received a tip411 complaint from the public on Oct. 19 about potential deer hunting violations that occurred in Allen Parish.

Agents cited Christopher Bailey, 46, for taking deer with an illegal weapon, using illegal methods, hunting without a big game license and failing to comply with deer tagging or harvest record regulations.

After investigating the tip411 complaint and interviewing Bailey, agents found that Bailey had been squirrel hunting when he took an 8-point buck using a semi-automatic shotgun with fine shot.  Bailey admitted to agents he shot the deer the day before the still hunt season opened in Area 8.  Agents also found that Bailey failed to possess a big game license or deer tags.

Taking deer with illegal methods brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Taking deer using an illegal weapon carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without big game license brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Failing to comply with deer tagging or harvest record regulations brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Bailey may also be responsible for a civil restitution penalty of $1,624.61 for the replacement value of the deer.

Agents participating in this case were Sgt. Keith Aucoin and Senior Agent Danon Maricle.

LDWF launched the tip411 program at the end of September as a part of their Operation Game Thief program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can 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.

Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

Citizens can also call Operation Game Thief's Hotline at 1-800-442-2511.  The hotline and tip411 program are monitored 24 hours a day.

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

LDWF, Sea Grant Launch 2011-12 Native Fish in the Classroom Project

Release Date: 11/08/2011

LDWF, Sea Grant Launch 2011-12 Native Fish in the Classroom Project
LDWF, Sea Grant Launch 2011-12 Native Fish in the Classroom Project

Nov. 8, 2011-- The 2011-12 Native Fish in the Classroom (NFC) aquatic education stewardship project officially began for approximately 2,000 Louisiana students in grades 6 through 12on Saturday, Oct. 22, when NFC teachers picked up bluegill from the Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery in Pineville.

The NFC project is in its tenth year and is a partnership between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Education Section, LDWF Fisheries Extension and the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.  The project provides a hands-on learning experience that strives to teach students about aquatic ecosystems and develop an attitude of stewardship toward our natural resources.  The bluegill will be used by NFC teachers in 17 schools, representing 11 parishes, to stock their classroom nursery tanks.  The role of the bluegill is to stabilize water quality in nursery tanks until paddlefish eggs are received from Booker Fowler in the spring.

From March to early May, students will raise the protected paddlefish from eggs to fingerlings.  During this time, students will learn about water quality and biology as they maintain habitat for their paddlefish.  Teachers receive a Native Fish in the Classroom Guidebook which contains student aquatic activities, biology background information and problem solving solutions for the classroom.  In May, the paddlefish fingerlings will be released at an LDWF approved site that provides suitable habitat.

Prior to receiving bluegill for their classroom tanks, students have been tested to determine their knowledge of aquatic ecosystems.  Students will be tested again in the spring, after completing the project, to measure the effectiveness of the program.  In prior years, students have shown a significant increase in overall content knowledge.  The program was also shown to have a positive effect on students’ attitudes towards Louisiana’s natural resources. 

Teachers participating in the NFC project attend two training workshops before receiving the paddlefish eggs in the spring.  Veteran teachers mentor new teachers to the program.  In addition, students and teachers are encouraged to contact LDWF biologists for guidance throughout the school year.

For more information about the NFC project, visit the Louisiana Marine Education Resources website at http://www.lamer.lsu.edu/nativefish/index.html or contact Angela Capello at 318-748-6999 or acapello@wlf.la.gov, or Diane Lindstedt at 225-578-1558 or dlindst@lsu.edu .

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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