LDWF News Release

L.D.W.F. Announces 2015 Waterfowl Hunter Opinion Survey

Release Date: 05/01/2015

May 1, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Waterfowl Section, in partnership with LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, has begun a survey of Louisiana waterfowl hunters which asks for input on waterfowl hunting activity, experience with the past hunting season, satisfaction with recent zones and zone boundaries, potential new zone boundaries, and attitudes on particular policies.
This effort includes four separate survey modes including 5,000 mailed surveys to randomly selected waterfowl hunters split between 2,500 printed surveys with follow-ups to be completed and mailed back; and 2,500 postcards with Internet pass codes to be completed on-line.
In addition, all waterfowl hunters with electronic addresses in the LDWF hunting license database will be sent an e-mail asking them to take the survey at a specified website.  Additionally, the same survey is available via LDWF’s website home page at www.wlf.louisiana.gov and all interested waterfowl hunters not otherwise contacted can provide input. The survey response deadline is June 15, 2015.
This is a continuation of a cooperative human-dimensions research program conducted by LDWF’s Waterfowl Section and LSU since 2010, designed to gather hunter-opinion data to better inform future decisions on waterfowl hunting regulations.
LDWF is using multiple survey distribution methods in an effort to engage as many Louisiana waterfowl hunters as possible and increase participation in the regulatory process.  “Response rates are always a concern, especially when they fall as low as the 17 percent we received from the 2012 random mail-out survey,” said LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds.
The department is encouraging all waterfowl hunters, especially those who receive a survey in the mail, to participate.  “There will be follow-ups to all of the surveys,” Reynolds said.  “So if you are contacted by mail or e-mail, please respond as instructed. Those who are not contacted should respond via the LDWF website link, and should invite their waterfowling friends to participate, as well.”
LDWF changed the number and boundaries of waterfowl hunting zones in 2012 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) offered expanded zones and splits options.  This survey will provide data required by the USFWS to evaluate hunter satisfaction with those zone changes and begin consideration of potential changes in the future.  This survey offers an excellent opportunity for all waterfowl hunters to provide input into waterfowl management and hunting regulation decisions.
For more information contact, Larry Reynolds at 225-765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.


Shreveport Man Cited for Turkey Hunting Violation

Release Date: 04/30/2015

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited a Shreveport man for an alleged turkey hunting violation in Bienville Parish on April 25.

LDWF Sgt. Patrick Staggs cited Audie Arnold, 67, for hunting turkeys over a baited area.  Sgt. Staggs observed Arnold hunting turkeys from an elevated box blind surrounded by three corn feeders.

According to the 2015 Turkey Regulations pamphlet, no person shall hunt or take turkeys by the aid of baiting or on or over a baited area.  Hunters are not allowed to place, expose, deposit or scatter corn, wheat or other grain, salt or other feed to lure turkeys to their hunting area.

Hunting turkeys over a baited area brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

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

LDWF to Hold Summer Day Camps in Baton Rouge

Release Date: 04/30/2015

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are sponsoring two summer day camps at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge this summer.

The camps will be held from June 22-26 and again from July 20-24 and are completely free of charge.

The June 22-26 camp will be for 25 kids 10 to 12 years old and will take place from 8 a.m. to noon every day.  Snacks and drinks will be provided at the camp.  Parents must be able to drop their child off between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. and pick up their child between noon and 12:30 p.m. every day.  This camp will teach kids the basics of the outdoor with hands on activities and safety instructions.  The kids that make it thru this 1/2 day camp will then be guaranteed to be selected for the full day camp next year.

The July 20-24 camp is for 25 kids 12-15 years old and will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.  Snacks, lunch and drinks will be provided.  Parents must be able to drop their child off between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. pick up their child between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. every day.  At this full day camp each child will receive the boating and hunting education courses and hands on outdoor activities and safety instructions.

At both camps the children will receive their own rod and reel combo donated by Cabella’s of Gonzales.  The daily snacks and drinks at both camps are being funded by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF).  The LWFF will also donate a lifetime hunting and fishing license to one child at the July camp.  Lunch at the July camp is courtesy of LDWF.

To register for the camps, parents must fill out the online application by May 22.  Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register and may only register their child for one of the camps.  The online registration form is located at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/summerdaycamp.

LDWF will inform the parents whether or not their child was selected by May 29.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory for both camps.

During both camps LDWF will offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.  The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission will also assist with the camps and provide workshops on non-consumptive educational programs.

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

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Iatt Lake

Release Date: 04/29/2015

(April 29, 2015) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conjunction with the Grant Parish Police Jury will conduct a drawdown on Iatt Lake to control nuisance aquatic vegetation.  The drawdown is scheduled to begin on May 14, and the control structure will remain closed no later than October 15, 2015.
The water level will initially be lowered 6 feet from pool stage to evaluate the lake bottom.  If necessary, the lake will be drained an additional 2 feet in order to successfully dry out nuisance vegetation. 
The upcoming drawdown is part of the Department’s comprehensive management control plan for Iatt Lake.  Additional control recommendations include herbicide treatments and the stocking of 49,000 triploid (sterile) grass carp.
Although the lake will not be closed to fishing, caution is advised of boaters during the low water period, as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions.
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, on Instagram @wlfla or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For additional information, contact Ricky Moses, LDWF Biologist Manager, at rmoses@wlf.la.gov or (318) 487-5885. 
For press inquiries contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

LDWF Issues Advisory on Cogongrass

Release Date: 04/28/2015

Patch of Cogongrass flowering in a pine stand - photo by Bill Lamp
Cogongrass leaf with off-center midrib - photo by Ted Bodner
Small circular patch of Cogongrass flowering in a field - photo by C Bryson

April 28, 2015 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising private landowners that cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is in Louisiana, and now is the time to identify it and treat it. It was first discovered in Louisiana in 1990 in Washington Parish and has since spread to most of the southeastern parishes and some western and central parishes.
Cogongrass, an invasive exotic species, grows in very dense mats and rapidly displaces native vegetation, eventually converting acres of once productive habitat to an ecological desert, void of almost any desirable plants.  When this happens, the wildlife species that depend on the native vegetation are displaced and must seek other areas to live, feed and reproduce. Cogongrass spreads by underground shoots called rhizomes and by seeds. The dense stands of grass are very flammable and burn with an intense heat that can damage or kill standing timber. Once burned, however, it comes back as vigorous as ever.
Identification of cogongrass is relatively easy, since it is typically found in dense, often circular, patches, void of any other grasses or forbs.  The leaves are long and slender, up to six feet long and one inch wide, but more commonly about two to three feet long and ¾ of an inch wide.  The leaves are a light yellowish-green and the midrib is offset to one side.  It flowers in late March to mid-June and produces cylindrical fluffy white flower heads 2-8 inches long.  The seeds are light and carried by the wind, similar to those of a dandelion. 
What concerns wildlife biologists and foresters is the difficulty in controlling its growth.  For a long time it was thought that there was no controlling cogongrass, but recent research at the US Forest Service’s Southern Research Station in Asheville, NC, has shown that treating stands of cogongrass for three consecutive years with a mixture of a glyphosate and imazapyr herbicides has been effective (always follow label recommendations).
Treatments should occur in May, August or October.  Often, a treatment in the spring before flowering and another in the fall before dormancy is effective.  After the initial treatments, the area should be closely monitored for re-growth and treated as necessary.  LDWF recommends treating this plant when it first appears, which is critical to gaining the upper hand.  Left unmanaged, this grass will take over pine stands, pastures, roadsides and anywhere else it becomes established.   The cost and effort to control cogongrass can escalate quickly if left unattended. Now is the time to look for it and begin treating your property, if needed. 
If you suspect you have this weed growing on your property and need assistance with identification and treatment recommendations, contact your local LDWF Private Lands Biologist.  LDWF Wildlife Division field offices and phone numbers include: Monroe (318-343-4044), Minden (318-371-3052), Pineville (318-487-5885), Lake Charles (337-491-2575), Hammond (985-543-4777), Opelousas (337-948-0255), and New Iberia (337-373-0032).
For more information on this subject go to www.cogongrass.org , or contact Jimmy Ernst at 985-543-4784 or jernst@wlf.la.gov .


WETSHOP 2015 Registration Deadline is May 20

Release Date: 04/28/2015

April 28, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the registration deadline for WETSHOP 2015 is May 20. The coastal awareness workshop for science, history and social studies teachers is scheduled for June 14 through 19, 2015 at LDWF’s Grand Isle Fisheries Research Lab.
The focus of this six-day workshop is to provide teachers with an in-depth look at issues related to wetland ecology and coastal land loss in Louisiana.  Participating teachers will accrue 55 hours of instruction covering a wide variety of topics including wetland ecology, fisheries management, and coastal restoration.  Teachers will also spend a portion of each day in the field learning about maritime forests, barrier island beach ecology, coastal restoration projects, bird life, marsh and swamp habitats and marine organisms.
All participating teachers will receive GLE correlated wetland lessons and many other educational resources from numerous sponsoring agencies and organizations.  Lodging and meals are provided once participants reach the workshop site.  Upon completion of the workshop, each participant will receive a $250 stipend.  An additional stipend is available during the academic year upon completion of a wetland stewardship project.
WETSHOP is sponsored by LDWF with grant funding provided by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP).  In addition to this funding, WETSHOP is a collaborative effort with partners that provide experts in the field for presentations and educational materials.  These agencies/organizations include:  BTNEP, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, Coastal Planning Protection and Restoration Act and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium.
Teachers interested in WETSHOP 2015 can contact LDWF Biologist Supervisor Angela Capello at 318-623-4661 or acapello@wlf.la.gov.


Search Crews Looking for Missing Boater in Ascension Parish

Release Date: 04/28/2015

Search and rescue crews are currently looking for a missing boater on Bayou Manchac in Ascension Parish.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division along with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and the St. Amant Fire Department began searching for Allen Fitzgerald, 23, of Prairieville, last night, April 27, around 10 p.m.

According to the passenger in the front of the boat the two men were out boating in a 12-foot bateau with a six horsepower engine.  They were travelling on Bayou Manchac about three to four miles upstream from the Amite River when they began taking on water.

The passenger in the front of the boat was able to jump in the water before the boat sank.  Fitzgerald was in the back of the boat when it was taking on water and it is unknown at this time of his location.  The passenger was able to make it to shore and to a house where he called 911 for help.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  According to the passenger neither of the men was wearing a personal flotation device.

The search crews looked for Fitzgerald till 3 a.m. and resumed the search at daylight this morning.

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

Louisiana Saltwater Series Heads to Empire This Saturday

Release Date: 04/27/2015

(April 27, 2015) – The Louisiana Saltwater Series is as popular as ever and hopes to continue to attract new anglers each year, and it’s not too late to get in on the action in 2015.
Who:  Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
What:  Tag and release redfish fishing tournament
When:  Saturday, May 2, 2015
4 to 6 a.m.  – Registration
6 a.m. – Captain’s meeting
1:30 to 3:00 pm – Weigh-in
Where:  Delta Marina, Empire, La.
Visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com for additional details and to register.  Registration is $200 per two-man team, with exceptions for youth entrants.  The tournament series is 100% payout.
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 or (225) 721-0489.

LDWF Agents Arrest One and Cite Another for Illegal Oyster Sales

Release Date: 04/22/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Texas man and cited a Louisiana man for alleged illegal oyster sales in Terrebonne Parish on April 19.

Agents received a public tip about a man selling sacks of oysters from an unrefrigerated truck in Houma.  After investigating the tip, agents found Wally J. Bazar, 33, of New Orleans, selling green tagged oysters to the public from an unrefrigerated truck.  Green tagged oysters are to only be sold to a certified dealer or to a post-harvest treating facility.  Bazar also did not have a wholesale seafood license allowing him to sell oysters.

During questioning, Bazar admitted to buying a total of 10 sacks of oysters from Randy Smith, 51, of Angleton, Texas, on April 18 and 19.  Agents found Smith and learned that he was a deckhand on a commercial oyster fishing vessel.  Agents learned that Smith stole the oysters from the vessel without the owner’s knowledge and put them in his car before selling them to Bazar.

During Smith’s background check, agents found that he was wanted in Texas for the past two years on parole violations in Calhoun County Texas.  Agents arrested Smith as a fugitive from justice and charged him with theft, selling seafood without a wholesale seafood license, failing to maintain records, selling improperly tagged oysters and transporting oysters without a transport license.  He was booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail and is awaiting extradition to Texas.

Agents cited Bazar for violating oyster refrigeration requirements, selling seafood without a wholesale seafood license, selling improperly tagged oysters and failing to maintain traceable oyster records.

Theft brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Selling seafood without a seafood wholesale license, failing to maintain records, transport without transport license and selling improperly tagged oysters each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Violating oyster refrigeration requirements brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Sgt. Bryan Marie.

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


Louisiana Oyster Task Force Special Meeting

Release Date: 04/21/2015

Thursday, April 23, 1 p.m.
UNO Advanced Technology Center,
2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210, New Orleans

I. Roll call and introduction of guests

II. Discussion of 2015 Legislation
  A. House Bill 579

III. Public Comment

IV. Adjournment

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/8393290601870661121

For press inquiries please contact Ashley Roth, 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov To sign up for LDWF Alerts sent as text messages and emails directly to your mobile device click here.

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.

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