LDWF News Release

Two Men Cited For Oyster Violations in Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 09/30/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish on Sept. 26.

Agents cited Matthew J. Lepetich, 37, of Belle Chasse, and Jose M. Bocanegra, 45, of St. Bernard, for violations of the states oyster sanitation code that are intended for raw consumption.  Lepetich was also cited for violations of the vessel monitoring systems for oyster cargo vessels, failing to tag oysters properly and failing to maintain the required records for oyster cargo vessels.

The charges stem from agents stopping Lepetich in Bay Adams in Plaquemines Parish without the required Department of Health and Hospitals log sheet filled out.  The log sheet is used to indicate what the intended use was for the oysters.

After further investigation, agents learned that Lepetich was receiving oysters from one of his other vessels that were not refrigerated properly and which were intended for raw consumption.  The vessel those oysters were received from had no type of refrigeration on board.

The oysters harvested by Lepetich himself were also not properly tagged by lot ID’s in accordance with Department of Heath and Hospitals regulations for raw consumption oysters.

Lastly, Lepetich did not have the required vessel monitoring system on his vessel as required by oyster cargo vessels.

Agents seized 351 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.

Violating the states oyster sanitation code for non-refrigerated oysters for raw consumption, failing to maintain required records for oyster vessels and the vessel monitoring system for oyster cargo vessels each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to tag oysters carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young, Senior Agent Joel Cromp, Sgt. Tim Fox, Senior Agent Brett Nabors, Senior Agent Robert Cosse Jr., and Agent Jeff Farmer.

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

Many Resident Pleads Guilty To Possessing A Firearm, Ammunition After Being Convicted Of Felonies

Release Date: 09/29/2014

A Many man pleaded guilty on Sept. 26 to possessing a shotgun and ammunition after being convicted of multiple felonies, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced.

Jerry Kenneth Thompson Jr., 44, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to one count of possessing a firearm and ammunition after a felony conviction.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) agents discovered Thompson on Dec. 31, 2013 in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition while hunting on private property without permission and using a stolen deer stand.  Thompson admitted to LDWF agents that he had prior felony convictions and knew he could not possess a firearm.

Further investigation confirmed that Thompson had seven felony convictions in California.  The felony convictions include: two convictions for grand theft, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, second degree burglary of a vehicle, possession with intent to sell a controlled substance with a gang affiliation enhancement, transportation of a controlled substance, and possession for sale of cocaine base.  Thompson also had a prior felony conviction in Sabine Parish for simple burglary.

Thompson faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and forfeiture of the firearm and ammunition.  A sentencing date of Jan. 30, 2015 was set.

The ATF and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. is prosecuting the case.

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

L.D.W.F. iPhone App to Undergo Renovation

Release Date: 09/29/2014

Sept. 29, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) iPhone app will be renovated in coming months to make the information resource more user friendly.

If you currently have this app on your iPhone, please install the current update.  This will remove any outdated content while the department develops a new, more user-friendly version that will provide accurate, season-specific information and regulations.

Until that update is made, iPhone users are advised to use the LDWF web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov for the most current LDWF news and information including hunting season dates and hunting and fishing regulations.

LDWF will continue to distribute news and information through annual publications including the agency’s hunting and fishing regulations booklets, special seasonal announcements, press releases, on-line video information pieces, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb, or Twitter @LDWF. The department web site will continue to serve as the agency’s primary information source.

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .


Louisiana Crab Task Force to Meet in New Orleans

Release Date: 09/29/2014

The Louisiana Crab Task Force will meet on Tuesday, September 30 at 1 p.m. in New Orleans at the UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, suite 210.

  1.            Roll Call and introduction of guests
  2.           Approval of September 30 agenda and June 5 meeting minutes
  3.            Financial Report
  4.            Old Business

                       A. Professionalism
                       B. Marketing
                       C. Sustainability

  1.             New Business

                      A.  2015 Derelict Crab Trap Clean-up-  LDWF
                      B.  Report on trap limits in other states- LDWF
                      C. Discussion of 2015 legislative items-LDWF  
       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 join the meeting via webinar register at  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1520875631185747969
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.

Agenda For October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 09/29/2014

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

The following items will be discussed:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of September 4, 2014

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To Hear Enforcement Reports September 2014

5. Shikar Safari State of Louisiana Wildlife Officer of the Year Presentation

6. To Consider a Notice of Intent to establish the Catch and Cook program

7. To receive public comments on the amendments on the Port Eads Notice of Intent  

8. To hear an update on the Spotted Sea Trout Assessment

9. Set February 2015 Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Adjournment
To join the meeting via webinar register at

Lafayette Man Arrested for DWI on the Water

Release Date: 09/25/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Lafayette man for allegedly operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) and other violations on the Vermilion River in Lafayette Parish on Sept. 20.

Agents arrested Benjamin J. Pooler III, 46, for DWI, reckless operation of a vessel and three counts of aggravated assault and booked him into the Lafayette Parish Jail.

Agents were notified around 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 20 about a man operating a vessel while intoxicated near Southside Park. The complaint came from three people kayaking in the river whom claimed that the operator of a white cigarette boat appeared to try and run them over and was traveling at a high rate of speed in a no wake zone.  The kayakers said the operator of the vessel circled them multiple times eventually swamping one kayak before they were able to call 911.

When agents arrived on scene they received another tip about the same white cigarette boat operating a boat in a reckless manner and that the vessel was stopped on the bank of the river appearing to have struck a tree.

Agents observed Pooler III on the Vermilion River operating a vessel that matched the description just south of Ambassador Caffery Parkway.  Agents made contact with Pooler III and after doing a field sobriety test arrested him for DWI, reckless operation of a vessel and aggravated assault.

Agents noted that Pooler III’s vessel had green leaves inside and that tree limbs were stuck to the side of the vessel indicating he hit a tree somewhere on the river.

DWI brings a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Reckless operation of a vessel carries up to a $200 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Aggravated assault brings up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Agents participating in this case are Sgt. Ryan Faul and Senior Agent Thomas Ashley.

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

California to Continue Sales of Alligator and Crocodilian Products

Release Date: 09/25/2014

California to Continue Sales of Alligator and Crocodilian Products

LDWF Management Program Demonstrates Beneficial Sustained Use

Sept. 25, 2014 -- Alligator boots, handbags and other leather goods products can continue to be sold throughout California following passage of Assembly Bill 2075, sponsored by Luis Alejo and signed by Governor Gerry Brown on Sept. 18.
The bill extends the sunset clause on previously passed legislation to January 1, 2020.
California was the only state in the US that, prior to 2006, prohibited the sale of alligator or crocodile products under an out-dated Penal Code. That code was initially adopted when the Endangered Species Act was passed by the U.S. Congress, almost 50 years ago.
In 2006, the state of Louisiana through the Department of Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) first challenged the California prohibition by proving the Louisiana alligator’s recovery was working and evidence of sustainable use of a renewable natural resource.
The California ban was lifted by legislation that established a sunset clause to allow legal sale of alligator and some crocodile products which has now been extended three times (2006, 2009 and 2014) with help from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Crocodile Specialist Group (IUCN,CSG), California Retailers Association, Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies representing all 50 state wildlife departments, conservationists and trade representatives from about two dozen countries who also sustainably manage crocodilians.
“It is important for the public and policymakers to better understand the benefits of sustainable use to the conservation of wetlands and natural habitats and to the communities that are supported by a viable alligator industry,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We are committed to an alligator trade that is legal, sustainable and verifiable.”
Mainstream conservation organizations around the world have also recognized the crocodilian trade for more than four decades as proactively addressing research, management, enforcement, compliance, trade monitoring and conservation education.
The Louisiana alligator currently generates more than $70 million a year in raw value from hides and meat that now exceeds $1 billion over the last four decades of total economic benefit to the state of Louisiana.  The alligator accounts for over 50 percent of all classic leather worldwide and along with several other crocodiles is widely recognized by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Treaty, with 182 member nations, as a model sustainable use program. The Louisiana alligator’s “Marsh to Market” story captures economic incentives that benefit conservation and communities.
“It is once again clear that survival of the most critically endangered crocodilians in the world depends on stopping habitat loss and/or finding incentives for local communities to overcome their strengthening reluctance to re-introduce predatory crocodiles, even if suitable habitat is available or restored,” said Dr. Grahame Webb, Chairman of IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group. “Conversely, the model crocodilian programs, where wild populations are secure and recovered, are the programs where sustainable use creates commercial benefits (economic incentives), for local communities and governments to invest in the conservation of crocodilians and their natural, wetland habitats.”
Louisiana’s alligator population has recovered from a low of about 100,000 in 1962 when hunting was banned. LDWF’s Alligator Management Program monitored the species recovery and began a gradual return to licensed harvest. In 1972, the alligator season was opened only in Cameron Parish and lasted 13 days. Other parishes were gradually added until the season became statewide in 1981. Louisiana’s wild and farm alligator harvests currently exceed 300,000 animals annually, while the wild population level (based on aerial nest surveys) remains stable at over two million alligators.
For more information on LDWF’s Alligator Management Program, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-program or contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .


Tunica Hills WMA Deer Archery (Bucks Only) Season Dates Corrected

Release Date: 09/24/2014

Sept. 24, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising deer hunters using Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during the bucks only archery season that the correct dates are Oct. 1-15, 2014.
The Deer Archery (bucks only) season dates for Tunica Hills WMA are incorrectly listed in the printed version of the 2014-15 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet on page 100.
The Oct. 1-15 dates for the Deer Archery (bucks only) season are listed correctly in the web-posted version of the hunting regulations pamphlet available on the LDWF web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations.
Tunica Hills WMA encompasses 5,906 acres in West Feliciana Parish and is owned by the LDWF. The WMA lies at the southern end of the “loess blufflands” escarpment that follows the east bank of the Mississippi River south from its confluence with the Ohio River. These blufflands offer a diverse and unique habitat that supports some species of plants and animals not found elsewhere in Louisiana.
For additional information about the WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2752 or contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4781 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.


Seven Louisiana Men Charged with Oyster Fishing During Closed Season

Release Date: 09/19/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents issued 10 citations for alleged oyster violations to men on three separate vessels on Sept. 15 in Sister Lake in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Johnathan M. Reyes, 25, of Houma, Louis M. Carbajal, 23, of Houma, John T. Parker, 25, of Houma, Zachary Lacoste, 19, of Chauvin, Avilez A. Carbajal, 51, of Theriot, Teddy D. Dardar, 28, of Houma, and Dylan D. Parker, 21, of Houma, for taking oysters during a closed season on Sister Lake.  Reyes was also charged with taking oysters without a commercial license.  Parker was also charged with violating the oyster sanitation code and failing to possess a commercial license.

Agents received numerous complaints about oyster vessels operating on the Sister Lake State Seed in early September.  During this particular patrol of the area agents found three vessels actively dredging for oysters in the closed area. 

Agents seized 33 sacks of oysters and returned them to Sister Lake.

Taking oysters during a closed season on state water bottoms brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to possess a commercial license and taking oysters without a commercial license each bring a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Violating the oyster sanitation code carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Senior Agent Stephen Rhodes and Agent Ryan Breaux.

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

Legislation Provides for Special Deer Hunting Season for Honorably Discharged Louisiana Veterans on Private Lands

Release Date: 09/18/2014

Sept. 18, 2014 – Honorably discharged, Louisiana resident veterans will have extra hunting dates on private lands during the 2014-15 Louisiana deer hunting season.
Legislative action initiated by Rep. Jeff Thompson (Dist. 8, Bossier City) during the 2014 Regular Legislative Session, and signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal as Act 678, provides a special deer season for Louisiana residents who are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.  This season will run concurrently with the open Youth Season in all zones, and will be restricted to hunting on private lands.

“Louisiana has a long and rich tradition of those who serve our nation and protect our freedom.  As the Sportsman’s Paradise, it is appropriate we show our appreciation with this special hunting season for these heroes,” said Thompson
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission adopted in June the following dates for a special Resident Honorably Discharged Veterans Deer Season on private lands:
Areas 1, 4, 5, 6, and 9:  Oct. 25-31
Area 2:  Oct. 11-17
Areas 3, 7, 8, and 10:  Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
This special deer season, which is available for youth (ages 17 and younger) and physically challenged hunters, precedes the opening weekend of regular firearms season.
The 2014-15 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet contains the complete listing of all deer season dates in the 10 designated deer areas in the state. To view the booklet on line, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/regulations .

For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or 318-487-5885, or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.

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