LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Hunters Preparing For Upcoming Season Advised of Problems Associated with Use of Tainted Corn for Feed

Release Date: 08/25/2011

Aug. 25, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is advising anyone using corn to feed deer and turkeys that care should be taken to avoid tainted corn, especially corn with high aflatoxin levels. The best way to avoid tainted corn is to purchase packaged corn that has been tested and labeled aflatoxin free.

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by a fungus that affects certain grain products, especially yellow corn, under conditions of high heat, drought, and high relative humidity. Consumption of aflatoxin by animals may cause liver disease, unthriftiness, abortion, poor reproduction, poor immune function and death.  The severity of disease is related to the dose of aflatoxin consumed and the time span over which it is consumed.

According to the LA Department of Agriculture, there are scattered areas of aflatoxin tainted corn in Louisiana this year.

Grains contaminated with aflatoxin in excess of levels allowed in animal feeds should not be fed to wildlife.  Due to the sensitivity of wild turkeys to aflatoxin, 20 ppb should be considered the maximum level for corn distributed in areas where turkeys are present.

Acute exposure to aflatoxin occurs when an animal ingests a large dose at high concentrations over a short period of time resulting in death. Birds such as wild turkeys, ducks and geese are more susceptible than mammals. However, chronic exposure is much more likely to occur with wildlife eating from a corn feeder.

The safest source of deer corn is retail stores selling corn certified as aflatoxin free.  Hunters seeking a cheap source of corn directly from the field may get a short-term bargain but a long-term loss of recreational opportunity if wildlife is exposed to corn contaminated with high levels of aflatoxin.

Hunters are reminded that conditions causing high aflatoxin levels in cornfields occur only rarely under a narrow set of conditions.  The most frequent source of aflatoxin is good corn that has been mishandled.  Clean corn that is transported or stored at high temperatures and high humidity can produce aflatoxin within 24 hours and biologically significant amounts in a few days.  Year in and year out, hunters should be vigilant about the proper transportation, storage, and feeding of corn to avoid the detrimental impacts of aflatoxicosis on all forms of wildlife.

                                                LDWF RECOMMENDATIONS

1.       Just say no to corn feeding.  This is the only way to be absolutely certain that aflatoxin and other mortality factors (predators) associated with supplemental feeding will be eliminated.

2.       Maintain a healthy well-balanced deer herdby proper application of either-sex harvest. Research on livestock indicates that stress-free well-fed animals are not as susceptible to aflatoxin related disorders as under-nourished animals with additional stress factors (parasites, etc.).

3.       Use only certified cornthat is below 20-ppb aflatoxin.

4.       Do not expose corn to rainfallduring transportation and store it in water, insect and rodent resistant containers placed in a cool location. Wildlife resources should be treated like prize livestock and fed only the best quality corn.

5.       Use feeders that protect corn from the weather and dispense small quantities.  Frequent filling of feeders with small hoppers will keep corn fresh.  Do not use wet or moldy corn. 

6.       Frequently move feedersto reduce the risk of wildlife exposure to secondary diseases and parasites that can contaminate the soil in an area of frequent use.

7.       Terminate your feeding program by February 15th each year.  

8.       Thoroughly clean storage containers and feeders annually.  Remove dirt, old corn and debris and wash with bleach and water at the end of the season.

For more information, contact Dr. Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or jlacour@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.

 

Fishermen Cited In Federal Waters

Release Date: 08/25/2011

 

August 25, 2011-Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four men on Aug. 15 and two men on Aug. 16 for alleged fisheries violations in federal waters.

On Aug. 15, agents cited Larry Minor III, 23, of Fairhope, Ala., Jeffery Copeland, 42, of Mobile, Ala., Wayne Guidry, 34, of Marrero, and Jason Chauvin, 41, of Baton Rouge, for failing to have saltwater finfish intact and possessing red snapper during a closed season.

On Aug. 16, agents cited Richard Britton, 48, of Pickens, S.C., and Brian Loupe, 30, of Morgan City for possessing red snapper during a closed season.

Agents seized 153 red snapper, shark and blue fish filets on the Aug. 15 case and for the Aug. 16 case seized 70 red snapper filets and a 17-inch red snapper.

Agents participating in the cases were Sgts. Travis Huval and Brian Theriot, Senior Agents Donnie Bozeman and David Boudreaux, and Agent Brandon Fontenot.

The penalties for taking red snapper during a closed season are fines between $100 and $350, or up to 60 days in jail, or both plus court costs.  Failing to have saltwater finfish intact are fines between $250 and $500, or up to 90 days in jail, or both plus court costs.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Agenda for September Commission Meeting

Release Date: 08/24/2011

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, September 1, 2011, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

 

The following items will be discussed:

 

 1.         Roll Call

 

 2.         Approval of Minutes of August 4, 2011 and August 17, 2011

 

3.         Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

 

4.         To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/August

 

5.         Public comments on amended Notice of Intent on the Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester   Permit

 

6.         To receive and consider Notice of Intent on 2012 Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program

 

7.         To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency for 2011-2012 Oyster Season on Public Oyster Areas

 

8.         Pre-Moratorium Pending Oyster Lease Application Status

 

9.         Set January 2012 Meeting Date

 

10.       Receive Public Comments

 

11.        Adjournment

LDWF to Hold Public Meeting Regarding 2012 Turkey Season Regulations

Release Date: 08/22/2011

August 22, 2011 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold a public meeting on August 30, 2011 at 6 p.m., at the Charles H. Garrett Community Center in Jonesboro, La., to discuss the dates and length of the 2012 turkey season. Members of the public interested in turkey hunting are encouraged to attend and provide input.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, Jimmy Stafford at 225-765-2361 or jstafford@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, please contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Meeting Scheduled for August 23 in New Orleans

Release Date: 08/22/2011

When: Tuesday,  August 23, 2011 @ 1:00 PM

Where: UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210

Agenda:

I.  Roll Call

II.  Approval of May 10, 2011 MINUTES,  Approval of August 3, 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

           C.   Sabine Lake Oyster Reefs Update

           D.   Public Oyster Reef Evaluation & Shell Plants – Patrick Banks

VI.  New Business

           A.  2011 – 2012 Public Seed Ground Season Recommendations

           B.   “Louisiana Wild” Seafood Certification Program - Joey Shephard (WLF)

Temple-Inland Agrees to State Request to Support Sampling of Private Water Wells and Seafood

Release Date: 08/19/2011

LDWf Enforcement Mobile Command

August 19, 2011 — The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) are working with local officials in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to conduct a new round of precautionary testing of a sample of private water wells along the Pearl River. Temple Inland agreed to support the state’s request to begin precautionary testing earlier today.

Initial testing of drinking water from public water systems by DHH and of the river water impacted by the discharge by DEQ showed non-detect levels of volatile organic contaminants, as well as acceptable levels for other types of potential contaminants. The new testing is being done out of an abundance of caution.

For private well sampling, DHH is working with local officials and engineers in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to identify a sample of 10 registered private water wells in each parish to test. Those samples are being collected today and tomorrow and will be analyzed over the weekend by DHH’s lab in Metairie, which also analyzed the public water system samples taken earlier this week. Results are expected back by Monday and Tuesday.

More information about private water well safety and testing can be found at www.privatewaterandsewage.dhh.la.gov.

Seafood testing also set to begin

DHH and LDWF will also begin testing seafood from areas that could have been or will be impacted by the “Black Liquor” that was formed after the Temple-Island discharge. Temple Inland agreed to support DHH’s water testing efforts earlier today.

LDWF began pulling live samples of crab, shrimp and finfish following a protocol similar to the one used during last year’s BP oil spill, and will provide those samples to DHH to be tested. LDWF fisheries biologists are sampling at multiple locations, including in the upper, middle and lower Pearl River, two control sites, and sites in the Rigolets at the mouth of the Pearl River and in Mud Lake.

Because of the nature of potential contaminants from the mill, DHH will conduct more complex testing that requires specialized equipment and specially trained personnel. Results are expected by the middle to end of next week.

DHH, which oversees safety of the state’s oyster areas, has been monitoring Oyster Areas 1, 2 and 3, which could get water from the Pearl River for signs of the “Black Liquor.” Samples already pulled from those areas routinely will be used to conduct baseline testing so that if the discharge material gets to the area, DHH will be able to do additional testing to ensure the safety of the oysters in those areas.

Temple-Inland, which has admitted responsibility for the incident that led to a large fish kill, agreed to the state’s request to pay for the precautionary random testing of private water wells and seafood.

Incident Command Centers in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes

Incident command centers for LDWF and DEQ have been set up in Washington and St. Tammany parishes to assist in the response. LDWF Mobile Command is located in Washington Parish just south of Bogalusa at Pools Bluff off of Hwy 21 in Washington Parish on the Pearl River. This is a high-profile location from where cleanup vessels and other vessels are launching. DEQ is sending a command post to this same location as water sampling along the Pearl River continues. The Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and DEQ have command posts set up in St. Tammany Parish at the Crawford Landing boat ramp.

Water quality back to normal in some areas

Water samples throughout the Pearl River from the discharge point at Temple-Inland Bogalusa Mill to below Pools Bluff show the water quality is back to normal. These are areas that are above the plume. Information from a DEQ over-flight today shows a dramatic improvement in water quality since yesterday. As the plume dissipates it gets harder to identify. Preliminary in-depth water quality samples taken on Aug. 14 at the discharge point returned from the lab today and show there were no chemicals of concern released from the Inland-Temple Mill outfall. Dozens of daily samples have been taken in the Pearl River since August 13. Recent assessments show water quality levels in Pearl River, from Washington Parish to the end of the river, are not lethal to fish.

Further Information Available

People with questions about the incident can call the DEQ hotline number is 225-342-1234 or 1-888-763-5424. The DEQ Regional Office number is 504-736-7701. The LDWF 24-hour hotline for reporting further fish kill impacts is 1-800-442-2511. For health questions people can call the Louisiana Poison Center, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-222-1222. Media inquiries should go to 225-219-3964 or 225-329-9743.

Sherburne W.M.A. Again Accessible from US Hwy. 190

Release Date: 08/18/2011

Aug. 18, 2011 -- Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is again accessible via US Hwy. 190 now that LA 975 has been reopened.

LA 975 had been closed due to flood impacts from spring floodwater. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development recently completed necessary repairs and determined the road safe for vehicular traffic.

Big Alabama Road, within the WMA, is the only remaining interior roadway closed.  LDWF will provide notification once repairs to Big Alabama Road have been completed.  Sherburne WMA includes acreage in St. Martin, Pointe Coupee and Iberville Parishes.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or Tony Vidrine at tvidrine@wlf.la.gov or call LDWF’s Opelousas field office at 337-948-0255.

Final Qualifying Louisiana Saltwater Series Tournament Scheduled This Weekend

Release Date: 08/17/2011

 

Aug. 18, 2011 –The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) anticipates a crowd at its final qualifying Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Tournament this weekend at Moran’s Marina in Port Fourchon, La. on August 20, 2011.  The series is dedicated to catch-and-release saltwater angling through a series of agency-sponsored fishing tournaments.

The series was developed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation to promote conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources and targets one of Louisiana’s most valuable sport fish, redfish.  

The grassroots-based tournament provides anglers with the opportunity to give back to the resource.  Contestants vie for cash prizes and test their skill while enjoying the thrill of the competitive sport. 

Each series includes two-man teams with a $200 entry fee for each event. For teams consisting of three members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  The tournament is a 100 percent payout series.

This year, a youth division was established to introduce young anglers to the sport of fishing, and to teach the catch-and-release approach to conservation. Participants under 16 years of age will compete against one another in a separate category for trophy catch; all youth anglers will be recognized. 

The 2011 series is comprised of six fishing events and a championship. Tournament locations are scheduled across the coast.  The tournament will close with its Championship on October 7 and 8 at The Delta Marina in Empire, La.

Online registration for the tournament will close on Thursday, August 18 at noon, but those interested in participating can register at Moran’s Marina from 4:30 to 5:30 a.m., the morning of the event.  Only cash or checks will be accepted for payment of registration fees the morning of the event.

For complete information, including rules, regulations and entry forms go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com

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 more information contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-5113.

L.W.F.C. Provides Dates for Deer Hunting with Dogs in Kisatchie National Forest

Release Date: 08/17/2011

KNF Officials Must Survey Public for Opinions and Render Decision to Finalize

Aug. 17, 2011 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC), in a special meeting to consider changing already established still hunting dates to allow for deer hunting with dogs in Kisatchie National Forest (KNF), today approved a motion for a nine day period in December for that activity. KNF officials at the meeting explained and answered questions regarding the US Forest Service process.
 
“Because the federal ban on deer hunting with dogs on Kisatchie has been reversed, the commission felt the issue should be reconsidered in fairness to those hunters who choose to hunt deer with dogs,” said Stephen Sagrera, LWFC chairman.
 
The dates approved by the Commission, Dec. 17 through 25, would pertain to the Catahoula, Winn and Kisatchie Ranger Districts and the Evangeline Unit of the Calcasieu Ranger District.
 
“The Forest Service will proceed with addressing those deficiencies identified in the previous process and will include opportunities for the public to comment and participate,” said Michael Balboni, KNF Forest Supervisor.  “The goal is to make a new decision this fall.”
 
Commission action, taken as a declaration of emergency, was necessary since the 2011-12 deer hunting dates recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) had been finalized following the public comment period provided from February through May of 2011. LDWF had not included deer hunting with dog dates as part of the proposed 2011-12 deer hunting season due to a decision announced by KNF officials in the fall of 2010 that deer hunting with dogs would no longer be allowed on KNF property.
 
US Forest Service officials in Washington, D.C., reversed the regional decision to discontinue deer hunting with dogs indicating that the rationale used to make that decision was not sound. That information was presented to the Commission at their Aug. 4 regular monthly meeting, prompting a reconsideration of the 2011-12 deer hunting dates already in place.
 
If deer hunting with dogs on KNF proceeds on the dates approved by the Commission today, the permitting process for that activity, as established by LDWF in 2010, will again be required for all hunters during the Dec. 17 – 25 portion of the deer season on KNF.
 
For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov  or Jim Caldwell at 318-473-7168 or jcaldwell@fs.fed.us.

New Iberia Man Pleads Guilty for Taking Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 08/17/2011

 

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division investigation of an illegally taken black bear has resulted in a guilty plea of a New Iberia man in Federal Western District Court in Lafayette on Aug. 17.

Cory R. Ronsonet, 39, pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna for one count of violating the endangered species act for illegally taking a Louisiana black bear.  A pre-sentence investigation is in progress to help determine penalties.  Ronsonet could receive up to $100,000 dollars in fines and up to one-year imprisonment.

LDWF initiated the investigation during the 2008-09 hunting season after receiving a public tip that a black bear had been shot and the bear was skinned and stored in a fashion to mount it in the future.  Agents then found a black bear skin and its decapitated head on May 19, 2011 off of Daniel Lane near a subdivision in New Iberia.  During the investigation, Ronsonet admitted to LDWF Enforcement Division agents on May 31, 2011 of taking the black bear in question.

"This is a perfect example of the public and law enforcement working together to help solve a case.  The agents did a great job of pursuing the perpetrator for over a year and bringing justice to this case," said Col. Winton Vidrine, Chief of LDWF's Enforcement Division.  "Due to the nature of a federal investigation, enforcement officials were not able to provide any details about the investigation until this point."

LDWF Senior Agent David Boudreaux was the lead investigator on the case and was assisted by Sgts. James Rhodes, Mitch Darby, Brian Theriot and Senior Agent Jason Romero.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Special Agent Phillip Siragusa also assisted with the investigation.

The bear had been a part of LDWF's black bear program and was first tagged in 2000 when it was estimated to be six years old.  The passive integrated transponder implanted during the initial capture was left in the hide when the bear was skinned and provided positive identification.  LDWF had never received a nuisance call about this older male bear that lived mostly in the Weeks Island area of lower Iberia Parish.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992.  Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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