LDWF News Release

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.


Hunters for the Hungry Hosting “Clean Out Your Freezer Day” Sept. 28 To Benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

Release Date: 09/18/2014

Sept. 18, 2014 -- Hunters for the Hungry will host its annual “Clean Out Your Freezer Day” to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank on Sunday, Sept. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m.
In conjunction with Hunter Action Month, sportsmen are encouraged to clean out their freezers and share their leftover bounty with the hungry. Donations will be distributed directly to those in need to more than 125 member agencies in the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s service area.
In past years, Hunters for the Hungry has collected more than 190,000 pounds of fish, game and other frozen items. “‘Clean Out Your Freezer Day,’ will enable the Food Bank to distribute frozen fish and game to the thousands of people throughout our 11-parish service area,” Michael Manning, president and CEO of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank said. “The Food Bank is seeking more food than in previous years to provide for the increased need,” Manning continued.
Hunters for the Hungry encourages hunters and fisherman to enjoy the plentiful wild game in Louisiana and give back by sharing frozen fish and game with the hungry through programs such as “Clean Out Your Freezer Day” and “Donate A Deer.” “Clean Out Your Freezer Day” gives sportsmen an excellent opportunity to put their leftover fish and game to good use when preparing for the upcoming hunting season. Local sportsmen are encouraged to deliver their frozen product to the listed donation sites.
Site list: East Baton Rouge Parish – Old Alex Box Stadium, LSU; Baker Fire Department, 3701 Groom Road; Baton Rouge Fire Departments, 835 Sharp Road and 150 South Wooddale Blvd.; Bowie Outfitters, 8630 Perkins Road; CCA of Louisiana, 12241 Industriplex Blvd.; Central Fire Department, 11646 Sullivan Road; St. George Fire Departments, 7027 Antioch Road and 16415 George O’Neal Lane; Zachary Fire Department, 4525 Main St.; Ascension Parish – Cabela’s, I-10 and LA 30, Gonzales; Livingston Parish – Bass Pro Shop, I-12 and Range Ave., Denham Springs; West Baton Rouge Parish – Spillway Sportsman, off LA 1, Brusly; West Feliciana Parish – Feliciana Seafood and Deli, Hwy 61, Exxon Station, St. Francisville. Grace Episcopal Church St Francisville; East Feliciana Parish – Red Boot Deli, 12430 Saint Helena St. Clinton.
For more information, contact Amy Sellers at 225-359-9940, ext. 206 or amy@brfoodbank.org .


Jefferson Man Cited for Illegal Possession of Piranhas

Release Date: 09/18/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Jefferson Parish resident for alleged illegal piranha possession violations on Sept. 14 in Harahan.

Agents received a complaint about Jonathan M. Currey, 23, of Harahan, being in possession of several piranhas in a fish tank located in his apartment.  The agents made contact with Currey at his apartment where he was found to be in possession of five piranhas.  LDWF biologists assisted in the identification of the piranhas.

Illegal exotic fish possession of certain species, in this case piranhas, brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail plus court costs.

An LDWF issued permit for exotic fish of certain species is needed to possess piranhas.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Tim Fox and Agent Jeff Farmer.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.


Release Date: 09/16/2014

September. 15, 2014 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) on September 27. 

NHFD is a national event celebrated by all 50 states on the fourth Saturday in September. It was created in 1972 when Congress passed two bills establishing a specific day to celebrate the conservation contributions of our nation’s hunters and anglers. Over forty years later, the events are still going strong. 

LDWF introduced its first NHFD event in 1982 at the Monroe district office. In the following years, three more locations were developed in Baton Rouge, Minden and Woodworth. Today, more than 10,000 people statewide attend the celebrations, establishing the overall largest public outreach event for the department.

“Our goal to is get people outdoors to enjoy the activities we offer and hopefully, send them home with a renewed interest and appreciation for Louisiana’s natural resources,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “The National Hunting and Fishing Day experience is designed to stimulate greater interest in experiencing and preserving the treasures we have here in Sportsman’s Paradise.”

All four events are free. The number and types of exhibits vary at each location but all include exhibits on LDWF management programs, shooting and fishing demonstrations, exhibits from local chapters of Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club and CCA, and supporting businesses from the local communities. Attendees have the chance to try their skills at the shooting ranges, fishing ponds and boating activities, as well as learn about wildlife through interaction with live animals. 

Family Fish Fest
In conjunction with the National Hunting and Fishing Day Outdoor Festival on September 27, LDWF will host a Family Fish Fest for youth age 15 and under at the Baton Rouge location. The event is free and registration is on-site only beginning at 9 a.m. The first 50 registrants will receive a complimentary rod and reel, courtesy of Pure Fishing, and the first 100 registrants will receive a fishing goodie bag. Every registrant will automatically be entered into numerous prize drawings. In addition, adults will receive one raffle ticket for each youth they enter into the Family Fish Fest for the chance to win great prizes. All anglers are asked to bring their own fishing equipment and bait.

The schedule for the Baton Rouge Family Fish Fest is as follows:

Registration                                       9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Fishing/weigh-in                                9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Awards ceremony and giveaways   11 a.m.
Hunting and Fishing Day Activity Book and Scout Patch Opportunity
Youth and Scout participants can also obtain and complete an activity book from the Activity Book Registration tent to receive a Hunting and Fishing Day patch (Scouts only) and sticker at the Baton Rouge and Woodworth locations. The booklet includes numerous activities including casting, fish ID, canoeing, fish tagging, archery, and more!     

For more information on National Hunting and Fishing Day, contact one of the four locations or go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/nhfd2013
Baton Rouge
Waddill Outdoor Education Center

4142 N. Flannery Road

OPSO Public Shooting Range

357 Sheriff Fewell Rd
West Monroe, LA 71291

(318) 343-4044 

Bodcau Wildlife Management Area

1700 Bodcau Dam Rd.
Haughton, LA 71037

(318) 371-3050 

Woodworth Outdoor Education Center

661 Robinson Bridge Rd.
Woodworth, LA 71485

(318) 484-2212


White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area 2014-15 Marsh and Rice Field Waterfowl Lottery Hunts Announced

Release Date: 09/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for 2014-15 marsh and rice field waterfowl lottery hunts on White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Vermilion Parish.
Marsh hunts are available on:
Nov. 20, 24, 26, 29 and 30;
Dec. 22, 23, 27 and 28; and
Jan. 5, 13 and 15.
Rice field hunts are available on:
Nov. 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 25, 29 and 30;
Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 20, 21, 24, 27, 28 and 30; and
Jan. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 25.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and applications for both hunts must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2014.
Applications may be obtained by contacting any of LDWF's field offices or by visiting the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications .  Completed applications may be delivered in person to the LDWF headquarters building at 2000 Quail Drive, Room 422, Baton Rouge, La., 70808 or by mail to the same address.   Please note on envelope: Attention: White Lake Marsh (or Rice Field) Lottery Hunt, whichever is applicable.
Each application must include a non-refundable $5 administrative fee. The $5 fee must be paid by a check or money order payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Successful applicants will be notified by mail.
Selected applicants will be allowed two guests for the rice field hunts and one guest for the marsh hunts. An additional payment of $225 will be required for the rice field hunts and $350 for the marsh hunts.
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 on White Lake WCA marsh and rice field waterfowl lottery hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1, or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov .


Hunters Reminded to Practice Treestand Safety

Release Date: 09/11/2014

Sept. 11, 2014 -- As the opening of the 2014-15 deer season approaches, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding hunters to make pre-hunt checks to ensure treestand safety and use appropriate safety gear to reduce the chance of accidents in the field.
Each year, a few hunters are injured when they fall from stands or their stands fail. Nearly all of these injuries can be prevented if hunters follow some basic treestand safety rules:

  • Thoroughly check and inspect the stand and all safety equipment before use.  If a stand was left on a tree or in the woods since last season, all straps should be replaced with new straps specifically designed for treestand use.  Older straps may appear safe to use, but they can be weaken with exposure to weather and sunlight.  In addition, straps left on trees for long periods are under continual stress as the tree grows and may break when placed under a load.
  • Only use treestands and safety equipment that meet or exceed industry standards recognized by the Treestand Manufacture’s Association (TMA).  A list of products that are certified to industry standards recognized by TMA is available on the TMA website: www.tmastands.com .
  • Always wear and properly attach a Full Body Fall Arrest Harness System (FBFAHS) anytime you leave the ground, including while ascending and descending.  Older devices such as single strap belts and chest harnesses are dangerous and should never be used.  Many new stands come with a FBFAHS.   In addition, there are numerous comfortable and easy to use FBFAHS that can be purchased separately from a stand.
  • Use your safety equipment properly and practice before you go hunting.  Read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  In the presence of a responsible adult, practice with your FBFAHS near ground level and experience what it feels like to be suspended.  Know how to recover if you experience a fall in your FBFAHS and be sure to have a communication or signaling device that you can access if you are suspended in your FBFAHS.
  • After you are in your stand and have properly attached your FBFAHS, use a haul line to lift your equipment, including your unloaded firearm or bow, into your stand.  Never climb with a firearm or bow attached to your body.
  • Always let a responsible person know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return.  Provide them with emergency contact information in the event you do not return when expected.

LDWF has produced several short, treestand safety videos that are available at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting-safety-videos .  In addition the Treestand Manufacturer’s Association website www.tmastands.com provides information about safe use of treestands and safety equipment.
Hunting from a treestand can be an enjoyable and effective hunting technique, but safe use of treestands requires preparation and practice. For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or fkimmel@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Agents Issue 55 Citations for Hunting Over Bait During Opening Weekend of Dove Season

Release Date: 09/09/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents issued 101 dove hunting related citations during the opening weekend of dove season on Sept. 6 and 7 statewide.

Of the 101 total citations, 55 were for hunting doves over a baited area.  Most of the other charges were for hunting with an unplugged gun, hunting without a basic hunting license, placing bait, hunting from a moving vehicle, and taking non-game birds.

A large portion of the hunting doves over a baited area took place in Franklin Parish where agents found 28 people hunting over bait.  Other places that agents found numerous people hunting over bait included Avoyelles Parish with five people, Tensas Parish with four people, Claiborne with four people, Washington Parish with four people, Beauregard Parish with two people, Rapides Parish with two people and St. John Parish with two people.

Agents also seized over 300 doves associated with the citations.

Dove season began on Sept. 6 with a daily bag limit of 15 doves and possession limit of 45 doves.  However, there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared-doves or ringed turtle-doves provided that a fully feathered wing and head remain attached to the carcass of the bird.  Fully dressed Eurasian-collared doves and ringed-turtle doves (those without a fully feathered wing and head naturally attached to the carcass) shall be included in the aggregate bag.  Please check the LDWF dove hunting web page found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/dove for more information.

Hunting over a baited field for doves, placing bait, and taking non-game birds each brings a state penalty of $400 to $950 in fines and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting with unplugged guns and from a moving vehicle each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Hunting without a basic hunting license brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

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

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