LDWF News Release

Louisiana Opens 2014 Recreational Red Snapper Season in State Waters

Release Date: 02/17/2014

Season Opens Early with a Two Fish Possession Limit

(Feb. 17, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the Louisiana weekend-only red snapper season will open on Friday, February 21, 2014, at 12:01 a.m. until further notice.

The “Louisiana-only” season

A weekend is defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday will be classified as a weekend day as well.

The bag and possession limit for the state season is two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length. 

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was given the authority to modify red snapper recreational seasons and daily harvest limits by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in 2013. 

The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary

In June 2012, the Commission took action to extend Louisiana state waters from three miles offshore to three marine leagues or approximately 9 nautical miles.

LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law.  Until the time when the U.S. Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary.

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

The Department reminds anglers that a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit is required in order to possess certain species, including red snapper.  Anglers may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at http://rolp.wlf.la.gov.  Permit renewals can be completed up to 30 days prior to expiration. 

The permit is required for any angler possessing tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjack, grouper, snapper, hind, wahoo, cobia and dolphin, except those fishing on a paid-for-hire trip where the captain holds a permit. 

Updating Your Contact Information

As the Department continues to move forward with the Louisiana Recreational Creel Survey (LA Creel), a new survey provides real-time data collection and the best data available to fishery managers, we encourage anglers to verify and update their license database information. Simple instructions are available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/37374.

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 inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8733.



LDWF Reports Record Low for Boating Fatalities in 2013

Release Date: 02/13/2014

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division’s Boating Safety Program is reporting a record low of 13 boating fatalities for Louisiana in 2013.

The previous low for boating fatalities was 19 in 1992 with a high of 79 in 1974, which was the first year boating incident statistics were recorded.  Louisiana averaged 69 boating fatalities a year from 1974 to 1979, 52 a year from 1980-1989, 32 a year from 1990-1999, 37 a year from 2000 to 2009.  Since 2010 Louisiana has averaged 25 boating fatalities a year including 30 in 2012, 36 in 2011 and 21 in 2010.

“While we are always striving for lower boating incidents and fatalities, we are happy to report this record low for boating fatalities for 2013,” said Col. Jeff Mayne, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “It shows that some of our boating safety initiatives are working and that boaters are doing a great job of adhering to our safe boating regulations.”

LDWF contributes the drop in boating fatalities to the mandatory boating education class, stricter driving or operating a vessel while under the influence (DWI) enforcement and introducing new regulations for wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

The LDWF Boating Safety Program began instituting mandatory boating safety education in 2003 for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1988 who operates a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.  In 2010, LDWF worked with the state legislature to make the boating education course mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984.  Since 2003 LDWF has certified over 50,000 boaters statewide.

“The mandatory boating education course has proven in other states and this one that over time we will have fewer boating crash incidents and fatalities,” said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator.  “We will eventually reach a point of saturation and every boater in the state will be boating education certified, which can only increase the safety of our waterways.”

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating fatalities than states without one.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

To take a free LDWF approved boating education course please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/boatingcourses.

LDWF has upped their DWI enforcement on the water and have worked with the state legislature in the recent past to make DWI laws on the water the same as on the road.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.  In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher and .02 for anyone under 21 years of age.

LDWF has also introduced a couple of new PFD regulations.  In 2007, LDWF made it mandatory for all on board a recreational vessel less than 16 feet in length that is steered by a hand tiller outboard motor while underway to wear a PFD.  In 2009, LDWF required anyone 16 years of age or younger to wear a PFD while onboard a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length.  The law previously stated that anyone under 12 was required to wear a PFD.

Also in 2007, LDWF made it mandatory for an operator of any recreational vessel less than 26 feet in length that already have an existing engine cut-off switch and equipped with a hand tiller outboard motor to use an engine cut-off switch.  The engine cut-off switches on these types of boats have to be attached to the operator via a lanyard.

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

Reward Now $15,000 for Information on Whooping Cranes Shot in Jefferson Davis Parish

Release Date: 02/12/2014

Feb. 12, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the reward has been increased to $15,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting the two whooping cranes found in Jefferson Davis Parish on Feb. 7.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using the tip411 program.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play 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.

Organizations and individuals contributing to the reward fund include the Humane Society of the U.S., the Louisiana Operation Game Thief Program, Dr. Ben Burton, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, the Animal Welfare Institute, Operation Migration, the International Crane Foundation, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Audubon Nature Institute, Lowry Park Zoo, Zoo New England, King White and anonymous donors.

The whooping cranes were found near the corner of Compton Road and Radio Tower Road just north of Roanoke, about five miles north of Interstate 10. One bird was already dead when found and the second crane was transported to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in Baton Rouge and is currently recovering following surgery.

LDWF has been working to restore a wild whooping crane population in Louisiana. Fifty juvenile cranes, brought to Louisiana in four separate cohort groups, have been released at LDWF’s White Lake property near Gueydan since 2011. Prior to this incident, 33 of those birds were alive and well on the landscape in central and southwest Louisiana.  Some have been lost to predators, some to naturally occurring health problems, and five in total have been confirmed as killed or wounded by firearms.

To learn more about LDWF’s whooping crane re-population project, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes .

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

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues $18,000 in Rewards in 2013

Release Date: 02/12/2014

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $18,000 to diligent citizens statewide in 2013.

The LOGT board met three times in 2013 and reviewed a total of 41 cases.  A total of 68 subjects were apprehended and a total of 294 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.  The LOGT has paid out a total of $342,700 since inception in 1984.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted mostly of turkey, deer and alligator violations.

“We depend on LOGT and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and LOGT Coordinator Lt. Will Roberts.  “LOGT provides the incentive for the public to come forward, which is the cash rewards offered for information leading to arrests in these cases.”

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps from the iTunes or Google Play store free of charge.  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.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

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

LDWF, OSP and La. Hunters for Heroes Provide Rabbit Hunt Experience for Soldiers at Ben Lilly Conservation Area Feb. 8

Release Date: 02/10/2014

LDWF, OSP and La. Hunters for Heroes Provide Rabbit Hunt Experience for Soldiers at Ben Lilly Conservation Area Feb. 8

Feb. 10, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Louisiana Office of State Parks (OSP) and Louisiana Hunters for Heroes (LHH) pooled community resources this past weekend to provide a rabbit hunt experience for US Army personnel in appreciation for their service to country.
The Feb. 7-8 event included meals and accommodations for the servicemen at Chemin-A-Haut State Park near Bastrop. LDWF provided the servicemen and hunt coordinators access to the recently acquired Ben Lilly Conservation Area, which is adjacent to the state park.
“We are proud to have been a part of this event and grateful to the staff at Chemin-A-Haut for the accommodations provided for these dedicated Americans,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.
LHH coordinated arrangements for participating soldiers and sponsor support to cover the cost of the weekend for the servicemen who have served or who are currently serving in the US Army. The hunt included 13 soldiers in the warrior transition unit, nine from Fort Polk in Louisiana and four from Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
This effort was made possible by the cooperative efforts of all involved to give these soldiers an all expenses covered outdoor weekend as a token of appreciation for the sacrifices they’ve made to defend this country,” said LHH’s Donnie Vocker.

Contributing sponsors included the Bartholomew Dutch Oven Club, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, Atomic Ink, Cabela’s, Coca-Cola, JPS Equipment, Pro Foam, House of Raeford, Hixson, Lane Rugg, Wayne Martin, Perry and Sons, Roger Herring, Travis Holley, Eyre Motor Service, Zane Tubbs, Venoy Kinnard, National Wild Turkey Federation, Wilderness Acres, Mer Rouge Bank, Med Life, Spotted Dog Sporting Goods, McCain Farms, Parker Paper, Rimcon, Bastrop Daily Enterprise, North Monroe Baptist Church at Bastrop and Golden Funeral Home.
Louisiana Hunters for Heroes is a non-profit dedicated to giving back to the wounded veterans of our great country's military by introducing service men and women to the joys of hunting and the great outdoors. Visit the organization’s website at http://www.lahuntersforheroes.wordpress.com .

For more information on future LHH events, contact Donnie Vocker at (318) 278-2909 or lahuntersforheroes@gmail.com.  LDWF contact, Bo Boehringer, ph. 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.
Photo caption: La. Hunters for Heroes Feb. 8 event participants representing the US Army (left to right): front row – Daniel Cothern, Landy S. Fitzsimmons, Wendy F. Major, Roy. P. Blake; row 2 – Phillip L. Whitty, Jeffery K. Leger, Kelly Yelton, Shane M. Carmouche, Rodger A. Benton, Richard M. Parker; row 3 – Lloyd Stenglein, Steven K. Keller. [Not shown in photo – Carol Benton]



WMA Forest Management Prescriptions Available for Review

Release Date: 02/10/2014

Feb 10, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ draft forest management prescriptions for five Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) are now available for review on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma-forest-management-prescriptions .

The prescriptions, which describe existing forest conditions and proposed habitat management treatments, include areas on Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Dewey Wills, Grassy Lake and Loggy Bayou WMAs.  The documents detail proposed methods to improve, maintain and sustain wildlife habitat, provide quality wildlife-oriented recreational improvements, and grow quality timber resources for the long-term.

Each document includes a description of the area to be addressed within each WMA, the current condition of each forest type found within the compartment, the soil types and hydrology of the area and wildlife habitat conditions.  Plans also include management objectives, management concerns and how areas of concern will be addressed to enhance or sustain the forest and wildlife habitat.  Appropriately prescribed and implemented timber harvest is often the most feasible means to manipulate forest habitat for the short and long term sustainable management of wildlife. 

LDWF is asking that any comments on the plans be as specific as possible and provided by March 15, 2014.

Comments can be made in writing to Donald Locascio at LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898 or dlocascio@wlf.la.gov .



LDWF Seeking Leads for Whooping Crane Shootings

Release Date: 02/07/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are looking for leads regarding two whooping cranes that were found shot in Jefferson Davis Parish this morning, Feb. 7.

The whooping cranes were found and recovered near the corner of Compton Road and Radio Tower Road just north of Roanoke about five miles north of Interstate 10.  Agents found a shot and killed female whooping crane and a shot and injured male whooping crane.

LDWF personnel were able to retrieve the injured male crane and will transport it to LSU for examination.  It appears at this time to have an injured wing suffered from the shot.  Agents believe that the birds were shot with bird shot sometime yesterday, Feb. 6.

“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population back to its historic levels in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “These were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see these cranes thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program is offering up to a $1,000 reward for any information about this illegal shooting that leads to an arrest.  To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

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

Shrimp Task Force Management Committee Meeting

Release Date: 02/07/2014

The following is the agenda for the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force Management Committee Meeting. The public is invited to attend.

Thursday, February 13, 9:30 a.m.

Terrebonne Council Meeting Room

8026 Main Street, Houma, Louisiana 70360


I.  Roll Call and introduction of guests

II.  New Business

     A.  2014 Draft Legislation- Skimmer  Net Configuration

III.  Public Comment

IV.  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.

Those interested in joining the meeting via Webinar register at the following link, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2978218915153934082

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 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.








Commission Approves Revisions to Notice of Intent for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Area 4 Deer Hunting Seasons

Release Date: 02/07/2014

Feb. 7, 2014 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) today adopted an amended notice of intent for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 deer hunting seasons, specific to Area 4.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recommended the amendment that added language to prevent the overlap of “still hunt only” and the opening of “with or without dogs” seasons for the first weekend of December when there are five Saturdays in November.  This amendment removes any potential conflicts arising from having the two seasons open at the same time, without the loss of “either sex” opportunities for hunters.

To view the full, amended notice of intent, visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items . Public comment will be accepted at the LWFC monthly meetings through April 3. Comments will also be accepted by mail sent to Steve Smith, Wildlife Division, Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, P.O. Box 9800, Baton Rouge, LA, 70898-9000 or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov.

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

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





LEEC and Playmakers Partner to Provide Environmental Education Play

Release Date: 02/06/2014

Feb. 6, 2014 -- The Louisiana Environmental Education Commission has an exciting offer for selected K-5 schools. Playmakers of Baton Rouge has partnered with LEEC to create and present an educational play focusing on watersheds. This play will be offered to selected underserved schools in Louisiana free of charge!

Playmakers of Baton Rouge, Inc. (playmakersbr.org) is Louisiana’s only professional theatre dedicated to bringing quality live theatrical productions to young audiences across the state. Founded in 1982, Playmakers is proud to continue providing excellent educational and entertaining opportunities to thousands of children and adults, through the annual Summer Neighborhood Tour, Spring Elementary School Tour, Drama Classes and Camps, Season Productions including Youth Company productions, and the Wally Wise Guy Educational Safety Mini-Tour.

Playmakers is staging a sneak preview performance at the Environmental Education State Symposium in Shreveport on the evening of February 21st. Symposium attendees from schools across the state will be given priority to register their underserved schools for a live performance!  To find out more about this extraordinary opportunity go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-environmental-education-symposium.

Apply to have Playmakers of Baton Rouge perform at your underserved school at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/playmakers. For more information, contact Thomas Gresham, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Assistant Environmental Education Coordinator, at tgresham@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-0124.

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