LDWF News Release

Injured Bald Eagle Returned to the Wild

Release Date: 12/12/2013

Rescued Bald Eagle released back into the wild Nov 7 2013

Dec. 12, 2013 -- On Oct. 29 of this year, a Lafitte Harvesting work crew was conducting a thinning operation for Georgia Pacific in Beauregard Parish and saw something they don’t see every day.  An adult bald eagle was sitting between the rows of pine trees, and appeared to be sick or injured.  Davey Lafitte was very concerned and immediately shut down the operation and contacted the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

Biologists were able to capture the bird and immediately transported the adult female to Heckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where she was examined by Dr. Joe Stark of Lake Area Animal Hospital. Dr. Stark found that the eagle’s bill was cracked and her nares (nasal passages) were clogged with blood, but she was otherwise healthy.  After investigating the capture site, LDWF zoologist Beau Gregory concluded that the bird was most likely struck by a vehicle while scavenging on the road.

The eagle spent a little over a week at Heckhaven recuperating, but she was cleared for release as soon as she was flying again. LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources graduate student Nick Smith, who is currently researching the migratory patterns of Louisiana’s bald eagles, met with LDWF staff on Nov. 7 to gather vital information, measurements and biological samples from the eagle, and band it for release. The eagle was then returned to the site of her capture and released back into the wild.

Heckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is located in Lake Charles, La., and is a non-profit 501c animal welfare organization, with federal and state rehabilitation permits. To contact the center for more information, call Suzy Heck at 337-477-6129 or visit their website www.heckhaven.com.

Bald eagles are found only in North America, and in Louisiana are normally found in coastal areas and inland on large lakes.  They feed on fish, waterfowl, coots, muskrats and nutria, as well as carrion.  They are protected by the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, which prohibits the taking, possession and commerce of both bald and golden eagles.  For more information on Louisiana’s bald eagles, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fact_sheet_animal/32259-Haliaeetus%20leucocephalus/haliaeetus_leucocephalus.pdf.

The capture and release efforts were a collaborative effort that included LDWF staff from several divisions: Beau Gregory, Natural Heritage Program zoologist; Kori Legleu, Wildlife Division Technical Services biologist; Gail Toups, Region 5 administrative coordinator; and Sgt. Wendel Vaughan, Enforcement Division.

For more information, contact Kori Legleu at 337-491-2574 or klegleu@wlf.la.gov .




Texas Man Sentenced For Being a Felon In Possession Of A Firearm

Release Date: 12/10/2013

United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced on Dec. 5 that Larry Robert Baker, 50, of Maud, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm after being convicted and serving time for a murder and other felonies in Texas.  He pleaded guilty Aug. 29, 2013.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) conducted an operation on Jan. 11, 2013 to catch night hunters who were shooting after dark from the roads in north Caddo Parish.

During the operation, LDWF agents observed Baker shooting from a car at a deer decoy set up by agents.  A .22 caliber revolver was found in the car that he was driving, along with a box of .22 caliber ammunition.

Baker was arrested for the wildlife violation, driving under suspension and traveling with open containers of alcohol.  Upon further investigation, agents found that Baker had recently been released from prison after serving 20 years for a Texas murder.   Baker was found guilty of murder on Aug. 5, 1993, in the 54th District Court of McLennan County, Texas.  He also has prior burglary and property theft convictions.

LDWF and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W.  Gillespie  Jr.  prosecuted the  case as part  of Project  Safe  Neighborhoods.  Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program started in 2001 designed to reduce violence by aggressively enforcing existing federal firearms laws.

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

LDWF Agents Rescue Couple from Bayou Nezpique

Release Date: 12/09/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents participated in a successful search and rescue mission on Bayou Nezpique on the Evangeline and Allen Parish line on Dec. 8.

Agents received a 911 call around 11 a.m. on Dec. 8 about a couple that was stranded in Bayou Nezpique.  Agents arrived on scene around 2 p.m. and found Mark Tarver, 26, and Michelle Tarver, 27, both of Elizabeth, along the banks of the bayou.

Agents retrieved the Tarvers in their 15 foot vessel and brought them to a waiting Acadian Ambulance at the Guidry Road Bridge.  The Tarvers were treated for severe hypothermia and transported to the Savoy Medical Center in Mamou for further treatment.  The Tarvers are expected to make a full recovery.

The Tarvers were canoeing in the bayou when they got hung up in the fast moving water.  They were able to get out of the canoe and make their way to the bank, but could only partially get up the side of the muddy bank thus having half of their bodies remaining in the cold water.

The Tarvers admitted to duck hunting and had harvested two ducks.  However, the Tarvers were duck hunting in a closed area.  Agents subsequently cited the Tarvers for duck hunting in a closed area.  Hunting ducks during a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents participating in the search and rescue mission included Lt. Jesse Savoie and Sgt. Scott Fontenot.  Their search area included the bayou waters between the Highway 104 Bridge and Guidry Road Bridge.

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

Eagle Scout Project Benefits Sherburne WMA

Release Date: 12/09/2013

Hunter Ayo of Boy Scout Troop 271

Dec. 9, 2013 – The efforts of an Eagle Scout will benefit Sherburne Wildlife Management Area users.
Hunter Ayo of Boy Scout Troop 271 in Lafayette recently completed his Eagle Scout Project after noticing a need for a picnic table at the WMA and presenting his idea to WMA staff. A frequent visitor, Hunter wanted to provide an amenity that could be used by those using the fishing pond near the site headquarters.
Hunter, along with members of his scout troop, built and placed a picnic table near the fishing pond. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) assisted Hunter with this project by supplying building materials and selecting a location near the pond to place the table.
LDWF has assisted several Boy Scouts with their required final project to attain the rank of Eagle Scout and WMAs offer outdoor recreation project opportunities.
For more information, call Tony Vidrine 337-948-0255 or tvidrine@wlf.la.gov.
Sherburne WMA, located in the Morganza Floodway system of the Atchafalaya Basin, is situated in the lower and upper portions of Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, and Iberville parishes respectively, between the Atchafalaya River and the East Protection Guide Levee.
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.


LDWF Agents and TPSO Deputies Investigating Fatal Shooting

Release Date: 12/07/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) deputies are investigating a potential hunting incident involving a fatality on Dec. 6 in Tangipahoa Parish.

LDWF agents and TPSO deputies responded to a 911 call concerning the fatal shooting of Joseph H. Stevens Jr., 33, of Hammond around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Stevens and Stacey M. Trapp, 37, of Loranger, were hunting together on some property near 55202 Hwy. 1062 in Loranger.  The two had been hunting about an hour when they decided to go home.

According to Trapp, as the two walked back to their vehicles they came upon a net wire fence.  As they walked along the fence looking for an easier crossing point Trapp walked in front of Stevens.

Trapp then squatted down to go under some bushes with his .270 caliber bolt action rifle slung onto his right shoulder.  As he squatted down his rifle went off with the bullet fatally striking Stevens.  Trapp then called 911 for help.

Investigators believe that Stevens was killed instantly and do not suspect foul play at this time.  Stevens’ body was turned over to the Tangipahoa Coroner’s Office.

LDWF advises hunters to utilize basic hunting safety procedures when going to and from their hunting locations, which includes having the gun on safe and no bullets or shells in the chamber.

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

LDWF Agents Cite Four Men For Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 12/06/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four Louisiana men for alleged deer hunting violations on Nov. 30 in Bienville Parish.

Agents cited Jacky Fenn Jr., 31, of Jonesboro, Brandon Clifton, 29, of Monroe, Kenneth Blalock III, 28, of Quitman, and Roger Caskey, 36, of Jennings, for hunting deer during illegal hours with artificial light, hunting from a moving vehicle and possession of an illegally taken deer.  Caskey was also cited for failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents received a night hunting complaint in the area of Liberty Hill Hunting Club near Cox's Crossing in Bienville Parish. On Nov. 30, agents stopped a vehicle that met the description from the complaint.

Agents found the four men inside of the vehicle with three rifles, spotlight, flashlight and a freshly killed deer loaded into the bed of the truck.  Agents learned that Caskey had taken the deer after legal shooting hours from the truck and had not tagged the deer.

Hunting deer during illegal hours with an artificial light brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of an illegally taken deer carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requrements brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Chuck Dison, Sgt. Patrick Staggs, and Senior Agent John Blalock.

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

Single Vessel Incident Claims Springfield Man

Release Date: 12/06/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents are investigating a single vessel boating crash incident that resulted in the death of a Springfield man on Dec. 5 in Livingston Parish.
LDWF agents received a call about a possible fatality on the Blood River at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5.  Agents were able to retrieve the deceased body of Emil J. Durbin, 68, from the river at 8:15 p.m.  Near the body agents found Durbin’s 16 foot vessel with the front heavily damaged.
Agents believe that Durbin lost control of the vessel and struck a tree on the bank ejecting him from the boat possibly striking a tree and then into the water.
It appears that Durbin left to go boating around 11 a.m.

LDWF agents and Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating crash incident.  Durbin’s body was turned over to the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.



LPB Chronicles the Comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear on Dec. 9

Release Date: 12/05/2013

LPB Chronicles the Comeback of the Louisiana Black Bear on Dec. 9

Dec. 5, 2013 -- Two decades ago, the Louisiana Black Bear was on the brink of extinction, but today it is on the rebound. The latest episode of Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s six-part wildlife series Alive! In America’s Delta, Black Bear Comeback, documents efforts to save this iconic species.

LPB producers and photographers spent a year following Louisiana biologists on the forefront of the recovery effort, gaining unprecedented access to these threatened animals in the wild and capturing unique insights from those fighting to protect them. The new documentary premieres Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. on LPB-HD.

“Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists have proven time and again that species recovery is possible when staff time and resources are made available to make it happen,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “In this state that has been true for the alligator, the bald eagle, the brown pelican, white tailed-deer, wild turkey – and now the black bear.”

The Louisiana Black Bear, a subspecies of the American Black Bear, was immortalized as the inspiration for the “Teddy Bear” during an infamous bear hunt by President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt in the Mississippi River Delta in the early 1900s. Find out why this bear has captured America’s imagination and adoration for more than a century, and the lengths some will go to save them.

When the Louisiana Black Bear was listed as threatened in 1992 under the Endangered Species Act, there were estimated to be fewer than 300 of them left in the world. Today, innovative programs to reestablish these animals and restore their habitat through improved land management, high-tech monitoring and public education are enabling the recovery. And, through successful partnerships between LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, and hundreds of private citizens, Louisiana Black Bears could soon be removed from protected status.

New studies documenting the bear population in coastal St. Mary Parish and Iberia Parish and another in Point Coupee Parish are nearly complete and will be a critical factor in making that decision. Maria Davidson, LDWF’s Large Carnivore Program manager, estimates that there are now between 500 and 1,000 bears in the state and the population is continuing to grow.

“Once that data has been interpreted, either recovery has occurred and it is a sustainable population or it hasn’t,” Davidson said. “I personally believe we have recovered the bear and that’s what the data will show.”

The results of the U.S. Geological Survey’s study are expected in early January, and once the data is analyzed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether the Louisiana Black Bear can be removed from the federal Endangered Species List.

Black Bear Comeback was produced by LPB’s Liz Barnes, shot by Rex Q. Fortenberry and Gary Allen and edited by Fortenberry. The musical soundtrack was provided by Emmy-winner Mike Esneault. Christina Melton is the Project Director and Senior Producer of the Alive! In America’s Delta six-part series. Underwriting support for the series has been provided by LDWF.

The LPB network includes KLPA-DT in Alexandria, WLPB-DT in Baton Rouge, KLPB-DT in Lafayette, KLTL-DT in Lake Charles, KLTS-DT in Shreveport and KLTM-DT in Monroe.

There will be an encore showing of the first episode in the series, Whooping Cranes Majestic Return, on Dec. 9 immediately following the Black Bear episode. Both shows will re-air on Sunday, Dec. 15 starting at 5 p.m. on LPB. Live streaming access to the programs will be available on www.lpb.org/live on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., and both programs will then be available on-line through the end of December at www.lpb.org/alive.

Black Bear Comeback will air in New Orleans on WLAE- TV32 on Jan. 3 at 8:30 p.m. Whooping Cranes Majestic Return will air Jan.17 at 8:30 p.m. on WLAE.

For more information, contact Bob Neese at LPB, ph. 1-800-272-8161 or bneese@lpb.org, or Bo Boehringer at LDWF, ph. 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .

LDWF Reopens Commercial and Recreational Fishing within a Portion of Coastal Waters Adjacent to Elmer’s Island

Release Date: 12/05/2013


(Dec. 5, 2013) -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham announced today a reopening of commercial and recreational fishing within a portion of coastal waters adjacent to Elmer’s Island in Jefferson Parish. 
The area reopened by this announcement includes that portion of state outside waters beginning one-half mile seaward from the inside/outside shrimp line seaward a distance of one mile from the inside/outside shrimp line from the eastern shore of Belle Pass at -90 degrees 13 minutes 30 seconds west longitude eastward to the western shore of Caminada Pass at -90 degrees 02 minutes 46.6 seconds west longitude.
The closure area had previously included a one-mile buffer established in an abundance of caution for public safety following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The area has been reopened to establish consistency with other oil spill related closures in state outside waters, and it shows no visible surface oil and no known oil residues in the area.
The department with its partners -- the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals -- will continue to evaluate the potential for future openings using the established protocols.
The area was most recently closed in September 2012 when Hurricane Isaac exposed large oil mats and tar balls along the shoreline of this area. A map of the revised closure area adjacent to Elmer’s Island is posted on the LDWF website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill.
For more information, contact Harry Blanchet at 225-765-2384 or hblanchet@wlf.la.gov.


Agenda for Commission Meeting

Release Date: 12/04/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, December 5, 2013, 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 November 7, 2013

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports November

5. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency for a Partial Closure of State Outside Waters to Shrimping

6. To Hear a General Presentation of the 2014-2016 Hunting Seasons and Rules and Regulations

7. To add the Kennedy Mitigation Area to the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area

8. Set April 2014 Meeting Date

9. Receive Public Comments

10. Adjournment

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