LDWF News Release

Agenda For Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/27/2011


The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, November 3, 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 October 6, 2011

3.   Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.   To present Shikar-Safari Club International Award to Sgt. Randy Lanoux

5.   To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/October

6.   To announce 2012 Duck Stamp Competition Winner

7.   To consider Declaration of Emergency for Atchafalaya Deer Season, Including Changing Primitive Firearms Season on Attakapas Island WMA from Either-Sex to Bucks Only

8.   To consider Notice of Intent to Establish a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

9.   To consider Notice of Intent to Establish Reporting Requirements for Recreationally Harvested Yellowfin Tuna

10. Set March 2012 Meeting Date

11.  Receive Public Comments

12.  Adjournment


Seventy Eight Fish Tagged at Louisiana Saltwater Series Inaugurual Speckled Trout Tournament

Release Date: 10/26/2011

 (Oct. 25 2011)– Despite what Mother Nature had planned, last weekend’s inaugural Louisiana Saltwater Series Fall Trout Tournament on Lake Pontchartrain was a huge success.    Although high winds and the threat of bad weather kept overall turnout numbers lower than average, a remarkable 78 fish were tagged and released back into the wild.  

The tournament, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, allows teams to bring extra fish to the weigh-in, thus increasing the total number of tagged fish.  Since its inception in 2004, over 38,000 speckled trout have been tagged through Louisiana’s Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program.  The program has been a cooperative project of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association for seven years.  However, tagging data on the species dates back to 1989. 

Taking home the tournament’s top prize were Kris Robert and Benny Sanchez, with a two fish total weight of 5.64 pounds.

The Louisiana Saltwater Series will take the winter off before gearing up again in April of next year.  The 2012 tournament schedule will be published later this year at www.lasaltwaterseries.com.  

Sponsorships for the 2012 series are still available.  The Louisiana Saltwater Series is 100 percent payout series, and all sponsorship dollars will directly support the series and the conservation based research it promotes.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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


Greater Amberjack Commercial Season to Close October 19

Release Date: 10/19/2011

October 18, 2011 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will close the 2011 Greater Amberjack commercial season today, October 19 at 11:59 p.m. in all Louisiana waters.  The season will remain closed until January 1, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

The 2011 season was previously reopened on September 1, based on projections that the 2011 quota had not been met. 

Greater amberjack are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico as well as in the temperate and tropical Atlantic Ocean.  Greater amberjack usually live in nearshore waters out to 300 feet deep.  This species is found throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and are often found near offshore platforms, wrecks and artificial reefs.  Greater amberjack can reach sizes of 3 feet in length and weights of 170 pounds. 

Louisiana commercial landings of greater amberjack average 100,000 pounds annually.

For more information contact Jason Adriance at 504.284.2032 or jadriance@wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries contact Laura Deslatte at 225.610.2363 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov

Oakdale Man Pleads Guilty to Snake Violations

Release Date: 10/17/2011

An Oakdale man pleaded guilty to cruelty of animal charges in Allen Parish's 33rd Judicial District Court on Oct. 6.

Judge Joel Davis sentenced David Beauchemin, 43, to two years of jail with one year suspended and a $1,000 fine that must be paid within 60 days of being released from prison or he will serve the suspended year of jail.  Beauchemin will receive credit for time served since May and was booked into the Allen Parish Jail.  Beauchemin pleaded guilty to aggravated and simple cruelty to animals.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited David Beauchemin and his wife Tawni Beauchemin, 23, on March 20, 2010, for cruelty to animals and failing to have permits for constrictor snakes over 12 feet.

The Allen Parish Sheriff's Office (APSO) executed a search warrant at the Beauchemin's residence on March 19.  The search warrant was issued after the APSO received a public complaint alleging the Beauchemin's were illegally selling animals on the Internet.  The Beauchemin's residence was portrayed as a safe haven animal shelter.  After executing the search warrant, the APSO contacted LDWF about the pythons found in the residence.

The snakes were seized by LDWF agents and then forfeited to the state following the guilty plea.  LDWF found a suitable place for the snakes at the Glades Herps Farm located in Bushnell, Fla. during the criminal trial period.  Following the forfeiture, LDWF has agreed to let the Glade Herps Farm become the permanent owners of the snakes.

On Sept. 2, 2010, David Beauchemin failed to appear in Allen Parish Court for arraignment and a bench warrant was issued.  In April 2011, David Beauchemin was arrested in Texas and found to be in possession of numerous constrictor snakes after a traffic stop.  David Beauchemin was extradited to Allen Parish in May 2011.

Tawni Beauchemin, was originally charged along with her husband and still has outstanding warrants, but her whereabouts are unknown and she currently has the status of a fugitive.

The public complaint was issued after somebody gave the Beauchemin's a dog for safe haven only to find it listed on the Internet a few days later for sale.

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


F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors

Release Date: 10/17/2011

F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors
F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors
F.U.N. Camp Presents Challenges and Opportunity to Learn More about the Outdoors

Oct. 17, 2011-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Mother/Child FUN Camp, held October 7-9 at the Woodworth Outdoor Education facility, attracted ten families from around the state.

The FamiliesUnderstandingNature weekend offered parents and their children an opportunity to spend time together in the outdoors, re-establishing bonds and honing outdoor skills.

LDWF Education staff and volunteers worked with participants to introduce them to a variety of activities. Mothers and children spent time on the rifle range learning to safely shoot .22 rifles, with balloons and paint balls as their favorite targets. Archery, one of the most popular activities, allowed several participants the chance to demonstrate their skills.  Windy conditions made canoeing a challenge, but the families acclimated and learned to adapt to unexpected conditions in the outdoors.  Outdoor cooking, orienteering, outdoor crafts, night hiking, fishing and overnight tent camping rounded out the busy weekend.

FUN Camp is held twice each year.  The Father/Child FUN camp will be offered April 13-15, 2012 and Mother/Child FUN Camp will be offered again October 5-7, 2012. Pre-registration is required and space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis.  Registration is $50 for each family (a parent and child).  Each additional child is $25.  The fee covers meals, lodging and supplies (including tents) used over the weekend.  Bed linens and sleeping bags are NOT provided.

To obtain a registration form on-line, visit LDWF’s website at

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/fun-camp or contact Karen Edwards at 318-766-8144 or kedwards@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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Plaquemine Man Arrested on Felony Violations

Release Date: 10/14/2011


Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested a Plaquemine man on alleged forgery charges on Oct. 14.

LDWF Special Investigation Unit (SIU) agents arrested John Boudreaux, 51, on felony charges of forgery, injuring public records and filing false public documents and booked him into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail.

Agents started the investigation in September of 2011 after receiving a tip from an alligator hunter about a man illegally acquiring alligator tags from the department.  Agents found that Boudreaux forged signatures on alligator tag applications in order to obtain the rights to hunt alligators on land that he did not have permission.

According to LDWF records, Boudreaux illegally obtained 150 tags and harvested 149 alligators in West Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes since 2001.

An alligator hunter must either own land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags. LDWF issues harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest.  Wild alligator tags can only be issued to licensed alligator hunters and are nontransferable.

Injuring and filing false records brings up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail with or without hard labor for each count.  Forgery carries a $5,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail with or without hard labor.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Ronnie Hebert, Sgt. Dusty Rhodes and Senior Agents Jerry Stassi, Louis Burnett and Ladd Turner.

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

LDWF Completes Growth Monitoring Plots on Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 10/13/2011

Oct. 13, 2011 – TheLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Forestry Section has completed its annual Growth Monitoring Plot (GMP) surveys on Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

Established in 1988, the GMP program allows biologists to gather a wide range of data on wildlife habitat, assess forest growth and health, and determine risks to WMA resources. After initial establishment of the GMP permanent plot, data is collected every ten years for analysis with the first year data.

The data collected for more than 20 variables provides managers the insight to understand the complexity of these forested systems, including growth rates, mortality, species change, invasive species encroachment, habitat characteristic and forest disease developments.  Additionally, a baseline of knowledge is established for evaluating future changes and monitoring sustainability of the forest in each WMA.

GMP data results for both Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills WMAs revealed fairly healthy forests, despite the continued drought in western Louisiana. The plantation area on Loggy Bayou is growing much faster than expected, with average growth rates exceeding five inches per decade. GMP plots on Walnut Hills identified several areas experiencing closed canopy conditions. These conditions limit growth, increase mortality, and have a negative impact on available browse and mast production.  Due to these habitat conditions, LDWF is planning several thinning treatments on the area to enhance wildlife habitat conditions.

The GMP program will continue to help managers develop strategies for achieving objectives and sustaining forest health and vigor. The continued collection of GMP data will ensure that WMA forests across the state will remain productive and provide both social and economic benefits for future generations.

For more information on LDWF’s Forestry Program, contact Tommy Tuma at 225-765-2347 or ttuma@wlf.la.gov or go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/forestry-program .

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.

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues Over $6,500 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 10/13/2011


Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $6,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on Oct. 5 in Mansura.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 26 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 14 cases presented and 50 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Sgt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.  “Perfect examples of the public helping us get convictions are in the recent black bear and bald eagle cases.  The public contributed information that led to guilty pleas in both instances.”

LOGT awarded the two black bear tipsters a total of $800 and the bald eagle informant the maximum reward of $1,000.  Cory Ronsonet, 39, of New Iberia pleaded guilty for illegally taking a Louisiana black bear in federal court on Aug. 17.  Jeffrey Miles, 22, of West Monroe, pleaded guilty for violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in federal court on Sept. 19 for shooting a bald eagle.

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, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store 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.

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 Sgt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

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

LDWF Secretary Enacts Two-Week Delay of Oyster Season to Allow for Ongoing NRDA Sampling

Release Date: 10/11/2011


October 11, 2011 – Today, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham made effective a delay of the 2011-2012 Oyster Season on certain public seed grounds for up to two weeks to allow for continued sampling as part of the BP Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).

Last week, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission gave authority to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham to postpone the season opening on public seed grounds for up to two weeks, from October 17 to October 31, 2011. An official authorization of that delay was issue today by the Department. 

Officials with LDWF continue to work with NRDA teams to ensure that sampling efforts are completed as quickly as possible. If sampling is completed before the end of the two-week delay period, Secretary Barham will open the season following a 72-hour public notice.

Sampling efforts of oysters on public seed grounds are ongoing as part of the NRDA process to assess injuries caused by the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  The NRDA sampling currently taking place is intended to collect a number of data sets, including oyster density, size frequency, biomass and sediment samples, in an effort to assess injuries to oysters as a result of the spill.

The 2011-2012 Oyster Season on public seed grounds was set to open October 17, 2011, with the exception of Calcasieu and Sabine lakes. No other changes have been made to the season opening dates established by the Commission at its September meeting.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 30) is scheduled to open at one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2011.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person per vessel per day.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.


For press inquiries, please contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or at 225-610-8660.


Two Whooping Cranes Found Dead in Jefferson Davis Parish

Release Date: 10/11/2011

LDWF Enforcement Division Identifies Two Juveniles as Suspects in Shooting

To request b-roll footage and photos of the whooping crane re-introduction, email aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Oct. 11, 2011 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents have identified two juveniles for their alleged role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis Parish.

According to an eyewitness account, two juveniles stopped on Lyons Road in between Mouton and Guidry roads south of Jennings at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9.  The eyewitness said they shot from their truck and killed two whooping cranes.

LDWF agents and biologists were notified yesterday morning, Oct. 10, and retrieved the dead birds, which were a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program.  Agents were able to locate the suspected juveniles Monday night based on information from the eyewitness account.

"Losing two cranes, especially in such a thoughtless manner, is a huge setback in the department’s efforts to re-establish a whooping crane population in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We take this careless crime very seriously.”

LDWF received 10 whooping cranes in February of this year from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Research Facility in Laurel, Md., and placed them in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population, which will be annually supplemented with future cohorts, marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population and is protected under state law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"This is a profound setback to the many people and organizations who have worked so hard to bring this magnificent bird back to Louisiana," said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.  The reintroduction at White Lake WCA is part of an ongoing recovery effort coordinated by the USFWS.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  Like those in the eastern migratory population, it remains vulnerable to extinction from continued loss of habitat or natural or man-made catastrophes.  Multiple efforts are underway to reduce this risk and bring this bird further along its path to recovery.  This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, only 400 in the wild. About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.  For the 11th time in as many years, ultralight-led captive reared whooping cranes are learning their migration route to wintering sites in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.  Ten young whooping cranes began their journey on Oct. 9, 2011.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465, or Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115.

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