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LDWF News Release

LDWF Enforcement Division Welcomes 15 New Agents at Graduation

Release Date: 02/12/2015

28th Graduating LDWF Cadet Class

Class Photo: Front row from left to right: Eric Little, Blaine Wagner, Chelsea King, William Holomon, Mason Spillman, Patrick Dempsey and William Carpenter.  Back row from let to right: Andrew Arton, Torris White, Lloyd Pearson, Nathan Vanya, Lukas Breed, Clinton Branton, Gary Levron and Jerod Coats.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy today, Feb. 12, graduated its 28th class of cadets into the ranks of LDWF Enforcement Division agents at a ceremony in Baton Rouge.

After six months of intensive physical and academic training at the academy, 15 newly commissioned agents are ready to begin enforcing hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.

LDWF Secretary Robert Barham was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.  “You have a tremendous responsibility to protect Louisiana’s rich natural resources and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water.  Congratulations on your achievement which we celebrate today,” Barham noted.

Col. Joey Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division, presented certificates and recited the Oath of Office making the cadets’ transition to commissioned agents official.  “We welcome these cadets into the Enforcement Division ranks.  They are well trained and will be required to hit the ground running when they get to their local regions.”

The 15 new agents are:

Andrew Arton, 26, of Breaux Bridge, assigned to Iberia Parish
Clinton Branton, 23, of Farmerville, assigned to Madison Parish
Lukas Breed, 24, of Farmerville, assigned to Lincoln Parish
William Carpenter, 41, of Jackson, Miss., assigned to St. Mary Parish
Jerod Coats, 22, of Albany, assigned to Ascension Parish
Patrick Dempsey, 25, of Lacombe, assigned to St. Charles Parish
William Holomon, 23, of Minden, assigned to Natchitoches Parish
Chelsea Kling, 30, of Hilo, Hawaii, assigned to St. John Parish
Gary Levron, 30, of Garyville, assigned to St. John Parish
Eric Little, 30, of Jonesville, assigned to LaSalle Parish
Lloyd Pearson, 21, of Holden, assigned to West Feliciana Parish
Mason Spillman, 21, of St. Francisville, assigned to Jefferson Parish
Nathan Vanya, 25, of Longview, Texas, assigned to Vermillion Parish
Blaine Wagner, 24, of Destrehan, assigned to St. Bernard Parish
Torris White, 40, of Ruston, assigned to Jackson Parish

During the graduation ceremony, Arton received the firearms award given for the best marksman in the class.  Holomon received the physical training award for being the most fit.  Vanya received the academic award for having the highest grades.  Branton won the overall award, which is a cumulative score from the firearms, academic and physical training categories.  The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association award for motivation and discipline was received by Jerod Coats.

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training equal to that of other state law enforcement officers.

The graduating agents fill vacancies in LDWF’s Enforcement Division and will be assigned to a field-training officer for their first six months of duty.  Now part of the agency’s commissioned officer staff, the agents will join the ranks of those patrolling land and water to primarily detect game, fish and boating law violations.  These duties require travel into Louisiana's forests, swamps, fields, streams, bayous, lakes, marshlands, the Gulf of Mexico and on the state roadway system.

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

LDWF To Hold Law Enforcement Academy Graduation Thursday, Feb. 12

Release Date: 02/11/2015

EVENT:  28th Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Law Enforcement Academy Graduation.

WHEN:  Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 - 10 a.m.

WHERE:  Louisiana Room, LDWF Headquarters Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.

BACKGROUND:  The graduation will add 15 new agents to the LDWF Enforcement Division following six months of training.  The event will include the presentation of colors by the LDWF Enforcement Color Guard, presentation of awards and the Oath of Office ceremony.

LDWF agents enforce hunting, fishing and boating regulations that govern the use of the state's natural resources.  Their duties include checking hunters, fishers, dealers, restaurants, breeders, farmers and transporters for compliance with regulations governing limits, quotas, licenses, sizes, registrations, legal documents and accepted behavior.  Agents are also trained for search and rescue and maritime security missions.

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

LDWF Agents arrest Wanted Murder Suspect from Mississippi

Release Date: 02/11/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested three Mississippi men in Tensas Parish on Feb. 10 for alleged drug and illegal weapon charges.

Agents arrested Jovanti Barnes, 22, Natchez, Kanari L. Screws, 23, of Natchez and Marcus Ebenezer Mallett, 27, of Jackson, for possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Mallett was also charged with resisting an officer. 

During the investigation, Mallet, who provided several false names to agents, was found to be wanted in Mississippi for aggravated assault and murder in Jackson last week.

An LDWF agent apprehended the men after observing them walking away from a stalled vehicle on the side of Hwy. 65 north of St. Joseph.  LDWF Sgt. Joe Chandler contacted the men and asked if they needed assistance.  The men told Sgt. Chandler they had run out of gas while traveling from Tallulah to Natchez.

Sgt. Chandler transported Barnes to nearby St. Joseph to get fuel.  During the trip, Sgt. Chandler smelled the odor of marijuana on Barnes.  LDWF Senior Agent Joseph Tarver travelled back to the stalled vehicle with Sgt. Chandler and Barnes. 

After finding no drugs on the subjects, the agents received permission to search the stalled vehicle.  The agents found cocaine and a loaded semi-auto pistol in the vehicle.  All three subjects were arrested and found to have lengthy criminal histories, including armed robbery, grand theft, burglary, carjacking, and drug charges.

The agents transported two of the men while a Tensas Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy who arrived on scene during the arrest transported another to the Tensas Parish Jail.  Mallett is awaiting extradition to Mississippi for the murder charge.

Possession of cocaine brings up to a $5,000 fine and two to five in prison.  Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years in prison.

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

Zachary Richard Supporting Whooping Crane Public Awareness Effort

Release Date: 02/10/2015

 
Feb. 10, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) new whooping crane public awareness television message will feature Louisiana singer-songwriter and environmentalist Zachary Richard.
 
In the 30-second television message, scheduled for distribution later this month, Richard emphasizes the importance of the whooping cranes’ return to Louisiana and advises the public to observe the birds from a distance. The message includes a number to call if anyone sees cranes being harmed -- the toll free 1-800-442-2511 LDWF Enforcement Division’s Operation Game Thief hotline.
 
The television spot announcements were funded by Chevron as part of a grant administered by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF). Chevron has provided financial support for the department’s whooping crane reintroduction project since 2011.
 
“Zachary Richard’s support for this project is greatly appreciated and we hope his message furthers the department’s efforts to protect whooping cranes, especially during these critical early years of the reintroduction project,” said Robert Love, LDWF Coastal and Nongame Resources Division administrator. “The Chevron grant funding has been vital in getting this message out to the public.”
 
The whooping crane, a very vulnerable species, was found in south Louisiana until their decline during the late 1800s and early 1900s when little conservation ethic was in existence and conversion of prairies and marsh lands to agriculture acreage became a trend. Since 2011, LDWF has soft released 64 isolation-reared, juvenile cranes provided by the US Geological Survey Research Center in Patuxent, Md., into rural southwest Louisiana, and 40 survive today. Cranes in the experimental population that have not survived include those lost to disease, predator species and six birds killed in random shooting incidents.
 
In 2014, a breeding pair in Louisiana produced eggs in the wild for the first time in over 60 years. No chicks resulted in 2014, but project biologists are optimistic for 2015 since the mating pair has matured.
 
The recovery plan goal is for Louisiana to reach a subpopulation of 25-30 productive pairs, which translates to about 130 cranes in Louisiana. This process could take 15 to 20 years. To learn more about Louisiana’s whooping crane population and view the Zachary Richard public awareness message, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes . To contribute to the whooping crane project or any LDWF initiative, go to the LWFF website at http://lawff.org .

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 additional information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .

Two Cited for Illegal Night Hunting in Jefferson Parish

Release Date: 02/09/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two residents of Jefferson Parish for alleged multiple hunting violations in Jefferson Parish.

Agents cited Chris Bourgeois, 20, of Westwego, on Feb. 2 and Kyle Frickey,18, of Marrero, on Feb. 3 for hunting deer during illegal hours, hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours, hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, buying or selling rabbits, and taking over the limit of rabbits.  Bourgeois was also charged for hunting without resident hunting and big game licenses, and failing to comply with deer tagging requirements.

Agents received a tip from an informant implicating the two subjects in night hunting violations.  The information and evidence gathered from social media enabled the agents to obtain a search warrant for a residence, cell phone data and social media account.  The initial evidence implicated the subjects in the alleged unlawful taking of approximately 60 rabbits, three coyotes and a whitetail deer.

Agents served the search warrants and interviewed Bourgeois and Frickey at their residences with Bourgeois providing a detailed written statement regarding the illegal hunting.  Agents seized a deer skull from Bourgeois and two coyote tails from Frickey that were deemed illegally taken.

Hunting deer during illegal hours carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting from a public road, buying or selling rabbits, taking over the limit of rabbits, and hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without resident hunting and big game licenses each brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Tim Fox and Agent Kyle Wagner.

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

Reward Up to $3,000 for Information on Cut Down Trees In Avoyelles Parish

Release Date: 02/06/2015

Cut down trees blocking navigation

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is seeking leads for information about who cut down trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area in Avoyelles Parish.

After further investigation by LDWF biologists and agents, LDWF has found up to 100 trees cut down on the WMA since early December of 2014.  Agents believe the trees were cut down to block navigation to the northern part of the WMA in order to keep other hunters out of the area.  The trees blocked all three entrances to an area known as the “Bean Field” in the northern part of the WMA.

The trees ranged from 10 inches to 30 inches in diameter and up to 50 foot tall including cypress, oak and willow trees.

LDWF has secured up to $1,000 in reward money each from the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, Spring Bayou Restoration Team and Louisiana’s Operation Game Thief.  The reward now totals up to $3,000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest in this case.  Anyone with information regarding the cut down trees should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF’s tip411 program.

To use the tip 411 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.

The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day.   Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

The penalty for cutting down trees on a WMA is criminal damage of state property and brings up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in jail.  There may also be a civil restitution charge for the replacement value of the trees and cleanup required.

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 2014

Release Date: 02/05/2015

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $16,200 to diligent citizens statewide in 2014.

The LOGT board reviewed a total of 40 cases in 2014.  A total of 67 subjects were apprehended and a total of 218 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.  The LOGT has paid out a total of $358,900 since inception in 1984.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of 17 deer cases, 10 migratory game bird cases, six turkey cases, three fish cases and two alligator 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.

LWF Commission Passes Final Rule on the Louisiana Fisheries Forward Program

Release Date: 02/05/2015

February 5, 2015 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed an amendment to the notice of intent for the Fisheries Forward Program, a program designed, to elevate professionalism in Louisiana’s commercial crab industry.  The Louisiana Fisheries Forward program was designed in close cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Crab Task Force
 
To view the amendment to the notice of intent as passed today click here:
 
A public hearing will be held to accept public comment on this amendment on March 25 at LDWF Headquarters, located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.  
 
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 the program contact Jason Froeba at jfroeba@wlf.la.gov or (225)765-0121.  For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.

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The LWF Commission Passes Final Rule to Establish the Catch and Cook Program

Release Date: 02/05/2015

February 5, 2015 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a notice of intent to establish the Louisiana Catch and Cook Program, a program where permitted retail food establishments will be able to prepare certain recreational fish caught by properly licensed fishermen. Rules and regulations, penalties, terms, conditions and requirements will apply to those food establishments and fishermen participating in the program.

To view the Notice of Intent, as passed by the LWFC in its entirety, click here:

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 the program contact Rob Bourgeois at rbourbeois@wlf.la.gov or (225)765-0765.  For press inquiries contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.

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Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan Presented to Commission

Release Date: 02/05/2015

Feb. 5, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) today presented its Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan. The plan, which includes a population monitoring component, was delivered to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their monthly meeting in Baton Rouge.
 
The Commission heard details on the plan including management objectives, history of the species, education and outreach efforts, human-bear conflict resolution methods, a post-delisting monitoring plan, factors that would have to be considered prior to any harvest proposal and anticipated impacts, including economic and social.
 
The plan details the importance of four distinct black bear subpopulations including a repatriated subgroup in Concordia and Avoyelles parishes. It also references several studies, including the recently completed US Geological Survey (USGS) study that confirmed the long-term viability of the black bear in Louisiana.
 
The research data collected in the USGS study from 2006 to 2014 found that the chance of all the subpopulations going extinct was less than one percent. This data will be part of the information used by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on removing the bear from the threatened species list.
 
Louisiana black bear recovery benefited from state and federal protection of the bears, a reintroduction project and habitat recovery aided by the US Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Program.
 
To view the full Louisiana Black Bear Management Plan, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-black-bear-management-plan .  Comments on the plan will be accepted through March 6, 2015 and should be sent to mdavidson@wlf.la.gov or
 
Maria Davidson
LDWF Wildlife Division
5652 Hwy 182
Opelousas, LA 70570
 
For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 337-948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov or Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 
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.
 

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