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LDWF News Release

New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Red Drum

Release Date: 11/20/2014

A New Orleans man pleaded guilty to the illegal selling of game fish violations on Nov. 18 in the New Orleans Municipal Court in Orleans Parish.

Judge Desiree Charbonnet sentenced Paul Haptonstall, 35, to 120 days of imprisonment suspended and fined him $3,730.80 for the illegal selling of game fish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited Haptonstall on June 13, 2014 in New Orleans for illegal selling of game fish and undersized fish.

Agents started the investigation after receiving complaints about the subject selling red drum in the New Orleans area.  Haptonstall sold a total of 11 black drum, three sheepshead, two spotted seatrout, two catfish and 138 red drum to Special Operation agents throughout the investigation.

Agents involved in the case were the LDWF Special Operations Section, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois and Agent Jeffrey Farmer.

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

Temporary Road Closure on Dewey W. Wills WMA

Release Date: 11/19/2014

Nov. 19, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising outdoorsmen and women that a portion of Taylor Bayou Rd. within Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is temporarily closed due to road improvement activities.
 
This closure restricts access to the Taylor Bayou boat launch.  Access to the greentree reservoir parking area remains open. Completion of road improvements is anticipated within two weeks.
 
Dewey W. Wills WMA is located in the southern portion of LaSalle and Catahoula parishes in central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2753 .
 
For more information, contact Cliff Dailey at 318-487-5885 or adailey@wlf.la.gov .
 

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USGS Study Looks at Louisiana Black Bear Population

Release Date: 11/19/2014

Nov. 19, 2014 -- The bear species nicknamed “teddy” more than a century ago that inspired the iconic stuffed toy still popular today will likely survive at least another century, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.
 
The threatened Louisiana black bear, one of 18 subspecies of black bear in North America, has less than a 1 percent chance of going extinct in the next 100 years.  The bear was once found throughout Louisiana, eastern Texas, southern Arkansas and western Mississippi. Habitat loss and overhunting has since reduced and fragmented the population resulting in its listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1992.
 
The species was nicknamed the “teddy bear” in 1902 when President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt famously refused to shoot a tethered bear while on a hunting trip.
 
To determine the viability of the bear population today, research funded primarily by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) used projections of population growth over time based on capture and radio-telemetry data to estimate the bear’s extinction probability. In some instances, scientists captured and released the bears to obtain the data. At other times, they collected DNA extracted from hair samples to identify individual bears. The study also used genetics and capture data to evaluate how frequently individual bears move between the fragmented subpopulations of Louisiana black bear in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Connectivity among subpopulations of a species is important to help avoid genetic problems resulting from too much inbreeding. These findings address goals created in 1995 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for recovery.
 
“Estimates of a species’ viability can help wildlife managers determine the status of threatened, endangered or at-risk species and guide effective management efforts,” said Joseph Clark, the USGS research ecologist who led the study in collaboration with Jared Laufenberg from the University of Tennessee. “This study will be used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether to pursue removing the bear from the ‘threatened’ species list.”
 
Researchers collected data with DNA sampling, live capture, winter den visits and monitoring of radio-collared animals from 2002 to 2014. To collect the DNA samples, researchers set up barbed wire fences that bears had to cross to obtain pastry baits. This method, which does not harm the bears, results in the bears leaving their DNA in the form of hair samples on the barbs, which scientists are able to use to identify the individual identities of each bear visiting the site.
 
“The completion of this project represents many years of collaborative work and we’re excited about the results,” said Maria Davidson, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist program manager.  “The information provided by this project is based on the best available science, enabling us to make management decisions focused on the long term sustainability of the Louisiana black bear.”
 
Bears in Louisiana primarily exist in four distinct subpopulations, and data were sufficient for researchers to perform viability analyses on three of them. The probability of these bears not going extinct ranged from 29.5 percent to greater than 99 percent, depending on the subpopulation and the assumptions upon which the models were based.  However, the chances that all of the subpopulations will simultaneously go extinct, based on the most conservative models, were only 0.4 percent. The researchers also found that individual bears were moving among some subpopulations.
 
Since originally being listed as threatened in 1992, the Louisiana black bear population has grown and the habitat has recovered to the extent that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering “delisting,” or removing the bear from the threatened species list. This population growth is because of state and federal protection of the bears, a reintroduction project and habitat recovery aided by the Federal Conservation Reserve Program and the Federal Wetlands Reserve Program.
 
The study was completed in cooperation with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Tennessee and Louisiana State University, among others. The full study -- Population Viability and Connectivity of the Louisiana Black Bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) -- is available online at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/louisiana-black-bear-management-and-research.
 
For more information: contact Joseph Clark at 865-974-4790 or jclark@usgs.gov; or Christian Quintero at 813-498-5019 or cquintero@usgs.gov; or Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov .

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Waterfowl Hunter Advisory for Dewey W. Wills WMA

Release Date: 11/19/2014

Nov. 19, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising waterfowl hunters who use the greentree reservoir at Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) that water will not be available for the opening of the 2014-15 waterfowl season.  The state’s East Zone opens for waterfowl hunting on Nov. 22.
 
The 400-acre reservoir, bordering Saline Lake, does not have adequate water due to a summer drawdown on the Saline-Larto complex. The drawdown was conducted this summer to facilitate repairs to the Cross Bayou Weir. Currently, water is not at the minimum level required to engage the pumping unit that floods the greentree reservoir.  However, the water control structure is closed to allow for the accumulation of rainfall.  It is uncertain and dependent upon rainfall in the Saline-Larto Complex when, during the waterfowl season, the greentree reservoir will have adequate water levels.  
 
Dewey W. Wills WMA is located in the southern portion of LaSalle and Catahoula parishes in central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2753 .
 
For more information, contact Cliff Dailey at 318-487-5885 or adailey@wlf.la.gov .
 

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Get Out and Fish Louisiana!: Coming to a Lake Near You

Release Date: 11/19/2014

Get Out and Fish Louisiana!: Coming to a Lake Near You
Get Out and Fish Louisiana!: Coming to a Lake Near You
Get Out and Fish Louisiana!: Coming to a Lake Near You

(Nov. 19, 2014) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries celebrated the launch of its new Get Out and Fish! Program with its first fishing event last Saturday in Girard Park in Lafayette.  The Department’s long-term goal is that these events will translate into future avid anglers who enjoy, conserve and even one day manage our great resources here in Louisiana.
 
LDWF hosted the event in partnership with the City of Lafayette to promote the new community fishing location, and attendance far surpassed staff’s expectations with over 250 registered anglers.
 
“The positive response from event participants was overwhelming,” said Fisheries Program Manager Danica Williams.  “Anglers explained they often drive two or three hours simply to fish.  The convenience of the short drive, even walk for some, greatly appealed to those in search of a quality fishing destination close to home.”
 
The Get Out and Fish! Program seeks to increase the number of people with access to quality fishing.  The program intends to recruit new anglers to the sport of fishing and promote outdoor activities for future generations.  In order to accomplish this mission, public water bodies that meet the required specifications are chosen by LDWF biologists and stocked on a regular basis for up to one year.  LDWF will promote the launch of each new site with a Get Out and Fish! event, so be sure to stay tuned for upcoming announcements regarding your area of the state.
 
Girard Park Pond, the first waterbody chosen for the new program, was stocked with 800 pounds of adult channel catfish in preparation for the event.  LDWF will continue to stock the pond for up to one year, based on continued angler interest and participation.  Beginning in December through February 2015, the pond will be stocked with adult rainbow trout followed by a stocking of adult channel catfish in warmer months of March through June.
 
With help from numerous sponsors, including The Beaver Club of Lafayette, Buckfins-N-Feathers, CC’s Coffee, Cajun Guns and Tackle, HDR, Inc., Home Depot, The Lafayette Consolidated Government, Louisiana Nursery, Pure Fishing, Raising Cane’s and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Bass Fishing Team, families across Acadiana were introduced to a fun and free day of fishing.  The first 100 registrants received a complimentary rod and reel and goodie bag, and every participant was entered into a number of prize drawings held throughout the day.
 
The Get Out and Fish! Program is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.
 
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.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For more information, contact Danica Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov or (504) 628-7282.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

Monterey Man Sentenced for Illegal Night Hunting

Release Date: 11/18/2014

A Monterey man was sentenced in 7th Judicial District Court in Concordia Parish on Nov. 14 for illegal night hunting.

Judge Kathy Johnson sentenced Duell S. Moreland, 24, to 60 months of hard labor with 40 months suspended, 30 days in jail and to a 15-year no hunting ban.

Agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) arrested Moreland on Jan. 31, 2014.  The agents observed Moreland night hunting on foot on an All-Terrain Vehicle trail located on the Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  The agents were able to make contact with Moreland after a brief chase.

Moreland was found hunting after hours with a cross bow equipped with a night vision scope along with a .444 primitive rifle.

Moreland was booked into jail for hunting deer during illegal hours, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements, resisting an officer, hunting deer using illegal methods, using a firearm/archery equipped with illegal sights and not possessing a resident hunting license.  The agents seized all the equipment.

USFWS Agent Mark Cupit and LDWF Sgt. Trey Mason participated in the case.

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

Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish

Release Date: 11/17/2014

*Corrected release date
 
Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish
 
Nov. 17, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) responded to a report of a dead cougar along LA Hwy. 12 in Calcasieu Parish west of Dequincy. The animal was found late afternoon on Friday, Nov. 7.
 
A necropsy performed by LDWF staff determined that the cougar was a 70-pound adult that had been declawed on all four paws.  Decomposition made the immediate exact age and cause of death more difficult to determine.  However, the cause of death remains under investigation.  The origin of the cougar is unknown at this time.
 
There are no personal captive cougar permits currently issued in the state due to public safety concerns, therefore it is unlawful for anyone to possess a cougar in Louisiana, other than a certified zoo.
 
The mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma are names that refer to the same animal.  Their color ranges from lighter tan to brownish grey. Cougars in Louisiana are protected under state and federal law. Anyone convicted of killing a cougar in Louisiana could face civil restitution of up to $4,351 and federal citations with additional fines and penalties.
 
To report information related to the dead cougar found Nov. 7, contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division Lake Charles office at 337-491-2580.
 
Anyone with any information regarding persons owning a pet cougar should call LA Operation Game Thief, inc. at 1-800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.
 
To report verifiable sightings of cougars with photos, tracks or scat, please call Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061, or contact Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 

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LDWF Recognizes Dedicated Volunteer Fish Taggers

Release Date: 11/17/2014

Tagger of the Year, wife accepting on behalf of Dr. Victor Tedesco, III
Top Redfish Taggers
Top Speckled Trout Taggers
Top Red Snapper Tagger, Andre Thomas
Women & Youth Taggers

(Nov. 17, 2014) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana honored volunteer fish taggers during their annual Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program’s awards banquet on Thursday, November 6 at the Petroleum Club in Lafayette, La.
 
The program relies on a group of volunteers who dedicated nearly 3,200 hours to fish tagging efforts this year.  The event honored those volunteers who tagged 20 or more fish during the season, which ran from July 2013 to September 2014.
 
Nearly 26,000 fish were tagged, more than doubling the amount of fish tagged in the previous season. The increased number of tagged fish can be attributed to more than 700 volunteers who tagged at least one fish during that timeframe. 
 
“The tagging program is only possible because of the anglers who volunteer their time to fish, tag, collect, and report data,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “We’re very lucky to have such an extraordinary group of volunteers who contribute to this important source of recreational fisheries data.”
 
Program officials recognized 57 volunteer anglers who out-competed their colleagues as members of the Century Club by tagging more than 100 fish during the season. 
 
Women and youth participation in the program is also growing in popularity. In recognition of their efforts, 24 women and youth anglers were awarded prizes during the event.
 
Top Fish Taggers include:
 
Tagger of the Year - Dr. Victor Tedesco, III
Most Tagged Fish Overall (1,574)
Most Tagged Fish Recaptured (77)
Most Volunteer Hours (446.5)
 
Most Tagged Redfish
1st Place - Donna Dearman (663)
2nd Place - Jeff Bavar (657)
3rd Place - Andre Thomas (526)
 
Most Tagged Speckled Trout
1st Place- Dr. Victor Tedesco, III (1,308)
2nd Place - Larry Shields (521)
3rd Place - Diane and Norman Norton (359)
 
Most Tagged Red Snapper
1st Place - Andre Thomas (43)
2nd Place - Mike Patrick (27)
3rd Place - Tommy Moore (23)
 
Fish tagging can provide a wealth of information, including data on migration patterns, growth rates, and population size. Since the program began in the 1980s, nearly 183,000 fish have been tagged and of those over 5,700 have been recaptured.
 
“One exciting thing we’ve learned through taggers’ data is most fish are recaptured very close to their original tagging location, explained Pausina.  “One redfish in particular was tagged, released, and then recaptured a record 4 times – all near the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab in Grand Isle, La.  In fact, only about 2 percent of tagged red drum and spotted seatrout are recaptured more than 50 miles from the location where they were originally tagged and released.”
 
The Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program is a cooperative effort between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, universities, non-profit organizations and volunteer anglers.  Program goals include educating anglers on fisheries management and conservation and opening communication between researchers and anglers.
 
LDWF urges interested saltwater anglers to join the program.  Tagging kits and program materials are provided at no charge.  For more information about the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, contact us by calling 1-800-567-2182, via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tag/louisiana or email Fishtags@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.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.
 

LDWF Announces Addition to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 11/14/2014

LDWF Announces Addition to Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area

Nov. 14, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has added acreage to the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
 
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a resolution Nov. 6 to officially include two tracts of land acquired in July 2014 within Maurepas Swamp WMA.
Known as the Crusel Tracts, the Livingston Parish properties are comprised of a 13-acre farm tract and a 1,569-acre tract totaling 1,582 acres.
 
The full expanse of the WMA now includes a total of 122,098 acres of wildlife habitat dedicated to the conservation and management of fish and wildlife and their habitat. The public accessible land is situated between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and includes acreage in Ascension, Livingston, St. James, St. John the Baptist and Tangipahoa parishes.
 
The perimeter boundary of the new acreage will be marked with LDWF signage to alert the public of the WMA boundaries. To view the site map and learn more about Maurepas Swamp WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2791 .
 
For more information, contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4781 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov .
 

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Two Louisiana Men Cited for Night Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/13/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent cited two Louisiana men for alleged night hunting violations on Nov. 12 in Franklin Parish.

Agents cited Claude B. Roberts, 24, and Cody A. Barton, 27, both from Fort Necessity for taking a deer during illegal hours, hunting from a public road and hunting from a moving vehicle.  Barton was also cited for discharging a firearm from a public road.

According to the men they were in a vehicle and shined a deer with a spotlight from a public road in Franklin Parish around 9 p.m.  Barton then shot and killed a spiked deer from the vehicle.

After shooting the deer, the men saw a vehicle coming and attempted to flee the area and wrecked their truck in the process of leaving.  The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a person near where they crashed their truck.

LDWF Senior Agent Johnny Wilson made contact with the men at the scene and cited the men.

Taking deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road and discharging a firearm from a public road each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Barton may also face civil restitution of $1,624 for the illegally taken deer.

Involved in the case are Senior Agent Johnny Wilson and Franklin Parish Deputy Brandon Box.

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

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