LDWF News Release

Historic Hatch: Whooping Crane Hatches in Wild in Louisiana for First Time Since 1939

Release Date: 04/12/2016

A whooping crane mother and father attend to their newly hatched chick in Jefferson Davis Parish.

April 12, 2016 – A major milestone was reached this week in the reintroduction of the whooping crane in Louisiana when the first hatching of a chick in the state in more than 75 years occurred in Jefferson Davis Parish.
The hatching, the first seen in Louisiana’s wild since 1939, represents another step forward in the program established in February of 2011 when the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reintroduced whooping cranes back into the state at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish.
LDWF has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve, U.S. Geological Survey and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to return the species to the state. Project funding comes from the LDWF Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge funds, federal funds and private/corporate donations, which are facilitated by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. Chevron has been a major corporate donor in the program.
“This is something we’ve been looking forward to and anticipating since the reintroduction began in 2011,’’ said LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski, who leads the Louisiana whooping crane project. “One of the major steps in restoring the species is successful reproduction. We’ve had several pairs nesting the last couple of years but until now no favorable outcomes. It’s an exciting time for us and all of our partners who have worked so hard alongside us.
“This couldn’t have been done without the assistance of private landowners. The support and cooperation of the many landowners and farmers on whose property the birds spend time is critical to the success of the project.’’
The new parents paired earlier this winter and nested and produced eggs for the first time in mid-March.  The female, is 4 years old and the male, is just 3 years old.
Once abundant in Louisiana in the 1800s, the species dwindled to two in 1945 and had disappeared by 1950 in the state.
 “I’d like to commend and congratulate our hard-working biologists and partners who have shepherded our program so well,’’ LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon said. “The ultimate goal is to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population in Louisiana so that this beautiful bird can thrive for generations to come. The first chick hatched here is a step in that direction.’’
The whooping cranes in Louisiana are designated as a non-essential, experimental population (NEP) under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation were developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area. The initial cohort of birds received in 2011 marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.
The White Lake WCA location in Vermilion Parish provides temporary shelter for the birds before their release into the wild. The cranes which make up the Louisiana population were raised at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and flown to Louisiana by the Windway Capital Corporation.
 Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and to report their sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form).
Whooping cranes are large-bodied, white birds similar to white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, all of which must be distinguished from legally-hunted snow geese. However, a red head and black facial markings along with a height of five feet and a wingspan of 7-8 feet make them very distinctive. In flight, whooping cranes display black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail.
Juvenile whooping cranes are primarily white with some cinnamon-brown feathers remaining on their body, primarily on their head and neck. Their wing tips are black like an adult, but they lack the red head.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving harassment or shooting of whooping cranes is advised to report that information to LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 
Additional information on LDWF’s whooping crane project is available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes or on the LDWF whooping crane Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lawhoopingcranes/?fref=ts). For more information, contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400, ext. 4.

Pearl River Wildlife Management Area Roads Opened, Shooting Range to Reopen Friday

Release Date: 04/12/2016

April 12, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened all roads in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and the Pearl River-Honey Island Shooting Range, located in the Pearl River WMA, will open Friday as scheduled.
The Pearl River-Honey Island Shooting Range is opened weekends; Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Flooding on the Pearl River caused the WMA to close on March 13 when the flood gauge on the river reached 16.5 feet, initiating an automatic benchmark closure set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
All roads have been inspected and are safe for travel.
The Pearl River WMA, which consists of 35,618 acres, is located approximately six miles east of Slidell and approximately one mile east of Pearl River.
For more information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2789 or contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781. For more information on the shooting range, call 985-643-3938.


LDWF Reopens Bayou Pierre, Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Areas to All Activities

Release Date: 04/12/2016

April 12, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened Bayou Pierre and Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The general turkey lottery hunt scheduled for Loggy Bayou will be held Friday-Sunday (April 15-17) as scheduled.
Both WMAs were closed March 17 due to flooding.
Bayou Pierre WMA is located in northwest Red River and east-central Desoto parishes, 20 miles south of Shreveport. For more information on Bayou Pierre WMA go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/32644.
Loggy Bayou WMA is located in Bossier Parish approximately 20 miles southeast of Bossier City. For more information on Loggy Bayou WMA go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2784.
For further information about either of these WMAs, contact Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@wlf.la.gov  or 318-371-3050.


LDWF Commercial Fishing Licenses Available in Bourg From April 26 to 28

Release Date: 04/11/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new commercial fishing licenses and renewals from its Bourg office location from April 26 to 28, 2016.
In addition to continual sales in Baton Rouge, LDWF will offer commercial licenses from its office in Bourg twice a year as an improved method of customer service. 
Most commercial fishing licenses will be available for purchase from Tuesday, April 26 through Thursday, April 28 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.  The Bourg office is located at 468 Texas Gulf Road, and their contact number is 985-594-4130.
Fishermen are reminded that only personal checks, cashier's checks, money orders and cash will be accepted at the Bourg office.  No credit cards will be accepted.  To avoid processing delays, those purchasing licenses are asked to bring their license renewal notices with them. 
First-time applicants must provide the following:

  • Resident applicants must provide proof of residency such as a Louisiana driver’s license the he has held continuously during 12 months immediately prior to the date on which he applies for any license, voter’s registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.
  • Non-residents applicants must provide proof of residency from their domiciliary state, such as driver's license, voter's registration, vehicle registration and state income tax.
  • Applicants applying for a license in a business name must provide documentation showing proof of valid federal tax ID# assigned to business name and proof of authorized signature, or an occupational license will be required.

For commercial licenses inquiries, contact (225) 765-2898.

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Adopts Resolution Regarding Gulf Red Snapper

Release Date: 04/08/2016


News Release


For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016


Contact: Rene LeBreton

Public Information

(504) 286-8745


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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Adopts Resolution Regarding Gulf Red Snapper

April 7, 2016 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) commended the department on its leadership in the development of LA Creel (an improved recreational landings data collection system) and the work with the other Gulf states and congressional representatives toward a solution that would implement an alternative framework for cooperative state-based management of Gulf red snapper.

Additionally, the commission adopted a resolution to work diligently with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries toward a solution for successful management of the red snapper resource for the betterment of the fisheries, including supporting the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority, a framework created by the five Gulf states for cooperative management of Gulf red snapper.

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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.


LWFC Approves Hunting Seasons, Hunting Regulations and WMA Rules for Upcoming Seasons

Release Date: 04/08/2016

April 7, 2016 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved the 2016-18 hunting season dates and 2016-17 general and Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) hunting rules and regulations at its April meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge.
The season dates approved include the 2017 turkey season and associated rules and regulations along with the 2016-17 migratory bird hunting season and rules and regulations. This year is the first inclusion of waterfowl seasons, regulations and bag limits in the annual NOI process.
The notices of intent presented in January by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) for the upcoming hunting seasons were approved with amendments made subsequently in February and March.
An amendment to alter the first split of duck season in the West Zone was voted down by the commission Thursday. The West Zone season will begin with the first split Nov. 12-Dec. 4 and the second split from Dec. 17-Jan. 22 as originally proposed. Youth hunts will be held Nov. 5 and Jan. 28.
The commission voted to approve four other amendments to the Notice of Intent, including:
·              Amending the 2016-17 Light and White-fronted goose season to open Nov. 5 for the first split in both the north and south zones, which will extend the season length by 7 days.
·              Amending a section of the General and Wildlife Management Area Rules and Regulations to prohibit mud boats and air-cooled propulsion engines after 2 p.m. from September through January on Pass-a-Loutre WMA, except such vessel use will be allowed after 2pm in South Pass, Pass-a-Loutre, Southeast Pass, Loomis Pass, Dennis Pass and Cadro Pass.
·              Amending the 2016-17 Canada goose season to open Nov. 5 for the first split in both the north and south zones, which will extend the season length by 7 days.
·              Allowing the use of dogs for the harvest of feral hogs in a portion of Dewey W. Wills WMA north of the Catahoula Lake Diversion Canal during the month of February.
Changes from previous hunting seasons in the approved NOIs include but are not limited to:
Incorporation of former Deer Area 5 into Deer Area 1 and the creation of a new Deer Area 5 within the levee protection system of the Atchafalaya Basin;
Implementation of mandatory hunter check-in for either-sex firearms deer hunts on several WMAs, including Bayou Macon, Boeuf, Big Lake, Buckhorn, Dewey W. Wills, Grassy Lake, Pomme de Terre, Richard K. Yancey, Russell Sage and Sherburne;
Modification of allowable weapons to be carried for protection purposes on WMAs, which will expand allowances on such weapons to be more consistent with changes to Title 56 last year;
Expansion on allowance for personal water craft on WMAs, to allow such on all WMAs during a specified time of year;
Creation of a limited access area within Dewey W. Wills WMA;
Elimination of a limited access area within Salvador/Timken WMA;
Benchmark deer season closure for Maurepas Swamp WMA;
Change of youth turkey lottery hunts to open youth turkey hunts on Bodcau and Jackson Bienville WMAs, and closure of turkey season on Loggy Bayou WMA.;
Addition of squirrel and rabbit hunting with dogs during February on Thistlethwaite WMA.
To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting seasons, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Continues to Monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease in State’s White-tailed Deer Population

Release Date: 04/07/2016

April 7, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries continues to monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer native to the state and has stepped up preventative efforts as CWD has entered Texas and Arkansas.
LDWF veterinarian Jim LaCour and agency Deer Management Assistance Program coordinator Jimmy Ernst said the disease, for which there is no cure, has not been found in Louisiana. However, it is important to be prepared in the event it does.
LaCour gave an update to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission during its April meeting in Baton Rouge on Thursday (April 7).
“We’ve been monitoring for CWD statewide for more than 10 years,” LaCour said, “and have checked 7,000-plus deer and have not discovered it. We are being proactive because it’s in our neighboring states (Texas and Arkansas) and it’s close enough that we need to be on guard.’’
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk and mule deer as well as white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue which leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
CWD is caused by prions, which are proteins normally found in the body that have mutated. These prions kill nerve cells and cause holes to develop in the brain tissue. They are spread through direct deer-to-deer contact or through contact with urine, feces, saliva and body parts of infected deer or infectious materials in the soil. It’s most commonly found in deer pens and captive facilities.
It is different from hemorrhagic disease (epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and/ or bluetongue virus), which is a virus spread by bites from infected insects.
Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, the CDCP recommends caution in handling venison in the infected region and that deer be tested for CWD before consuming.
The prions remain for years in the environment and there has not been a method discovered to eradicate them.  “Once the infected deer die, after they decompose, those particles go into the soil and they stay there indefinitely,’’ LaCour said.
CWD has been documented in 23 states and two Canadian provinces.
Though Louisiana has yet to see a single case of CWD, Ernst and LaCour said the LDWF has developed a plan should the disease be found here.
Once it is discovered, there will be feeding and baiting restrictions in the geographic area where the disease is found around the initial case. It may also be necessary to reduce and maintain a lower deer density in that area.
There also will be movement restrictions placed on deer body parts, and the creation of a CWD management zone, the size of which will depend on the location and distribution of infected deer.
 “Hunters won’t be able to bring a whole deer out  from property within that radius,’’ Ernst said. “They’ll be able to bring out the deboned meat, a clean skull plate with the antlers, and the cape, which is the skin of the head and shoulders.
“The goal is to take an area around the initial case and maintain intensive surveillance. We will liberalize the season locally and we will test those harvested animals as they come out. By stopping baiting and feeding, which congregates animals, and by reducing the population, there isn’t as much deer-to-deer interaction. That will slow the spread of the disease. We will continue surveillance and control in that area for an indefinite period of time. Hopefully, working with hunters and landowners, we can minimize the spread of the disease with these measures.’’
Ernst said the LDWF will remain vigilant in testing and enacting preventative measures against CWD introduction into Louisiana.  Working with Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) to prevent importation of potential CWD infected animals into the state through the LDAF licensed deer pen program is a continuing effort of LDWF.
For more information about chronic wasting disease, see the LDWF’s CWD FAQ page.
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.la.gov or www.FishLA.org. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.



LDWF Will Host Explore Bowhunting Workshop April 30 at Haughton Middle School

Release Date: 04/07/2016

April 7, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will hold an Explore Bowhunting instructor’s workshop April 30 at 9 a.m. at Haughton Middle School in Haughton, La.
The workshop is free and will provide six hours of hands-on training for teachers. All material used during the workshop will be furnished.
Explore Bowhunting is an outdoor conservation education program, focusing on interaction with wildlife. It teaches students how to enjoy the outdoors by developing basic skills in bow hunting as well as gaining an appreciation for and better understanding of wildlife.
To register for the workshop, schedule a workshop at your school or for more information, contact John Sturgis at 337-948-0255 or jsturgis@wlf.la.gov.


Big Bass Rodeo Continues to Grow in Its 69th Year

Release Date: 04/06/2016

Darryl Delerno, Jr., Joel Courcelle Award
Brennan LeJeune, Paul Kalman Award
Mandeville High School Bass Busters

Despite a brisk and windy morning, over 680 New Orleans area anglers gathered in City Park to compete in the 69th annual Big Bass Rodeo hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and New Orleans City Park.
Darryl Delerno, Jr., of Gretna, landed a 4.13-pound bass, earning him the Joel Courcelle Award for top bass of the day.  Dalerno was also awarded the right to compete in the upcoming Champion’s Challenge against previous winners.
Even the youngest of anglers braved the weather to try their hand at landing an award-winning catch. Brennan LeJeune reeled in a 1.1-pound largemouth bass and took home the Paul Kalman Award for largest catch for anglers 12 years old or younger. Nathan McCann came in first place with his .64-pound weight in the bream, cichlid or perch category.
A new competition category brought high school rivalry to a whole new level.  Battle for the Bass pitted high schools fishing teams of up to five members against one another to land the two largest bass per team. The Bass Busters of Mandeville High School took home the inaugural honor with an overall combined weight of 5.25 pounds.  The team of Bailey Madere, Trenton Pittman, Garrett Williams, Cole Plaisance and Clay Thrasher beat out 30 other area teams for the top prize and bragging rights.
For more information on the Big Bass Rodeo or Battle for the Bass, contact outreach@wlf.la.gov or visit www.fishla.org.
A complete list of winners is as follows:
Bass Category-Adult
1.     Darryl Delerno, Jr. – 4.13 lbs.
2.     DJ Parr – 3.88 lbs.
3.     Mike Laviolette – 3.22 lbs.
Champion’s Challenge
1.     Cary Smith – 2.76 lbs.
Cichlid and Bream Team
1.     Team Camo – 3.97 lbs.
2.     Stop, Drop and Reel – 3.18 lbs.
3.     Get the Net – 2.5 lbs.
1.     Zach Henderson – 16.38 lbs.
1.     Peter Durr – 1.77 lbs.
Bass Category-Junior
1.     Brennan LeJeune – 1.1 lbs.
2.     Hunter Thomassie – 0.89 lbs.
3.     Jacob Breaux – 0.64 lbs.
Bream, Cichlid or Perch-Junior
1.     Nathan McCann – 0.64 lbs.
2.     Caleb Buras – 0.48 lbs.
3.     Brooklyn Schneider - .30 lbs.
Battle for the Bass
1.     Bass Busters from Mandeville High School – Total weight: 5.25 lbs.
2.     Griffins from Dutchtown High School – Total weight: 2.32 lbs.
3.     Fishing of Any Kind from Archbishop Rummel High School – Total Weight 2.24 lbs.
Bass Category-Boats on the Bayou
1.     Kevin Metz – 3.04 lbs.
2.     Chase Crawford – 2.17 lbs.
3.     Luke Beslin – 0.86 lbs.
Trout Category-Boats on the Bayou
1.     Chris Holmes – 1.84 lbs.
2.     Sam McCarroll – 0.77 lbs.
Trashbash Category-Boats on the Bayou
1.     Geoffrey Vdoff - 0.72 lbs.
2.     Geoffrey Vdoff - 0.34 lbs.
3.     Geoffrey Vdoff – 0.33 lbs.

Wildlife and Fisheries April 2016 Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 04/05/2016

The next regular Commission Meeting of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, April 7, 2016, at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 The following items will be discussed:

1. Call to Order

2. Roll Call

3. Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

4. To hear Enforcement Reports March 2016

5. To hear an update on the 2016 Legislative Session

6. To hear an update on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

7. To Consider Resolution To Continue Support of the Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority (GSRSMA) and Transfer of Authority to GSRSMA over Fisheries Management and Data Collection for the Red Snapper in State and Federal Waters off the Coast of Louisiana

8. To hear final summary of public comments for the Notice of Intent 2016-2018 Resident Game Hunting Season, 2016-2017 General and WMA Hunting Seasons And Rules and Regulations, 2016-2017 General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations, 2016-2017 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons and Bag Limits and 2016-2017 Migratory Bird Seasons, Regulations and Bag Limits

9. To consider final approval of the 2016-2018 Resident Game Hunting Season, 2016-2017 General and WMA Hunting Seasons and Rules and Regulations, 2016-2017 General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations, 2016-2017 Turkey Hunting Areas, Seasons, and Bag Limits, and 2016-2017 Migratory Bird Seasons, Regulations, and Bag Limits: Consideration of Conditionally Adopted Amendments to Notice of Intent and Consideration of Amended Notice of Intent

10. Set August 2016 Meeting Date

11. Receive Public Comments

12. Adjournment


Please register for April 2016 LWF Commission Meeting on Apr 7, 2016 9:30 AM CDT at: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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