LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Boyce Tower Road at Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area Closed Due to Flooding

Release Date: 01/04/2017

Jan. 4, 2017 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has closed Boyce Tower Road at Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) due to flooding.
 
Once the flooding recedes, LDWF will inspect and repair any damage and reopen the road.
 
Maurepas Swamp WMA, which consists of 122,098 acres, is located approximately 25 miles west of New Orleans and along the south shore of Lake Maurepas west to near Sorrento. The WMA includes property in Ascension, Livingston, St. John the Baptist, St. James and Tangipahoa parishes. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2791.

For more information, contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781.

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January 2017 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Committee Agenda

Release Date: 01/03/2017

News Release

 

For Immediate Release
January 3, 2017

 

Contact: Rene LeBreton

Public Information

(504) 286-8745

rlebreton@wlf.la.gov

 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

Committee Agenda

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, January 5, 2017, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

 

1.     Call to Order        

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Adoption of December 01, 2016 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege         

6.     Enforcement Reports December, 2016 – Captain Edward Skena

7.     Recognize Cameron LNG for their Contribution to the Whooping Crane Recovery Program – Amity Bass, Director of Coastal and Non-Game Resources

8.     Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to Amend the General and Wildlife Management Area Rules and Regulations for the 2017-2018 Season, the Resident Game Hunting Season for the 2017-2019 Hunting Seasons, the General and Wildlife Management Area Rules and Regulations for the Turkey Season, the Turkey Hunting Areas, and Seasons, and Bag Limits for the 2018 Turkey Season, and the Migratory Bird Seasons, Regulations, and Bag Limits for the 2017-2018 Hunting Season – Steve Smith, WMA Program Manager

9.     Receive and Consider a Notice of Intent to Modify Commercial Non-Sandbar Large Coastal Shark Daily Harvest Limits – Jason Adriance, Biologist

10.  Receive and Consider a Declaration of Emergency to Modify Commercial Non-Sandbar Large Coastal Shark Daily Harvest Limits for the 2017 Season – Jason Adriance, Biologist

11.  Receive and Consider a Declaration of Emergency to Set the 2017-18 Commercial King Mackerel Season – Jason Adriance, Biologist

12.  Receive Presentation for 2017 Recreational Red Snapper Season and Consider Options for 2017 Recreational Red Snapper Season – Jason Adriance, Biologist 

13.  Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman

14.  Set April, 2017 Commission Meeting Date

15.  Receive Public Comments

 

16.  Adjournment  

 

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8957410449466546946

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

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.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is committed to accommodating all reasonable special requests regarding access to our meetings. Please direct all sign language interpreting services or other accommodation needs to the contact at the top of this announcement at least 72 hours prior to the meeting date. 

LDWF To Close Shrimp Season in Portions of State Outside Waters

Release Date: 12/28/2016

Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that portions of state outside waters will be closed to shrimping effective Monday, January 2, 2017, at official sunset.

Those waters that will close to shrimping include:

  • That portion of state outside waters extending a distance of 3 nautical miles seaward of the inside/outside shrimp line as described in R.S. 56:495(A) from the northwest shore of Caillou Boca at -90 degrees 50 minutes 27 seconds west longitude westward to the western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal at -92 degrees 18 minutes 33 seconds west longitude

The following state waters will remain open to shrimping until further notice:

  • Lake Pontchartrain, Chef Menteur and Rigolets Passes, Lake Borgne, Mississippi Sound, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) in Orleans parish from the GIWW East Closure Sector Gate westward to the GIWW intersection with the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, and the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as bounded by the double-rig line described in R.S. 56:495.1(A) 
  • State outside waters not listed above

For a map detailing today’s actions click here.

Existing data do not currently support shrimping closures in additional state inside or outside waters. However, historic data suggest additional closures may be needed in the near future and the department will continue monitoring shrimp populations in these waters.

Regulations state that the possession count on saltwater, white shrimp should average no more than 100 (whole shrimp) per pound, with the exception of October 15 through the third Monday in December, when there is no minimum count size.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission provided LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon with authority to close state outside waters when biological and technical data indicate the need. Recent sampling conducted by the LDWF biologists indicates the average white shrimp size in the waters to be closed is smaller than the minimum possession size limit. This action, which characteristically takes place at this time of year, is designed to protect small, white shrimp and provide opportunity for these populations to over-winter and grow to larger, more marketable sizes.

 

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov .

LDWF Closes Camp Bayou Road at Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 12/20/2016

Dec. 20, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has closed Camp Bayou Road at the Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area due to flooding. A parking area is located near the gate, and the road may be accessed by ATV/UTV only.

The road will be reopened once the water recedes and necessary repairs are made.

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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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Verifies Cougar Sighting in Northeast Louisiana

Release Date: 12/20/2016

Picture of a cougar taken on a trail camera in northeast Louisiana

Dec. 20, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has confirmed photographic evidence of a cougar sighting in northeast Louisiana on Nov. 23. An LDWF biologist conducted a site investigation that confirmed the authenticity of a trail camera picture submitted to the department.
 
“It is quite possible that this animal could be photographed on other trail cameras placed at deer feeders,’’ said Maria Davidson, LDWF’s Large Carnivore Program Manager.  “It is unlikely this cougar will remain in any one area longer than it would take to consume a kill. It is impossible to determine if the animal in the photograph is a wild, free-ranging cougar or an escaped captive."
 
Although it is illegal to own a cougar in Louisiana, there could be some held as pets. Cougars also are protected under state and federal law and it is illegal to kill them. 
 
The Department has documented several cougar sightings since 2002. 
 
The first was in 2002 by an employee of Lake Fausse Point State Park. It was later confirmed with DNA analysis from scat found at the site.
 
Three confirmed trail camera photos were taken of a cougar in Allen, Vernon and Winn parishes in 2008. 
 
A cougar was shot and killed in a neighborhood by the Bossier City Police Department on Nov. 30, 2008. The DNA from that cougar confirmed it originated from a New Mexico population.
 
Another confirmed trail cam picture was submitted in August of 2011 from Vernon Parish. There have been no additional reports since then until the recent sighting.
 
The mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma are all names that refer to the same animal. Its color ranges from light tan to brownish grey. The only species of big cats that occur as black are the jaguar and leopard. Jaguars are native to South America and leopards to Africa.  Both species can occur as spotted or black, although in both cases the spotted variety is much more common. 
 
Although the department has received many calls about black panthers, there has never been a documented case of a black cougar anywhere in North America. 
 
LDWF receives calls reporting sightings of cougars throughout Louisiana.  Many of the calls are found to be cases of mistaken identity, with dog tracks making up the majority of the evidence submitted by those reporting cougar sightings. Other animals commonly mistaken for cougars are bobcats and house cats, usually seen from a distance or in varying shades of light.
 
Because of the lack of physical evidence, LDWF has concluded Louisiana does not have an established, breeding population of cougars. In states that have verified small populations of cougars, physical evidence can readily be found in the form of tracks, cached deer kills, scat and road kill. 
 
The recent sightings of cougars in Louisiana are likely animals dispersing from existing populations. An expanding population in Texas can produce dispersing individual cougars that move into suitable habitat in Louisiana. Young males are known to disperse from their birthplace and travel hundreds of miles, seeking their own territories. 
 
Penalties for killing a cougar in Louisiana may include up to one year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine.  Anyone with any information regarding the killing of a cougar should call LA Operation Game Thief at 1-800-442-2511. Callers can remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.
 
To report sightings of cougars with physical evidence such as photos, tracks and/or scat, please contact Maria Davidson at 337-262-2080 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.
 

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NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Devices on Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

Release Date: 12/19/2016

NOAA Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Devices on Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

(12-16-16) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to notify the public that NOAA will be holding three meetings in Louisiana to solicit public input on this proposed rule.

1.Larose, LA - January 9, 2017, 4pm-6pm, Larose Regional Park and Civic Center, 307 East 5th Street, Larose, LA 70373

2.Gretna, LA - January 10, 2017, 12pm-2pm, Coastal Communities Consulting, Inc., 925 Behrman Highway, Suite 15, Gretna, LA 70056

3.Belle Chasse, LA - January 10, 2017, 4pm-6pm, Belle Chasse Community Center, 8398 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, LA 70037

NOAA is proposing to withdraw current tow time restrictions and instead require all skimmer trawls, pusher-head trawls, and wing nets (butterfly trawls) rigged for fishing to have turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to prevent small sea turtles from getting caught in these nets. The intent of this proposed rule is to reduce incidental bycatch and mortality of sea turtles in southeastern U.S. shrimp fisheries, and to aid in the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered sea turtle populations.

NOAA is also proposing to amend the definition of tow times to better clarify the intent and purpose of tow times to reduce sea turtle mortality, and to refine additional portions of the TED requirements to avoid potential confusion.

Click the link below for the full rule as proposed by NOAA:

www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0151

Additional Methods for Submitting Public Comment

You may also submit comments by any of the following methods. Written comments will be accepted through February 14, 2017. NOAA may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends.

Online through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:

·      Go to www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0151

·      Click the “Comment Now!' icon

·      Complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. You may submit attachments in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

MailMichael Barnette, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

Fax: 727-824-5309; Attention: Michael Barnette

For more information, contact Michael Barnette at 727-551-5794.

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 www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF Issues Charter-for-Hire License Holder Reminders

Release Date: 12/19/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind all charter-for-hire license holders of the following requirements when purchasing their license.
 
·      A valid U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License
·      A valid Louisiana Recreational Fishing License
·      A Louisiana Driver’s License, ID card or other acceptable evidence of residency (if seeking a resident license)
·      Proof of Liability Insurance
o   The liability insurance must be in the name of the license applicant and currently in force. (In the event that the insurance policy is in the name of a corporation, LLC, or partnership, LDWF will accept a letter from the insurance company on official letterhead indicating that the individual is covered under the policy or a rider naming the individual on the policy).
o   The liability insurance required shall be written by an insurance company with at least an A- rating in the latest printing of the A.M. Best’s Key Rating Guide.
o   The liability insurance must be of a commercial nature and not associated with a primary residential property.
o   The liability insurance coverage shall not be less than $300,000 per occurrence.
 
Proof of the above requirements must be shown when purchasing or renewing your license in person at LDWF headquarters.  When purchasing the license on-line, a temporary 30-day license will be issued.  Once the applicant supplies the required documentation to the Department, the permanent license will be mailed to the applicant.  For on-line purchases, documentation may be submitted by e-mail to charterguideins@wlf.la.gov, via fax at (225)763-5421, or by regular mail to Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries,  Attn:  Licensing, P. O. Box 14796 Baton Rouge, LA  70898, or in person at LDWF headquarters. 
 
These requirements will also be enforced on the water, therefore charter captains are reminded to have all required licenses and proof of liability insurance in their possession while on the water and available for inspection.
 
Charter captains are also reminded that annual charter-for-hire licenses expire on Saturday, December 31. To renew your license online, visit la.wildlifelicense.com. New applicants must apply in person at LDWF’s headquarters located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.
 
Regulations and minimal insurance requirements can be found in LDWF’s 2017 Commercial Fishing Regulations Brochure on page 42 and 43.  The online version is available here

Reminder: Tomorrow, Saturday December 17 the statewide waterfowl season opens in all 3 zones!

Release Date: 12/16/2016

Reminder: Tomorrow, Saturday December 17 the statewide waterfowl season opens in all 3 zones!

2017 Turkey Season Lottery Hunt Applications Now Available

Release Date: 12/16/2016

Dec. 16, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2017 turkey season lottery hunts on state wildlife management areas (WMAs). The deadline to submit applications is Feb. 10, 2017.
 
Regular turkey lottery hunts will be held on nine WMAs this spring. Youth lottery hunts will be held on 11 WMAs.

The application forms for these WMA hunts for adult and youth hunters are now available on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts . The forms list all lottery hunt dates and locations.
 
The 2017 wild turkey season will open March 25 on private lands in three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows: Area A, March 25 - April 23; Area B, March 25 - April 16; and Area C, March 25 - April 9. For a detailed map, go to
http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/turkey .
 
The statewide youth and physically challenged hunter weekend for private lands will be March 18-19. To access additional information on turkey season, review the 2016-17 Louisiana Hunting Regulations booklet at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/regulations .
 
For more information, contact Cody Cedotal at ccedotal@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2361.

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