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LDWF News Release

L.D.W.F. Accepting Applications for Waterfowl Group Hunts at White Lake W.C.A. for 2012-13 Hunting Season

Release Date: 08/06/2012

Aug. 6, 2012 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is now accepting applications for waterfowl group hunts for up to 12 hunters per group at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA). 

The cost of the 2012-13 waterfowl season hunts will be $30,000 for each group and the application form is available on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts.  A completed application form and $2,500 deposit must be submitted to LDWF by the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2012.

Interested groups must select one, two-day group hunt per application.  When selecting dates from the dates offered (example: Nov. 10-11), it is understood that arrival will be the afternoon before (example: Nov. 9).  The two consecutive days of hunting do not include the arrival day, which will be the day before from 3 to 5 p.m.

LDWF will then select one application by random lottery drawing for each hunt offered.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must submit a separate application for each two-day group hunt they wish to reserve.

Applications must be accompanied by a bank draft, money order or other liquid instrument made payable to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the amount of $2,500.  If the application is selected, the deposit is non-refundable, and the applicant will be notified by mail and required to submit the final payment of $27,500 no later than 14 days prior to arrival.

The fee covers up to 12 hunters and includes the following:  transportation to and from the airport (Jennings or Lake Charles or Lafayette), all food and beverages, two-night stay at the White Lake Lodge, professional hunting and fishing guides, hunting and fishing licenses, steel shot shotgun shells for waterfowl hunts and lead shot for skeet range, the use of shotguns and fishing gear, bird and fish cleaning and packaging.

On the arrival day, hunters will watch a safety film and then be issued hunting and fishing licenses. If time allows, the group will shoot skeet in the late afternoon hours.  Day two starts with a morning waterfowl hunt from 6 to 9:30 a.m.  After the hunt, the group can fish or shoot clay targets on the skeet range or sporting clays course.  On day three, a morning waterfowl hunt is scheduled from 6 to 9:30 a.m., and checkout is no later than noon, after lunch.

Applications must be mailed to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attention: White Lake Group Hunt, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898 (Physical Address: 2000 Quail Drive, Room 422, Baton Rouge, LA   70808).

For more information on White Lake WCA waterfowl group hunts, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400 or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov.

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Five Men Cited In Terrebonne Parish For Oyster Violations

Release Date: 08/03/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on July 31.

While on oyster-growing-area patrol in Four Isle Bayou, agents found a vessel being used to dredge oysters from a private lease without the lease owner's permission.

Agents cited Lawrence J. Verdin, 61, from Bourg; Wesley P. Verdin, 54, from Theriot; Shaft D. Jones, 29, of Houma; Russell A. Trahan, 24, of Houma; and Walter O. Jones, 29, from Houma, for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease and failure to have written permission.

The oysters located on the vessel were seized and returned to the water.  The boat and dredges were placed under an LDWF seizure order.

The penalty for unlawfully taking oysters from a private lease is a fine between $900 and $950, or imprisonment up to 120 days, or both, plus court costs and forfeiture of anything seized in connection with the violation.  Failure to have written permission is punishable by a fine of $400 to $900, or jail time up to 120 days, or both plus court costs.

Any person convicted of these violations may for one year after the date of such conviction only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system.  Access to the monitoring system shall be granted to LDWF.  For that year, the person convicted of these violations shall identify for the department which vessel will be used to harvest oysters.

Agent participating in the case were Sgts. Richard Purvis and Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Norman Deroche.

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

L.W.F.C. Sets Tentative 2012-13 Migratory Waterfowl Season

Release Date: 08/02/2012

Aug. 2, 2012 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) voted today to tentatively adopt proposed season dates, bag limits and shooting hours for the 2012-13 migratory waterfowl season.  The dates will be ratified by a declaration of emergency from the Commission, after approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Following a comment period that began after the July commission meeting, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recommended a 60-day season for ducks, coots and mergansers in the three zones in place for the 2012-13 hunting season. Shooting hours begin one-half hour before sunrise and extend until sunset.

In the West Zone, the first segment will open on Nov. 10 and close on Dec. 9.  The second segment will open on Dec. 22 and run through Jan. 20.  In the East Zone, the first segment will run from Nov. 17 to Dec. 2.  The second segment will start Dec. 15 and end Jan. 27. In the new Coastal Zone, the first segment will open on Nov. 10 and close on Dec. 2, and the second segment will open on Dec. 15 and run through Jan. 20.

Youth waterfowl weekend hunts will be held Nov. 3-4 in the West and Coastal Zones, and Nov. 10-11 in the East Zone.

A proposal to move the youth waterfowl weekend to the end of the final hunting segment in the East Zone was not adopted due to public comments received in favor of the traditional pre-season dates normally provided for youth. Additionally, public comment asking for an East Zone opening segment with 16 days and second segment with 44 days was accommodated.

The daily bag limit on ducks is six and may include no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be females), two pintails, one canvasback, one mottled duck, one black duck, three wood ducks, four scaup and two redheads.

The daily bag limit on coots is 15.  The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which only two may be hooded mergansers.  The merganser limits are in addition to the daily bag limit for ducks.

The possession limit on ducks, coots and mergansers is twice the daily bag limit.

Light geese and white-fronted geese will have a 74-day season.  The first segment in the West Zone will open on Nov. 10 and close on Dec. 9.  The second segment in the West Zone will run from Dec. 22 to Feb. 3.  The first segment in the East Zone will open on Nov. 3 and run until Dec.  2.  The East Zone second segment will run from Dec. 15 to Jan. 27.  In the Coastal Zone, the season on light and white-fronted geese will be Nov. 10 to Dec.2 and Dec. 15 to Feb. 3. The daily bag limit on light geese is 20, with no possession limit.  The daily limit on white-fronted geese is two, with a possession limit of four.

The Canada goose season will run concurrent with the light and white-fronted goose season, but close on Jan. 31 in the West and Coastal Zones, EXCEPT  a small  area in southwest Louisiana will remain closed. That closure zone includes the following area: Beginning at the Texas state line, proceeding east along Hwy 82 to the Calcasieu Ship Channel, then north along the Calcasieu Ship Channel to its junction with the Intracoastal Canal, then east along the Intracoastal Canal to its juncture with LA Hwy 82, then south along LA Hwy 82 to its juncture with Parish road 3147 to Freshwater  Bayou Canal, then south to the Gulf of Mexico, then west along the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas state line, then north to the point of beginning at LA Hwy 82.  Open waters of Lake Arthur and the Mermentau River, from the Hwy 14 bridge southward, will also be closed to Canada goose hunting.

The daily limit for Canada geese is three in aggregate with white-fronted geese and the possession limit is six in aggregate with white-fronted geese.  So the daily bag limit will allow three dark geese (white-fronted and Canada geese), no more than two of which may be white-fronted geese.

The Statewide Conservation Order for light geese will open the first segment in the West Zone on Dec. 10and run to Dec. 21, andthe second segment will run from Feb. 4 to March 9.  The first segment in the East Zone will run from Dec. 3 to Dec. 14, and the second segment will run from Jan. 28 to March 9.  The first segment in the Coastal Zone will run from Dec. 3 to 14, and the second segment from Feb.4 to March 9. During this time, only snow, blue and Ross geese may be taken and daily bag and possession limits are eliminated.  The use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed.  Shooting hours during the Conservation Order begin one-half hour before sunrise and extend until one-half hour after sunset.

Rails may be taken from Sept. 15 to 30 and again from Nov. 10 to Jan. 2.  For King and Clapper rails, the daily limit is 15 in the aggregate with a possession limit of 30.  Sora and Virginia rails have a daily and possession limit of 25 in the aggregate.

Gallinule season will be open from Sept. 15 to 30 and again from Nov. 10 to Jan. 2.  The daily bag limit is 15 with a possession limit of 30.

Snipe season will open  in the West Zone with the first segment from Nov. 3 to Dec. 10, and the second segment from Dec. 22 to Feb. 28. In the East Zone and Coastal Zones, the first segment will run from Nov. 3 to Dec. 3, with a second segment running Dec. 15 to Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is 8 and the possession limit is 16.

An extended falconry season for ducks, rails and gallinules will take place from Nov. 3 to Feb. 1.

For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at 225-765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.louisiana.gov.

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Briefed on 2011-12 Deer Harvest

Release Date: 08/02/2012

Aug. 2, 2012 – The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission received a report today on the 2011-12 deer season as compiled by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Wildlife Division. 

The 2011-12 LDWF mail survey deer harvest index was down13 percent when compared to the 2010-11 deer season.  A record mast crop and reduced hunter effort are considered the primary reasons for the decline in harvest, and a season that left many hunters with fewer than normal deer sightings.

Other contributing factors to the decreased harvest included; a relatively warm January resulting in limited deer movement;  the second historic opening of the Morganza spillway which caused deer and other wildlife mortality and prompted a season reduction in those affected areas; and two very dry summers in a row.  Research has shown that especially dry Junes are thought to increase the prevalence of hemorrhagic disease, the most significant deer disease and non-hunting source of mortality in Louisiana. 

In his report to the Commission, LDWF’s Deer Program Manager Scott Durham also noted reduced forest management practices and potentially reduced fawn recruitment, critical factors for sustaining populations, as additional factors contributing to the reduced harvest. Referencing the summer droughts, the report underscored the very negative impacts on browse availability, palatability and nutrient content at a time when doe health and fawn growth, development and survival are most critical. 

Other factors presented that would have affected the 2011-12 harvest included hunters  who only hunted permanent stands over food plots or bait and did not have a lot of success, and gas prices during last year’s hunting season which prompted many hunters to stay home.  This factor is substantiated by the mail survey which showed the number of days hunted (2,989,600) was down 8.6 percent. 

Hunter survey data indicated a 10 percent increase in hog harvest (98,200), verifying more hogs on the landscape.  Recent research shows that deer and hogs do not mix well and that deer can be displaced by hogs, reported Durham.  Hog populations are high enough in some areas of the state to affect deer numbers through direct competition for food resources.

The presentation to the Commission included data from the deer harvest reporting system and the long term mail out survey.  The mail survey is sent to six percent of licensed hunters between the ages of 16 and 59. The mail survey index for the 2011/12 season indicated 158,600 deer hunters harvested 133,000 deer.  The deer hunter number index has been relatively stable the last few years, according to Durham.  The deer harvest index was down 13 percent and is the lowest estimate since 1984.  The harvest sex ratio according to the mail survey was 56 percent male, 44 percent female.

The harvest allocation by weapon type revealed that modern weapons are still by far the most effective method for harvesting deer in Louisiana and a four percent increase in bow hunters resulted in a bow harvest higher than the primitive firearms harvest.

For more information on LDWF’s Deer Program, contact Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or sdurham@wlf.la.gov.

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LWF Commission Sets 2012-2013 Louisiana Oyster Seasons

Release Date: 08/02/2012

LWF Commission Sets 2012-2013 Louisiana Oyster Seasons

(Aug. 2, 2012) – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2012/2013 oyster seasons based on oyster stock assessments provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry. 

The following opening dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:

  • The Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one-half hour before sunrise on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.
  • All remaining public oyster seed grounds and reservations will open at one-half hour before sunrise on Monday, October 29, 2012, except for the Bay Gardene and Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservations, which will remain closed.  The area of the public grounds east of the Mississippi River and south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet will be restricted to the harvest of market sacks only, and no seed oyster harvest will be allowed.
  • The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (DHH Harvest Area 30) will open at one-half hour before sunrise on Thursday, November 1, 2012.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person, per vessel, per day.

In addition to closures in Bay Gardene and Sister Lake, the 2011 clutch plants in Mississippi Sound and California Bay and the 2012 cultch plant in Hackberry Bay will remain closed.  The east side of Calcasieu Lake (DHH Harvest Area 29) and the Sabine lake Public Oyster Area will also remain closed for the entire 2012/13 oyster season.

Closure dates will be determined by LDWF Secretary Barham on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered.  The Secretary is also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open areas if substantial oyster resources are located. 

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

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 media inquiries contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov  or (225) 765-2396.

 

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LWF Commission Takes Action to Prevent the Spread of Exotics

Release Date: 08/02/2012

(Aug. 2, 2012)– Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took measures to prevent the spread two of exotics, the apple snail and Rio Grand cichlid.  Both species pose a threat to native habitat and fish populations.

In order to promote the removal of apple snails, the Commission made it illegal to buy, sell or possess the exotic species.  Apple snails eat vast amounts of vegetation and reproduce at a rapid rate, disrupting the natural ecological process.  They are primarily a threat to wetlands and rice plants. 

The Rio Grand cichlid tends to outcompete native fish for habitat and bedding areas.  The commission’s action revises the existing rule to allow an individual to retain the fish, as long as it is killed upon capture. 

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, contact Rob Bourgeois at (225) 765-0765 or rbourgeois@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

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Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets Fall Shrimp Season

Release Date: 08/02/2012

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Sets Fall Shrimp Season

(Aug. 2, 2012) – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission announced the fall inshore shrimp season will open at 6 a.m. on Monday, August 13, 2012, in state inside waters from the Atchafalaya River and Atchafalaya River Ship Channel westward to the Louisiana/Texas state line.  State inside waters from the Atchafalaya River eastward to the Mississippi/Louisiana state line will open to shrimping 12 hours later, at 6 p.m.

The commission set the season based on recommendations presented by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments from the public.

Some areas are still closed to commercial fishing and certain recreational fishing activities due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Maps of the areas that remain closed to recreational and commercial fishing are posted to the LDWF website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oilspill.

The commission granted authority to the LDWF Secretary to close the fall shrimp season when biological and technical data indicates the need and to open and close special shrimp seasons.

Preliminary Louisiana shrimp landings statistics provided by NOAA Fisheries Service indicate that approximately 21.8 million pounds of shrimp (all species combined/heads-off weight) were landed in Louisiana from January through June 2012.

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, contact Martin Bourgeois at (985) 594-4130 or mbourgeois@wlf.la.gov. For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

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Jackson-Bienville W.M.A. Lease Renewed, Acreage Reduced

Release Date: 08/01/2012

Aug. 1, 2012-- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has renewed a lease agreement with the Weyerhaeuser Company that will continue to provide public access to a reconfigured Jackson-Bienville Wildlife Management Area (WMA) through June of 2015.

The new lease, effective July 1, 2012, keeps 25,089 acres of Weyerhaeuser property within LDWF’s WMA program. Another 7,000 acres that had previously been under lease, will no longer be public accessible. The property, which straddles the Jackson, Bienville and Lincoln parish lines, has been managed by LDWF since 1951.

LDWF will continue to manage the wildlife resources in the newly configured WMA and maintain access for the public utilizing the WMA for outdoor recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, birding and nature photography. LDWF’s WMA program provides many quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the public on nearly 1.5 million acres around the state. These properties are owned by or leased to LDWF.  

To view a map with the revised boundary of Jackson-Bienville WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2771.For more information contact Kenny Ribbeck at 225-765-2942 or kribbeck@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF 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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Three Men Sentenced For Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 08/01/2012

Three Louisiana men were sentenced in federal court on July 24 for their roles in illegally dove hunting over a baited field during the 2011 hunting season in St. Charles Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents observed three men hunting over an illegally baited field during the 2011 dove season.  The area had been under surveillance after learning about the placing of bait to attract doves. 

After a subsequent investigation by LDWF and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agents, LDWF agents cited Ronald Guillory, 66, Darrel Guillory, 43, both of Norco, and Thomas Brandt, 75, of Kenner for hunting doves over a baited field.

On July 24, 2012, Ronald and Darrel Guillory and Brandt appeared before a U.S. Magistrate in federal court in New Orleans and pleaded guilty to hunting doves with the aid of baiting.  Each man received a fine of $1,010 and three years of unsupervised probation with a special condition that they forego hunting migratory game birds for one year.  Ronald Guillory also pleaded guilty to the placement of bait and was sentenced an additional $1,510 fine and three years of unsupervised probation to run concurrent with the previous sentence.

LDWF agents testifying in the trial were Sgt. Jason Russo and Agent Jared Taylor.  Investigating agents for the USFWS were Senior Agents Scott Boudreaux and Steven Clark.

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

WETSHOP 2012 Educates Teachers on Issues Facing Louisiana’s Coastal Resources

Release Date: 07/27/2012

WETSHOP 2012 – Grand Isle, La.
WETSHOP 2012 – Grand Isle, La.
WETSHOP 2012 – Grand Isle, La.
WETSHOP 2012 – Grand Isle, La.

July 27, 2012– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) hosted a week-long wetlands workshop in mid July to train Louisiana teachers on the history of the state’s coastal wetlands and issues that face the natural resources within those wetlands.

The workshop resources included funding provided by the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP) through the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and educational materials provided by the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program.

During this comprehensive workshop, educators experienced research trawling, seining, fishing, water quality sampling, coastal botany, birding and presentations from experts in the fields of coastal restoration, invasive species, and oil and gas exploration. Participating teachers earned 55 professional contact hours upon successful completion of the workshop.

WETSHOP 2012 included 19 educators representing 13 different parishes. The base of operation was the LDWF Fisheries Research Lab located on Grand Isle, which provided dormitory and cooking facilities for the workshop conducted by LDWF Aquatic Education staff.  Participants also heard presentations from the lab staff and representatives of the Nature Conservancy, BTNEP, LA Sea Grant College Program, LA Department of Natural Resources, CWPPRA (Coastal Wetland Planning Protection Restoration Act), the Port Fourchon Commission and LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium).

Once trained, WETSHOP graduates return to their parishes and collectively train and equip teachers around the state with the knowledge and resources to conduct lessons on the state’s coastal wetlands. Those 19 teachers can impact an estimated 40,000 Louisiana students.

WETSHOP has been conducted since the summer of 1993.  At that time, the workshop was entitled “Wetland Workshop for Upland Teachers” and targeted teachers north of US Hwy. 90.  Since 1995, the workshop has been offered statewide andcontinues to provide educators with up-to-date facts and experiences related to Louisiana’s coast, wetland values and functions, and the history of the state’s rich culture and geography.  Based on pre- and post-workshop testing, participants in 2012 increased their science content knowledge from an average score of 56 to 93 percent.

Teachers that are interested in WETSHOP 2013 can contact Angela Capello, LDWF biologist supervisor, ph. 318-748-6914 or email acapello@wlf.la.gov.

 

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