LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Reward Increases to $15,000 for Shooting Death of Whooping Crane

Release Date: 06/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are still looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish in April.

The Humane Society of the United States and the The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering $5,000, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation is offering $3,800, LDWF’s Operation Game Thief Program is offering $1,000, the USFWS is offering $1,000, the Whooping Crane Conservation Association is offering $1,000, John Perilloux is offering $1,000, anonymous donors are offering $1,250, the International Crane Foundation, through the restitution money from the South Dakota whooping crane shooting case, is offering $500, the Audubon Nature Institute is offering $250, and the Louisiana Ornithological Society is offering $200.

This brings the total in rewards to $15,000 for anybody that has any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

LDWF Whooping Crane Biologist Sara Zimorski said, “We have a lot of people and organizations that are very serious about making sure the person that shot this crane is punished for his or her actions.  By increasing the reward amount, we are very hopeful that it will also increase the incentive for anybody with information regarding the shooting of this whooping crane to come forward.”

If any group or person wants to donate funds to increase the reward amount, please contact LDWF Biologist Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400 ext. 4.

To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The reintroduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is still protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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

Three Texas Men Cited for Red Snapper Violations

Release Date: 06/27/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) cited three Texas men for allegedly violating federal reef fish regulations on June 19 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Agents cited Oscar Naranjo, 49, of Galveston, Texas, Eustacio Rangel, 51, of Port Isabelle, Texas, and Vincent Longoria, 47, of Palacios, Texas, for being in possession of 42 red snapper.

Agents were on a joint enforcement agreement patrol 50 miles south of Grand Isle in the Gulf of Mexico when they observed an 80 foot vessel trawling for shrimp.  Agents boarded the vessel and performed an inspection of the vessel.

During the inspection, agents located 42 frozen red snapper below the deck inside a large insulated holding box.  The men did not possess a commercial permit that is needed to harvest and sell reef fish under federal quotas and in excess of the bag limits.

Any vessel with shrimp trawls may not exceed the recreational reef fish bag limit, which is two per person with a minimum 16 inches in total length for red snapper.

Agents who are participating in the case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agent Michael Marques Jr.

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

Greater Amberjack Commercial Season to Close

Release Date: 06/27/2013

June 27, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the 2013 commercial fishing season for greater amberjack will close on Monday, July 1, at 12:01 a.m.
 
Following a review of current landings, data indicates the 2013 Gulf of Mexico quota of 338,158 pounds will be harvested by that date.  Louisiana commercial landings of greater amberjack average 100,000 pounds annually.
 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that federal waters will also remain closed to commercial amberjack fishing for the remainder of 2013. 
 
Greater amberjack are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico as well as in the temperate and tropical Atlantic Ocean.  Greater amberjack usually live in nearshore waters out to 300 feet deep.  This species is often found near offshore platforms, wrecks and artificial reefs.  Greater amberjack can reach sizes of 3 feet in length and weights of 170 pounds in the Gulf of Mexico. 
 
For more information contact Jason Adriance at 504.284.2032 or jadriance@wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries contact Laura Deslatte at 504.430.2623 or ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov
 

 

Wood Stork & Wading Bird Event Set for July 20 at Sherburne WMA

Release Date: 06/26/2013

Wood storks (Mycteria americana)

June 26, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a Wood Stork and Wading Bird Event on Saturday, July 20 from 7 a.m. to noon at the South Farm on Sherburne Wildlife Management Area.
 
Wood storks and other wading and shore birds will be viewable in the South Farm’s water management units that include a number of large moist soil impoundments.
The habitat also provides an abundance of small fish and enough crawfish to
support a public crawfishing area in the spring and summer.
 
The wood stork is native to North America. These large wading birds that can grow to four feet tall with a 66-inch wingspan are an indicator of the health of our nation’s wetlands. As wetlands disappear, the wood stork population is affected. Even though many of these birds are from Mexico, water management units such as the South Farm are becoming more critical to the survival of these birds.
 
With only a few thousand of these birds left, this event will provide a great opportunity for bird watchers, photographers and anyone who enjoys wildlife to see a large
concentration of birds. In addition to the storks, the habitat contains alligators, Whitetail deer and many other species of birds that may be observed as well. Biologists and birding enthusiasts will be on hand to discuss the management of the area, identification of animals, and the wood stork species.
 
The South Farm impoundments are drawn down in the mid-summer to enhance growth of wetland plants for wintering waterfowl. This process can take nearly a month due to the size of the impoundments and the management strategy to provide mud flats and very shallow water with concentrated prey for species including shorebirds (sandpipers) and wading birds (egrets, herons, spoonbills, storks, and ibises).
 
These same impoundment areas are flooded in the fall to provide habitat for water birds with emphasis on waterfowl.
 
Participants are advised to arrive early on July 20 for the greatest opportunity to see the wood storks. There is no event fee associated with this program, but LDWF wildlife management area regulations require all who use the site, between the ages of 16 and 60, to have either a valid Louisiana hunting or fishing license or a Wild Louisiana Stamp. These licenses are available from any vendor selling LDWF licenses, or on-line via
https://www.la.wildlifelicense.com/start.php or by phone at 1-888-765-2602.
 
Driving directions to the South Farm: Take I-10 to the Ramah exit (Exit 135); drive north and take the first road to the left; turn right by the closed market on Mimms Street; cross the bridge and turn right on the lower Atchafalaya Levee road. Please note this is a gravel road. Proceed approximately one mile until you see the South Farm” sign. Cross over the levee and enter the parking lot. Event staff will be there to provide you with additional information.
 
For more information on this program, please call the LDWF Wildlife Division Opelousas field office at 337-948-0255.

 

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LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water this Weekend June 28-30

Release Date: 06/26/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 28-30 with increased patrols for boaters operating or driving a boat while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement and boating safety.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of .08 percent.

"Alcohol is always one of the largest contributing factors for boating fatalities in Louisiana and nationwide," said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, LDWF’s state Boating Law Administrator.  "We want people to have fun on the water, but we also want them to have a sober operator of the vessel for the safety of those in the vessel and everybody else on the water.”

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 25 boating fatalities in 2012 with alcohol playing a role in six fatalities or 24 percent.  Nationwide, statistics from 2012 reveal that 17 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

LDWF agents issued five DWI citations to boat operators during the 2012 Operation Dry Water weekend and 10 DWI citations over the same weekend in 2011.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe.  In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

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

Agenda for the July Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting

Release Date: 06/25/2013

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of June 6, 2013

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To Hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June

5. To Consider Notice of Intent Scenic River Rules and Regulations

6. To Consider Notice of Intent 2014 Wild Turkey Season Dates, Rules and Regulations

7. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency for Early Migratory Game Birds and Special Teal Season

8. To Hear General Notice of 2013-2014 Waterfowl Season Tentative Dates

9. To Discuss Establishing Recreational and Commercial Size and Creel Limits on Tripletail

10. Set November 2013 Meeting Date

11. Receive Public Comments

 

 

Farmers Briefed on Whooping Crane Project, Scenic River Proposal and Ducks Unlimited Program

Release Date: 06/25/2013

June 25, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Ducks Unlimited and the LSU AgCenter hosted an educational seminar for southwest Louisiana farmers on Tuesday at the AgCenter’s Cooperative Extension office in Crowley.

LDWF staff briefed farmers on the status of the department’s whooping crane restoration program now in its third year. Farmers learned how the department tracks each crane’s movement once they are released from the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area and how they can assist staff biologists with research efforts underway.

The department’s Scenic Rivers Program coordinator gave an overview of the program, explained potential benefits for farmers whose fields are adjacent to designated system streams and outlined the steps that could provide for waterways within the Mermentau River Basin and Lacassine Bayou being included within the program.

The benefits to landowners along scenic rivers and streams include: special consideration at the state level regarding proposed new projects, especially water related issues; protection provided by unique regulations that value the contribution farmers make to Louisiana; and a competitive advantage for certain financial incentive programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Today, there are approximately 3,000 miles of Louisiana designated Natural and Scenic Rivers. These rivers, streams and bayous, and segments thereof, are located throughout the state and offer a unique opportunity for individuals and communities to become involved in the protection, conservation and preservation of two of Louisiana's greatest natural resources -- its wilderness and its water.

DU’s  Manager of Conservation Programs Bob Dew presented information about the importance of rice in southwest Louisiana to waterfowl and other migratory birds. These habitats are some of the most important habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl in North America. Through DU’s Rice Stewardship Program, DU and rice producers partner to enhance rice production, sustain natural resources and conserve waterfowl populations.

For more information about LDWF’s Scenic Rivers Program, contact Keith Cascio at 318-343-4045. For details on LDWF’s whooping crane restoration, contact Carrie Salyers at 337-262-2080. Information on DU’s conservation programs can be obtained by contacting Bob Dew at 337-408-3288.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the Acadian Sportsman League assisted with this public outreach program.

 

 

Agents Cite Four Subjects for Recreational Fishing Violations

Release Date: 06/25/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited four subjects for numerous recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on June 23.

Agents cited Nghia Huu Hoang, 33, Loan Huynh, 32, both from Harvey, Thang Van Tran, 38, of Avondale, and Truong Nguyen, 33, of Kenner, for intentional concealment of illegal fish, and red snapper, shark and triggerfish violations.

While on a joint enforcement agreement patrol in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, agents stopped the four subjects aboard their vessel in Empire.  During the stop, agents were shown a limit of red snapper.

After further investigation, agents discovered two hidden compartments in the bow of the vessel, which contained more red snapper and several sharks.  The subjects were in possession of a total of 40 red snapper, 18 of which were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches, three sharks that were also under the minimum size limit of 54 inches and during the currently closed recreational season, and three triggerfish also during the currently closed recreational season.

Intentional concealment of illegal fish carries up to a $950 fine.  Over limit of red snapper, possessing undersized red snapper, possession of shark and triggerfish during a closed season, and possessing undersized shark each brings up to a $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  In addition to the penalties in court they will also be assessed $983.84 in civil restitution for the illegally taken fish.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young and Senior Agent Jason Gernados.

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

L.D.W.F. Offering Hunter Education Instructor Training in St. Tammany Parish June 28-29

Release Date: 06/21/2013

June 21, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Education Section is offering a Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor Class at the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Training and Educational Facility on June 28 and 29.

The training facility is located at 39395 Pine Street in Pearl River and class begins on Friday, June 28 with a three-hour session from 6 to 9 p.m., and concludes on Saturday, June 29 with eight hours of training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Participants must attend both parts to be certified as a Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor.  Successful completion of this course will certify attendees as instructors for LDWF hunter education courses.

There is no charge for the class and it is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in teaching hunter education courses. Topics covered will include safe gun handling, wildlife management, responsibility and ethics, and general outdoor safety. Live fire exercises will also be part of the training.                 

Requirements for Becoming a Hunter Education Instructor are:

  • Attend the 12-hour instructor training course
  • Complete a live fire exercise
  • Pass a written exam
  • Undergo a criminal background check

Volunteer instructors are the backbone of LDWF’s hunter education program. One of the rewards of serving as a volunteer instructor is the self satisfaction of knowing you are helping to preserve the future of hunting by passing on a time honored tradition. Become a part of a team that makes a difference.

What Does LDWF Look For In a Volunteer Instructor?

  • Firearm safety experience
  • Courteous and respectful demeanor
  • Good communications skills
  • Someone who believes in the importance of education

For more information about the class, or to register, contact Gene Cavalier at 985-882-9159 or gcavalier@wlf.la.gov , or Aimee Robert at 225-765-2932 or arobert@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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LDWF Gopher Tortoise Research Underway

Release Date: 06/20/2013

Gopher tortoise relocated to Sandy Hollow WMA.
Gopher tortoise habitat.
Gopher tortoise in active burrow at Sandy Hollow WMA.

LDWF Gopher Tortoise Research Underway

June 20, 2013 -- The Louisiana Natural Heritage Program (LNHP), within the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, is currently partaking in habitat restoration and population distribution surveys for gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) within eastern Louisiana.

The multi-year research project is targeting habitat in Washington, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.

LNHP is working with colleagues throughout the southeastern U.S. on a multi-state habitat restoration project to assist private landowners with habitat management needs including mechanical clearing of understory, herbicide application, prescribed burning and planting longleaf pine. Additionally, LNHP has worked with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to generate priority areas for their Working Lands for Wildlife program that promotes cost share opportunities with landowners for habitat improvements for gopher tortoises.

Gopher tortoises range across portions of the Gulf coastal plain of the southeastern U.S. from southern South Carolina to southeast Louisiana and in Louisiana, Mississippi and western Alabama the tortoise is listed as “threatened” and subject to protection under the Endangered Species Act. The most important reason for the gopher tortoise decline is habitat loss and degradation.  The upland habitats gopher tortoises require are the high and dry sites that are favored for commercial and residential developments.  Also, changes in forest management and reduced occurrence of natural and prescribed fire have greatly reduced the amount of open canopy forest that these tortoises prefer.

Gopher tortoises require sandy, well drained soils for digging extensive burrows that provide protection from winter cold and summer heat. This species can be found in a variety of habitat types but prefer well-managed upland longleaf pine and mixed pine-hardwood forest. An important characteristic of the well-managed forest stands preferred by gopher tortoises is that they have an open canopy that allows ample sunlight to reach the ground to promote the growth of herbaceous food plants and provide sunny areas for nesting and basking. In the absence of preferred habitat, these tortoises will set up camp in marginal habitats such as roadsides, ditch banks, utility and pipeline rights-of-way and pastures.

The LNHP has been working to determine an estimate of the number of gopher tortoises in the state and to implement gopher tortoise habitat conservation measures. In addition, the LNHP strives to identify sites that provide important habitat and add gopher tortoise occurrence records to the LNHP database. Population estimates for this species are conducted through burrow occupancy surveys.  With the use of a specialized scope and camera, researchers can verify the activity status of a burrow and determine the presence of a tortoise.

Individuals living within eastern Louisiana are reminded not to disturb any gopher tortoises seen in the wild. Instead individuals are advised to leave tortoises where they are found in their native habitat. The open upland forest habitat required by gopher tortoises is one of the most diverse habitats found in Louisiana and among the most quickly disappearing.  In addition to gopher tortoises, this type of habitat supports a wide variety of birds, including game birds such as bobwhite quail and wild turkeys.

The LNHP is responsible for conservation of the state’s rare, threatened and endangered species and habitats. For more information on the LNHP, visit the program’s website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/louisiana-natural-heritage-program.

To report the sighting of a gopher tortoise, or you are a private landowner in eastern Louisiana and interested in participating in approved gopher tortoise habitat restoration efforts, please contact Keri Landry at (225) 765-2809 or klandry@wlf.la.gov

 

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