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LDWF News Release

L.W.F.C. ISSUES NOTICE OF INTENT FOR 2013 WILD TURKEY SEASON

Release Date: 07/02/2012

July 2, 2012 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission today issued a notice of intent with the proposed 2013 wild turkey season and regulation changes.  The proposed season framework was presented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Wildlife Division at the Commission’s monthly meeting.  The public has 60 days to comment on the department’s recommendation.

If approved as presented, the 2013 wild turkey season would open March 23 in three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows:  Area A, March 23 - April 21; Area B, March 23 - April 14; and Area C, March 23 - April 7 using the same geographic boundaries utilized in 2012. The statewide youth and physically challenged hunter weekend for private lands would be set for March 16-17. 

Additionally, on USFWS-managed National Wildlife Refuges and US Army Corps of Engineer properties the following turkey hunting dates would be available: Bogue Chitto NWR, March 23 - April 14; Lake Ophelia NWR, March 23 - April 7; Tensas NWR, youth hunters March 16-17 plus March 23 - April 7; Upper Ouachita NWR, youth hunters March 16; Indian Bayou USACOE, youth/physically challenged dates on March 16-17, 23-24 and 30-31; and Old River USACOE, March 23 - April 7.

Proposed changes include added youth lottery hunts on Kisatchie National Forest in the Catahoula, Caney, Kisatchie and Winn ranger districts.

WMA turkey season changes would include reduced days on Sherburne WMA, an earlier season opening on Dewey Wills WMA, an added youth hunt day on Pearl River WMA, an additional three-day lottery hunt on Union WMA, a requirement that Tunica Hills WMA hunters wear research GPS devices and a fall season limit of one turkey at Peason Ridge WMA.

Public comments can be submitted by mail to Kenny Ribbeck, LDWF Wildlife Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, or email to kribbeck@wlf.la.gov through Sept. 6, 2012.

To view the full notice of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting season, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

For more information, contact Jimmy Stafford at 225-765-2361 or jstafford@wlf.la.gov .

LWFC Approves Two New Data Collection Measures for the Recreational Harvest of Reef Fish

Release Date: 07/02/2012

July 2, 2012 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved two notices of intent regarding the recreational harvest of reef fishincluding new reporting requirements and the utilization of a free, Offshore Recreational Landings permit. 

The two new measures are the Department’s first steps in a movement towards regional management.  The Department will use this information to collect essential angler and harvest data, which will in turn provide additional liberties and flexibility for recreational fishermen.  

Current management of reef fish involves not only LDWF, but also the federal government.  Management decisions are set for the entire Gulf of Mexico, rather than specific seasons and limits for each fishery at a regional or state level.  These decisions are based upon limited data, often unavailable on a timely basis.  The notices of intent passed today by the Commission will allow data to be readily available shortly after being collected. 

The first notice of intent expands the use of the Offshore Recreational Landings Permit to include all species of amberjack, grouper, hind and snapper, with the exception of gray snapper.  The Offshore Recreational Landings Permit was ratified by the Commission earlier this year and was originally approved for tuna, billfish and swordfish.  This free permit will soon be available to the public. 

In a related action, the Commission also approved a notice of intent that modifies current reef fish regulations.  Regulations will now require reporting and validation for certain recreationally landed reef fish.  Reef fish included in the expanded reporting requirements are: red snapper, greater amberjack, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, scamp, rock hind and red hind.  The reporting requirements for reef fish would be similar to those approved for yellowfin tuna earlier this year by the Commission. 

Future modifications to reef fish regulations would allow the LDWF Secretary to close, open, reopen or reclose any reef fish season if state or federal landings allocations are met. 

Public comments on both notices of intent will be accepted until Thursday, October 4, 2012.  Comments may be submitted to Jason Adriance, Office of Fisheries, LDWF, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or via email at jadriance@wlf.la.gov.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant 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 press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

Recreational Fishing for Gray Triggerfish to Close in Louisiana Waters

Release Date: 07/02/2012

July 2, 2012 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced recreational fishing for gray triggerfish will close in Louisiana waters on July 4, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain closed until January 1, 2013.

NOAA Fisheries has determined that the recreational quota of 217,000 pounds was met, and the closure is necessary to prevent further overfishing.  NOAA Fisheries closed the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on June 11. 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at today’s meeting to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational gray triggerfish season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters.  This action ensures that regulations in state waters will be consistent with regulations for federally managed waters.

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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

L.W.F.C. Sets 2012-2013 Early Migratory Bird Hunting Seasons

Release Date: 07/02/2012

July 2, 2012 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the dates for the 2012-2013 early migratory bird hunting seasons at their July 2 meeting. These dates, recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, are tentative pending U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval.

The proposed dove season is broken down into a north and south zone with each zone having three segments and includes mourning, white-winged, Eurasian collared and ringed-turtle doves. The dove season in the south zone would go from Sept. 1-9, Oct. 13 - Nov. 25 and Dec. 22 - Jan. 7. The north zone would be from Sept. 1-16, Oct. 6 - Nov. 4 and Dec. 15 - Jan. 7. The daily bag limit for mourning, white-winged and fully dressed Eurasian collared-doves and ringed-turtle doves would be 15 in aggregate and possession of 30 in aggregate. However, there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared-doves or ringed turtle-doves provided that a fully feathered wing and head remain attached to the carcass of the bird. Fully dressed Eurasian-collared doves and ringed turtle-doves (those without a fully feathered wing and head naturally attached to the carcass) shall be included in the aggregate bag.

The following boundary divides the dove season zones: Beginning at the Texas-Louisiana border on La. Hwy. 12; thence east along La. Hwy. 12 to its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 190; thence east along U.S. Hwy. 190 to its intersection with Interstate 12; thence east along I-12 to its intersection with Interstate 10; then east along I-10 to the Mississippi state line.

Blue-winged, green-winged and cinnamon teal season would last from Sept. 15 - 30 with a daily bag limit of four (4) and a possession limit of eight (8). Federal and state waterfowl stamps are required to harvest teal.

Rail and gallinule seasons are proposed to last 70 days. The first segment would be open from Sept. 15 - 30. The other segment will be set in August with the regular waterfowl seasons. King and clapper rails would have a daily bag limit of 15 with a possession limit of 30. Sora and Virginia rails would have a daily and possession limit totaling 25. Common and purple gallinules would have a daily bag limit of 15 and possession limit totaling 30.

Under the proposal, woodcock season would last 45 days from Dec. 18 - Jan. 31, statewide. A three-bird daily bag limit and a six-bird possession limit would be allowed.

Snipe season will be set in August.

Shooting and hawking hours for dove, woodcock, rail, teal and gallinules are tentatively set for half an hour before sunrise to sunset, except for a 12 noon start time on the first day of dove season on Sept. 1, 2012.

Extended falconry mourning dove season would open from Sept. 17 - Oct. 3. Extended falconry woodcock season would open from Oct. 28 - Dec. 17 and will reopen from Feb. 1-11. The falconry daily bag limit would be three and possession limit of six birds for all permitted migratory game birds during the extended falconry and regular hunting seasons. Extended falconry seasons for ducks, rails and gallinules will be set in August with the waterfowl regulations.

Hunters are reminded that they must have a HIP permit to hunt migratory birds.  HIP permits are free and are available wherever hunting licenses are sold.

For more information, contact Jeff Duguay at 225-765-2353 or jduguay@wlf.la.gov.

Experience Fishing at Its Best at One of Louisiana’s Many Tournaments

Release Date: 06/27/2012

(June 28, 2012) -Fishing is a popular pastime, no matter the time of year, but summer brings one fantastic fishing tournament after another in Louisiana. 

We encourage all fishermen, both novice and expert, to take the plunge and enter a local contest.  The reward is meeting new fishing buddies, wining a range of prizes, and the possibility of having a new trophy on the wall. 

The Louisiana coast has long been a popular fishing destination, and some of the biggest fishing tournaments in the state are held here during the summer months. 

Tournament details and registration information are as follows:

Faux Pas Lodge Invitational

In its 14th year, the Faux Pas Lodge Invitational is fast becoming one of southeast Louisiana’s most popular rodeos to fish, with the 2011 field including over 800 anglers.  The rodeo will be held in Venice on Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28.  The tournament is comprised of four different divisions: inshore, rig, offshore and live redfish.

Registration begins July 1.  To download an application click here: http://fauxpaslodge.com/index.asp?pg=registration.

The tournament will again be joined by the Recreational Fisheries Research Institute, a non-profit conservation, research and outreach group.

For more information contact Kleo Blue at kleo@fauxpasprints.comor (504) 834-8342.

Empire South Pass Tarpon Rodeo

The Empire South Pass Tarpon Rodeo is back again this year on Thursday, July 5 through Saturday, July 7 at the Delta Marina in Empire.  The entry fee is $40.00 per angler with cash prizes issued on Saturday.

For more information contact The Delta Marina at deltamarina12@yahoo.comor (504) 657-5116.

Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo

The Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo was originally established in 1928 and is the oldest fishing tournament in the Unites States. The tournament will be held at the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo Pavilion located at the end of Highway 1 in Grand Isle. The tournament dates are Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28.

For more details and registration information visit: http://www.tarponrodeo.org/GITR/Home.html.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF. 

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.govor (225) 765-2396.

 

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Revised Agenda for LWFC July Meeting

Release Date: 06/26/2012

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday, July 2, 2012, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of June 7, 2012

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June

5.  To hear Summary of the 2012 Regular Legislative Session

6.  To receive and consider Notice of Intent for Internet Purchase of Commercial Licenses and Permits per Act 61, 2012 Regular Legislative Session

7.  To receive and consider Notices of Intent for the 2013 Spring Wild Turkey Seasons

8.  Declaration of Emergency for Early Season Migratory Bird Hunting regulations, and proposed season dates for the 2012

9.   To hear Evaluation of 3 Proposals for Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Funding

10.  To hear Presentation on Whooping Crane Public Education Campaign

11.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to revise the rules for Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permit

12.  To receive and consider a Declaration of Emergency for the Closure of the   Recreational Season for Gray Triggerfish

13.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Offshore Landing Permit Rules to Include Reef Fish Species

14.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Reef Fish Rules to Require Reporting of Recreationally Harvested Species – Red Snapper, Greater Amberjack, Shallow-Water Groupers

15.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Establish Rules for Charter Boat Fishing Guides and Operations – Liability Insurance Requirements per Act 844, 2012 Regular Legislative Session

16.  Set November 2012 Meeting Date

17.  Receive Public Comments

18.  Adjournment

 

Missing Boater’s Body Found in Lake Maurepas

Release Date: 06/26/2012

 

The deceased body of a missing boater was found on Lake Maurepas on Monday, June 25 around 8 p.m.

A passing boater found the body of Daniel Mitchell, 51, of Springfield, about 2 miles south on Lake Maurepas in Tangipahoa Parish from where his unmanned vessel was found.  The boater notified officials who then recovered Mitchell’s body.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Killian Dive Team have been searching for Mitchell since Saturday, June 23 around 5:30 p.m.

Officials responded to a report of an unmanned 18-foot lake skiff circling near the mouth of the Tickfaw River on Lake Maurepas.  After boarding the circling vessel, LDWF agents were able to match the boater’s registration to Mitchell.  A search of the area was immediately started.

Mitchell’s body was transferred to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.  Mitchell was not wearing a personal flotation device.  It is unknown at this time how Mitchell was ejected from the vessel.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

L.D.W.F. Public Education Campaign Focuses on Whooping Crane Awareness

Release Date: 06/25/2012

June 25, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is launching a multi-faceted public education campaign designed to increase public awareness of the presence of whooping cranes in the state.

The non-migratory population, currently numbering 16 cranes, has been in southwest Louisiana since 2011 and has moved beyond the boundaries of White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area where the cranes were first released.

“The department wants the public to know that this species repopulation project is underway and care should be taken if these birds are encountered,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We greatly appreciate the funding support provided by Chevron to educate the public about the work being done.”

Utilizing a grant provided by Chevron, LDWF will distribute a teaching module recently developed that specifically addresses this new non-migratory flock of whooping cranes. Eight engaging, GLE- aligned lessons covering topics such as taxonomy, bird reproduction, ecosystems, adaptation, and endangered species will be distributed to Louisiana educators via day-long workshops to be held at four locations throughout the state. Geared toward teachers of middle and high school students and informal educators, these workshops will explain the complexities and challenges of the reintroduction program, demonstrate the new classroom lesson activities, and engage participants in field work related to habitat identification using GPS units.

“Chevron is pleased to partner with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,” said Warner Williams, Chevron North America Gulf of Mexico Vice President. “We recognize the important role education plays in protecting the rich biodiversity of Louisiana for future generations to enjoy.”

Workshop participants will receive a $75 stipend, a handheld GPS unit for classroom use, the lesson series, and other related items. The first workshop will be held at LDWF’s White Lake facility south of Gueydan on August 2, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration information can be found on the website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec  or by contacting Venise Ortego at vortego@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF’s public awareness efforts will include billboards and radio announcements that alert citizens that the cranes are here and the public has a role in helping the department restore a Louisiana treasure.

Additionally, the Chevron funds cover the costs of tracking devices that provide biologists data on the cranes’ location several times per day. This information tells biologists what types of habitat the cranes are using throughout the day and provides the opportunity for observations of individual birds to assess their health and well-being.  

The whooping cranes now in the state were raised at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and transported to Vermilion Parish.  Movement of the birds has been traced to Avoyelles, West Feliciana, Evangeline, Allen, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, St. Martin, Iberia, Cameron and Vermilion parishes in the months since their arrival. The two groups of birds delivered in 2011 will be supplemented by additional deliveries over the next several years.

The whooping crane is protected under the federal Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts and by state law. Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance to avoid disturbing it.

The species is large-bodied and adults are white with black wing tips, similar to white ibis, white pelicans and wood storks, all of which must be distinguished from the much smaller and legally-hunted snow geese.  Mature whooping cranes are easily identifiable as they stand five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet. Characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving 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.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 

For more information on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov; or contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-7292. News media outlets interested in visiting the White Lake WCA facility can contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115. For photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

LASS Breaks Records in Delacroix

Release Date: 06/25/2012

Brothers Kyle and Kevin Lawrence of Gonzales took home first place with a two-fish total weight of 17.25 pounds.

(June 25, 2012) - Despite high winds and water, the Louisiana Saltwater Series broke records this weekend, with the largest participation in tournament history with 66 registered boats. 

Taking home first place were brothers Kyle and Kevin Lawrence, who are no strangers to the LASS and have been with the tournament since its inception. 

“We found three ponds that we liked that held good fish and good water, and hit those three on Saturday,” explained Kyle.  “We hit the best pond that morning and caught the big fish before 7:30 a.m.  We struggled a little during the day to get the next big fish onboard the boat.  Around 1:00 p.m., after a few tense moments of chasing our second fish around the boat, we got it in the net and onto the measuring board.”

One of the tournament’s primary objectives is to tag fish to collect scientific data.  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff successfully tagged 140 fish at Saturday’s tournament, bringing the grand total of fish tagged during the 2012 redfish series to 554.

The top finishing teams, taking home over $12,000 in cash and prizes, include: 2nd place, Sean O’Connell and Joshua Romig; 3rd place, Bobby Monsted and Aaron Gelfand; 4th place, Britt Ordes and Steve Wicks; 5th place, Scott Ritter and Bobby Abruscato; 6th place, Tripp Dargie and Shannon Thomas; 7th place, Michael McElveen and Rob Folsom; 8th place, Ray Reiser and Larry Kirby; 9th place, Kris Robert and Benny Sanchez; and 10th place, Skip Floyd and Joey Babineaux; 11th place, Miles LaRose and Damian Mason; 12th place, Kyle Rodrigue and Jeremy Mouch; 13th place Tony Grose and Christine May.   The team of James H. Craft and James T. Craft brought in the lightest stringer, weighing 5.09 pounds, earning them a $260 prize. 

Ben Bird took home first place in the tournament’s youth division.

For redfish tournaments, teams may consist of one, two, three or four members.  For teams consisting of three or more members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  There is a $200 entry fee per team for each event.  There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered. 

The next redfish tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 14 in Slidell at Rigolets Marina.  For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com.

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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov(225) 765-2396.

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Agenda for Commission Meeting

Release Date: 06/25/2012

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday, July 2, 2012, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of June 7, 2012

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June

5.   To receive and consider Notices of Intent for the 2013 Spring Wild Turkey Seasons

6.   Declaration of Emergency for Early Season Migratory Bird Hunting regulations, and proposed season dates the 2012 waterfowl season

7.  To hear Evaluation of 3 Proposals for Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Funding

8.  To hear Presentation on Whooping Crane Public Education Campaign

9.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to revise the rules for Calcasieu Lake Oyster  Harvester Permit

10. To receive and consider a Declaration of Emergency for the Closure of the Recreational Season for Gray Triggerfish

11. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Offshore Landing Permit Rules to Include Reef Fish Species

12. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Reef Fish Rules to Require Reporting of Recreationally Harvested Species – Red Snapper, Greater Amberjack, Shallow-Water Groupers

13. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Establish Rules for Charter Boat Fishing Guides and Operations – Liability Insurance Requirements per Act 844, 2012 Regular Legislative Session

14.  Set November 2012 Meeting Date

15.  Receive Public Comments

16.   Adjournment

 

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