Enforcement

Two Montegut Men Arrested for Shrimp and Boating Violations

Release Date: 09/28/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested and cited two men for alleged fishing and boating safety violations on the Pointe-Aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Sept. 26.

Agents cited Lance Billiot, 31, and Armando Brunett, 25, both of Montegut, for blocking passages of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear.  Armando Brunett was also cited for not possessing a boat registration certificate, no running lights, failure to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements and no fire extinguisher.

While on patrol on the Pointe-Aux-Chenes WMA and Island Road, agents witnessed a net tied to the bridge just below the surface of the water in front of the water control structure blocking the waterway.  Agents set up surveillance on the net.

A short time later, agents observed two subjects pick up the net from a vessel without lights.  Agents stopped the men and found them to be in possession of the net, which contained 27 pounds of shrimp caught illegally.  Agents placed the men under arrest and booked them into the Terrebonne Parish Correctional Facility.

Blocking the passage of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear carries a fine from $250 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to be in possession of a boat registration certificate, no running lights, no fire extinguisher and failing to comply with PFD requirements carry a $50 fine and up 15 days in jail for each offense.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Nick Guillory and Senior Agent Michael Marques.

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

Authorities Find Body of Missing Boater on Ouachita River

Release Date: 09/22/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found the body of Charles Trascher, 64, of Monroe, on the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish this morning, Sept. 22.

Trascher was reported missing shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 when he did not return home from a fishing trip according to his family.  Authorities recovered Trascher’s 17-foot aluminum vessel in the Ouachita River near West Monroe during the evening hours of Sept. 20. 

Agents and deputies searched for Trascher throughout the night of Sept. 20 and all day Sept. 21.  Trascher's body was found without a personal flotation device around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 about one mile south from where his vessel was recovered.

LDWF had two sonar units on scene to assist in the search.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

*Amended* Authorities Searching for Missing Boater on Ouachita River

Release Date: 09/21/2012

*Amended*

Search and rescue crews are currently searching for a missing boater on the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for Charles Trascher, 64, of Monroe, who was reported missing shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 20.

According to family, Trascher never returned home yesterday from a fishing trip.  Authorities recovered Trascher’s 17-foot aluminum vessel in the Ouachita River near West Monroe last night, Sept. 20, and searched throughout the night.

LDWF will have two sonar units on scene today to assist in the search.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

Three Avoyelles Men Cited for Wildlife Violations

Release Date: 09/21/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Avoyelles Parish men for alleged wildlife violations on Sept. 14 in Avoyelles Parish.

Agents cited Kristopher A. Dugas, 21, of Marksville, and Eric M. Dauzat, 25, of Hessmer, for allegedly taking a six-point buck during a closed season, during illegal hours with artificial light, hunting from a public road and moving vehicle, without basic and big game licenses, and possession of an illegally taken deer.  Kristopher Dugas was also cited for taking deer with an illegal firearm.

Agents also cited Terry A Ducote Jr., 42, of Hessmer, for possession of the illegally taken deer and illegal possession of an alligator.

An LDWF agent received information that Dauzat and Kristopher Dugas killed a buck at night during the month of August.  During questioning, Dauzat admitted that he and Kristopher Dugas killed the buck at around 12:28 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 21 in the Fifth Ward community with a .17 caliber rifle.

The deer’s six-point head still in velvet was at the residence of Terry Ducote Jr.  When the agents went to Terry Ducote’s residence to take possession of the head, they also found an untagged alligator tail.

Taking deer during a closed season and during illegal hours brings a fine of $900 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Possession of an illegally taken deer carries a fine of $400 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road and taking a deer with an illegal firearm brings a fine of $100 to $350 or up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a fine of $250 to $500 or up to 90 days in jail.  Hunting without basic and big game licenses brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail for each offense.

Illegal possession of an alligator carries a fine of $400 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail.

Kristopher Dugas and Dauzat may also be held responsible for restitution in the amount of $1,624 for the illegally taken deer.  Terry Ducote may also be held responsible for restitution in the amount of $375.80 for the illegally taken alligator.

The deer and alligator tail were seized and donated to charity.

Agent participating in the case are Sgt. Gabe Guidry, Senior Agent John Volentine, and Senior Agent Doug Anderson Jr.

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

LDWF Agents Seize 51 Teal on Catahoula Lake

Release Date: 09/17/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited eight men for allegedly possessing over the limit of migratory game birds on Catahoula Lake in LaSalle Parish on Sept. 15 and 16.

Agents were on patrol on Catahoula Lake on Sept. 15 when they came in contact with four men that were leaving their hunting area.  During a license and limit inspection, agents found the men in possession of 28 teal, which put them 12 over the limit.  The men stated they were unaware of the four teal per person per day possession limit.

John P. Randall, 28, of Urania, Jereme B. Johnson, 27, of Ruston, Clint L. Cooksey, 27, of Jena, and Steven C. Douglas, 28, of Olla were issued state citations for possessing over the limit of migratory game birds.

On Sept. 16 on Catahoula Lake agents came in contact with four more men that were leaving their hunting area.  Agents again performed a license and limit inspection and found them in possession of 23 teal, which put them seven over the limit.

Casey M. Deville, 17, of Lecompte, Dusty D. Ducote, 18, of Alexandria, Austin G. Linzay, 18, of Lecompte, and Brandon L. Simmons, 21, of Marksville, were issued citations for possessing over the limit of migratory game birds. 

Agents seized the 51 teal from the eight men and donated them to charity.

Violating state migratory waterfowl violations brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agents Troy Mayo and Joey Merrill.

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

LDWF Enforcement Division Wins National Boating Award

Release Date: 09/13/2012

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division received the 2012 Compass Award at the National Association of Safe Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) annual conference from Sept. 8 to 12 in Mobile, Ala.

LDWF received the award for becoming the first agency in the United States to earn national accreditation in the Boat Operations and Training (BOAT) program administered by NASBLA and for continuing to set an example in leadership for its boating safety and waterway enforcement program.

NASBLA is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety.  NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories.

According to NASBLA.org, the Compass Award is a means of recognizing a NASBLA member agency for significant measures and leadership it has taken to develop a model of performance in a specific area.  Receipt of this award identifies an agency whose program, effort, or initiative has truly enhanced the nation’s safety and security and one that has become a model for all to follow.

“Winning this award is a great achievement for our agency and acknowledges all of the hard work we put in to making Louisiana’s waterways safer for everyone to enjoy,” said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, Louisiana’s State Boating Law Administrator.  “We feel that this new training program will allow our agency to train with others more efficiently, which will provide a great public safety services on our states waterways.”

The BOAT program establishes a national standard for the training and qualification of maritime law enforcement and rescue personnel.  Adoption and implementation of the BOAT program provides a true national standard for the purpose of maritime interoperability at the federal, state and local levels.  Standardization ensures maritime agencies can interact together and will bolster their ability to act as force multipliers nationwide.

The LDWF Enforcement Division is the first agency to implement the BOAT standard in all aspects of operations and training including cadet training at the academy level and training of partners throughout the state across all jurisdictions.  The BOAT program will enhance LDWF's training plans in the areas of basic crewmember, boat operator for search and rescue and tactical operations.

The LDWF Enforcement Division is an active participant in Louisiana's Homeland Security Plan and represents the state in waterborne emergencies.  Through the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, LDWF is the lead agency for search and rescue operations and maritime security.

As members of the Governor's Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Area Maritime Security Executive Steering Committee and all major port security committees within the state, LDWF Law Enforcement Division agents frequently respond to requests to deploy LDWF marine resources for security concerns.

The LDWF Enforcement Division's specialized training and equipment and its ability to operate throughout the state's vast maze of waterways and wild areas has complemented Louisiana's ability to respond to emergencies on the water.

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

LDWF Agents Conclude Three Year Illegal Fish Sales Investigation

Release Date: 09/10/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Bridge City man on Sept. 9 for alleged commercial finfish violations.

Agents arrested and cited Yoan C. Hernandez, 26, of Bridge City after agents concluded a three year investigation into the illegal sale of red snapper.  Undercover agents with the department’s Special Investigation Unit bought a total of 655 pounds of illegal red snapper from Hernandez.

Agents cited Hernandez for six counts of violating individual reef fish quota allotment, three counts of selling fish without a wholesale/retail dealer permit, three counts of failing to maintain records, three counts of failing to fill out trip tickets and three counts of failing to report commercial fisheries data.

Violating individual reef fish quotas carries a fine up to $350 and up to 60 days in jail for each count.  Selling fish without a wholesale/retail dealer permit, failing to maintain records, failing to complete trip tickets and failing to report commercial fisheries data brings up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense and count.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, Sgt. Tim Fox, and Senior Agents Mitch Saunders, Jared Taylor, and Villere Reggio.

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

Three Men Charged with Hunting Violations

Release Date: 08/24/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged hunting violations on Aug. 16 in Red River Parish.

Agents cited Tyler Goodwin, 21, of Ringgold, David Beard, 20, of Coushatta, and Jordan Northcutt, 22, of Hall Summit for hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public road and hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours.

Agents received an Operation Game Thief complaint concerning these three men.  The landowner witnessed them shining a spotlight on his property.  LDWF agents responded and caught up with their vehicle as they turned into a residence.

Agents found the men in possession of a .223 and .22 rifle and a freshly harvested rabbit.

The penalty for each offense brings a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

If someone witnesses or has information concerning a violation, they should call Operation Game Thief's toll-free 24-hour phone line or use the department's tip411 program.  The toll free number is 1-800-442-2511.

To use the tip411 program, tipsters 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.  Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

The information is received by a Wildlife and Fisheries operator and immediately relayed to a wildlife agent who will investigate. If the information results in an arrest, the caller is eligible for a cash reward.

Since the program began, more than $280,000 in rewards has been paid. Information provided by OGT informants has resulted in the apprehension of more than 700 violators who were convicted on a multitude of state and federal charges.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Charles Dison and Senior Agent John Blalock.

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

Poachers Busted by Tip from Operation Game Thief

Release Date: 08/23/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five men on alleged poaching violations in St. Charles Parish on Aug. 18.

Agents received a complaint from their Operation Game Thief (OGT) program of individuals cleaning freshly harvested migratory game birds and rabbits in their back yard.  The agents responded quickly to the residence where they made contact with the alleged suspects still cleaning the game.

Agents cited Rico Hernandez, 45, of Bridge City, Yoan Hernandez-Casanova, 27, of Bridge City, Juan Munoz, 25, of Metairie, Miguel Farradas, 33, of Davie, Fla., and Yandry Almeida, 27, of Cutler Bay, Fla., for violating state migratory game bird regulations and possessing rabbits during a closed season.

The agents seized six whistling ducks and eight rabbits taken out of season. Agents also seized three guns which were in the possession of the suspects and believed to be used to illegally take the game.

State violations of migratory game bird regulations brings a fine between $400 and $950 and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of rabbits during a closed season carries a fine between $250 and $500 and up to 90 days in jail.  If convicted, the men also face civil restitution in the amount of $413.34.

If someone witnesses or has information concerning a violation, they should call Operation Game Thief's toll-free 24-hour phone line or use the department's tip411 program.  The toll free number is 1-800-442-2511.

To use the tip411 program, tipsters 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.  Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.  Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.

The information is received by a Wildlife and Fisheries operator and immediately relayed to a wildlife agent who will investigate. If the information results in an arrest, the caller is eligible for a cash reward. 

Since the program began, more than $280,000 in rewards has been paid. Information provided by OGT informants has resulted in the apprehension of more than 700 violators who were convicted on a multitude of state and federal charges.

Agents participating in the case were Senior Agent Austin Arteaga, Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, and St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Grimaldi.

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

Alligator Violations on the Rise in Louisiana

Release Date: 08/22/2012

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division has seen a steady rise in alligator violations since 2009.

According to LDWF violation statistics, Enforcement Division agents have issued 98 alligator related violations in 2012 already.  LDWF issued 60 total alligator related citations in 2007 and 2008, 69 in 2009 and 2010, and 80 in 2011.

“The increase of alligator citations is of concern and the department is doing their best to catch these violators,” said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.

The popularity in outdoor reality TV shows seems to be one of the reasons why there have been more alligator violations in the last couple of years.

“In some of our cases the subjects have admitted to watching a reality TV show and then wanting to replicate what they watched,” said Col. Vidrine.  “While these shows offer a high level of entertainment, they do not offer a lot of information on how to legally harvest an alligator.”

The majority of the alligator violations are classified as possession of an alligator during a closed season, failing to possess a license and possession of an alligator without a license.  Also, most of the increases in violations are occurring in the Saint Mary, Saint Martin, Assumption, Saint James, Saint John, LaFourche and Terrebonne parishes going from two violations in 2010 to 42 violations so far in 2012.   For illegally possessing an alligator, poachers can get up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for the first offense.

LDWF issues alligator harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest.  A resident alligator hunter must either own this approved land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags.  Alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the season.  To apply for tags, hunters must submit an application prior to the season found at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting.

The alligator season is split into an east zone that runs from the last Wednesday of August for 30 days and the west zone that goes from the first Wednesday of September for 30 days.  A resident alligator hunting license costs $25.

“With the upcoming opening of alligator season, hunters are reminded to utilize their tags only on the approved property and that all alligators caught on their lines must be harvested and immediately tagged,” said Noel Kinler, LDWF’s alligator program manager.

Currently there are an estimated 1.5 million alligators in Louisiana.  Since 1972, over 870,000 wild alligators have been harvested.

“The department’s Alligator Program has been very successful in managing the alligator resource from near extinction to a healthy sustainable population,” said Col. Vidrine.  “These regulations are put in place for a reason and have worked for over 40 years since their inception in 1972.”

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.  A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags.  An alligator sport hunter license cost is $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes.  These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal governmental agencies.  Methods in which alligator hunters are chosen for these areas include bidding and lotteries.

The lottery alligator harvest program provides the opportunity for over 300 resident alligator hunters to harvest approximately 800 alligators on almost 40 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA)/public lakes located throughout the state.

Lottery alligator harvest applications become available mid to late May of each year and lists all available WMAs/public lakes.  For more information on LDWF’s Alligator Program, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-program.

Anyone wanting to report alligator violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, citizens can anonymously 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, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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