Enforcement

Three Louisiana Residents Cited for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/27/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Louisianans for alleged deer hunting violations on Jan. 24 in Tangipahoa Parish.

Agents cited Brandon McElveen, 27, of Mt. Hermon, Todd Sigrist, 47, of Kentwood, and Rainey Thibodeaux, 33, of Kentwood, for hunting without basic hunting and big game licenses, no possession of deer tags, taking deer using illegal methods, taking over the daily limit of deer and possession of illegally taken deer.  McElveen and Sigrist were also cited for taking deer during illegal hours, hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting from a public road and taking over the yearly limit of deer.

Agents additionally cited McElveen for discharging a firearm from a public road.  Sigrist was additionally cited for illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, driving under suspension and possession of untagged deer.  Thibodeaux was also cited for not wearing the required amount of hunters orange clothing.

Agents seized 11 deer and two rifles in the case.

From Jan. 13 to Jan. 23 agents received many public tips about night hunting activities taking place in the Kentwood Springs Creek area.  After setting up surveillance in the area and investigating the complaints further, agents learned that it might be Sigrist who was night hunting.

Agents went to Sigrist’s residence on Jan. 24 and saw a freshly killed deer hanging from a tree in the yard in plain view.  After talking to some family members, agents received permission to look around in the yard.  After a brief search, agents found six ice chests with 10 deer quartered up inside.  When Sigrist arrived home, agents questioned him about illegal night hunting activities in the area.  Sigrist said he was present when the deer were taken illegally during the past 10 days by Thibodeaux and McElveen.

Thibodeaux admitted to taking her deer during legal shooting hours, but using a rifle below the required .22 caliber center fire requirement.  McElveen also admitted to killing seven deer at night during illegal shooting hours from a public road.  None of the subjects possessed deer tags, basic hunting or big game licenses.

Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years in jail.  Driving while under suspension brings up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Taking deer during illegal hours carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of illegally taken deer brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days of jail.  Taking deer using illegal methods, taking over the daily and yearly limits of deer, possession of untagged deer and hunting from a moving vehicle each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Not possessing deer tags, discharging a firearm from a public road and taking deer from a public road each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without basic hunting and big game licenses and not wearing the required amount of hunters orange each brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

The three subjects may also face up to $17,870 in civil restitution charges for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. Cullen Sellers, Sgt. Toby Miller and Senior Agent Lee Davis.

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

Port Sulphur Man Pleads Guilty To Oyster Fishing Violations

Release Date: 01/23/2015

A Port Sulphur pleaded guilty on Jan. 22 in Plaquemines Parish to commercial fishing violations.

Nelson C. Williams III, 39 pleaded guilty for taking commercial fish without a commercial license, taking commercial fish without a vessel license, taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms, violations of the states sanitation code and a third offense of taking oysters from an unapproved area.

Judge Kevin Conner with the 25th Judicial District sentenced Williams to pay a fine of $2,799 including court costs and 210 days of jail suspended.  He also sentenced Williams to 40 hours of community service in a parish litter abatement program, revoked his 2015 commercial oyster licenses and that he have a vessel monitoring system installed on any vessel he harvests oysters for period of one year.

The guilty plea stems from an incident that occurred on Feb. 8, 2014 when Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents found Williams harvesting oysters in an area closed to pollution near Port Sulphur.  Upon further investigation Williams had no licenses for that year and also had not filled out his log book as required by law.

Jerry Lobrano with the District Attorney Charles Ballay’s office prosecuted the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio.

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

Two Louisiana Men Cited for Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 01/23/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two Louisiana men for alleged migratory game bird violations on Jan. 18 in Acadia Parish.

Agents cited Matthew Castile, 34, of Lafayette, and Jeremy Soileau, 32, of Ville Platte, for over the limit of ducks, wanton waste of migratory game birds and failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) regulations.

Agents observed Castile and Soileau hunting from a pirogue on Bayou Mallet and Agents saw Castile exit the pirogue from the Bayou just before Hwy. 98 with a large stringer full of ducks and hide them behind a tree.  Castile and Soileau carried their pirogue up the bank to Castile's truck with another load of ducks.

Agents made contact with Castile and Soileau and were able to retrieve the hidden ducks.  Agents found the men with a total of 46 ducks consisting of 26 teal, 11 wood ducks, eight mallards and one pintail.  The men also didn’t possess a PFD in the pirogue.  The legal limit of ducks is six in aggregate per person per day making the men 34 ducks over the limit.

Taking or possessing over the limit of ducks and wanton waste each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Failing to comply with PFD regulations brings up to a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in this case are Sgt. Keith Dellahoussaye, Senior Agent Donald Murray, Senior Agent Derek Logan and Senior Agent Jason Stagg.

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

Agents Cite 15 Louisiana Residents For Duck Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/22/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited 15 Louisiana residents for alleged duck hunting violations on Jan. 17 in Acadia Parish.

Agents cited Blake Zaunbrecher, 22, John Gates, 17, Mason Menard, 26, Jordan Comeaux, 23, Millard Conques, 19, Caleb Robichaux, 18, Martin Dischler, 37, and Drake Conques, 22, all of Rayne; Bryce Credeur, 17, and James Richard, 17, both of Crowley; Brantley Yeager, 29, and Reese Besse, 18, both of Church Point; and Dustin Reiners, 18, of Branch, with wanton waste of migratory game birds.

Thomas Garrett III, 55, of Rayne, was cited with using lead shot in an area designated as steel shot.  Scott Johnson, 53, of Rayne, was cited with hunting without a state duck license and a federal duck stamp.  Martin Dischler was also cited for contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.  Caleb Robichaux was also cited for hunting without a resident hunting license, state duck license and a federal stamp.

Agents received a tip on Jan. 16 about a large group of people hunting at the Rayne sewer plant with the possibility of over the limit of ducks occurring the next day.

On Jan. 17, agents watched as the hunters surrounded a large pond inside of the fenced in plant and observed the men shoot at ducks in the pond.  After the hunt was over, agents observed all but one of the hunters leave the hunting area and return to their vehicles and begin to leave the area.  Agents approached the hunters and checked them for hunting regulation compliance.  Agents discovered that Robichaux and Johnson did not have the proper licenses to hunt ducks and that Garrett was using lead shot to hunt ducks.

Agents then went to the pond and discovered several ducks and coots left out on the banks and in the water of the pond.  Agents seized a total of 89 ducks and 72 coots.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Keith Delahouyasse, Sgt. David Sanford, Senior Agent Buddy Murray, Senior Agent Jason Stagg and Senior Agent Justin Lowry.

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

LDWF Agents Arrest Two Men For Night Hunting And Narcotic Violations

Release Date: 01/22/2015

Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Agents arrested two men for alleged night hunting activity and narcotic violations on Jan. 18 in Morehouse Parish.

Agents arrested Timothy Woodard, 38, and Randall Simmons, 43, both of Bastrop, for hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours, possession methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Agents were investigating illegal night hunting activity in agricultural wheat fields in the area of Viney Woods Road and Fluker Road when they observed Woodard and Simmons actively night hunting with artificial light.  After making contact, agents located a readily accessible rifle and methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.  The men were taken into custody and transported to Morehouse Parish Jail.

Hunting wild game quadrupeds with an artificial light brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Possession of methamphetamine brings up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail.  Possession of drug paraphernalia carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Josh Estis, Sgt. James Hagan, Senior Agent Wendell Weeks and Senior Agent Ray Ellerbe.

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

Bowfishing Guide Cited For Commercial Fishing Violations

Release Date: 01/22/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Gretna man for alleged charter guide fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Blake A. Mitchell, 29, for not having charter guide licenses, not having proof of adequate liability insurance on his vessel and not having proof of registration on his vessel.

Agents received complaints of illegal guiding practices in the area of Port Sulphur located in Plaquemines Parish. When Mitchell arrived back at the boat launch with saltwater finfish that were taken by means of bow the customers were interviewed at which point they stated the agreed upon price for the trip was $200 per person.

Agents learned that Mitchell purchased his 2015 charter guide license online moments after he completed a for hire trip when he saw an LDWF agent approaching him.  He was also cited for not having proof of liability insurance for the vessel in use and not having the boat registration in possession.

Not possessing a charter guide license and having proof of liability insurance each carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Not having registration in possession brings a $50 fine.

Agents placed a forfeiture order on Mitchell’s truck and airboat until disposition of case.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Adam Young and Agent Travis Bartlett.

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

Tallulah Man Arrested for Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested a Madison Parish man for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 25, 2014 in East Carroll Parish.

After observing David Bolton, age 41, of Tallulah, hunting at night in East Carrol Parish on Dec. 25, agents arrested him for possession of firearms by a convicted felon, hunting deer during illegal hours, and hunting from a public road and moving vehicle.

Bolton was arrested for similar hunting violations in December of 2013 and his hunting privileges were suspended for two years.

While in custody at the East Carrol Parish jail, Bolton admitted to agents that he took up to 15 deer since Nov. 18, 2014 in Madison Parish.  At least six of the deer were sold locally.  In addition to deer, Bolton was also found to have killed and sold migratory birds.

Bolton faces the following charges in Madison Parish: hunting without a license, felon in possession of a firearm, illegally taken deer, failing to comply with tagging requirements, selling deer, hunting deer during illegal hours, selling migratory birds and criminal trespassing.  He was also cited for violating interstate commerce regulations for bringing an illegally taken deer across state lines.

As a result of the investigation and Bolton’s testimony, agents cited eight additional subjects for buying or selling deer meat.  A total of 59 citations were issued with additional charges pending further investigation.

Possession of a firearm by a felon is a felony and carries a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and 10 to 20 years in jail.  Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Selling deer brings a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Selling migratory birds carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting deer from a moving vehicle, using illegal methods brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Hunting from a public, failing to comply with tagging requirements road brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Criminal trespassing carries a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Hunting without a license brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

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

$10,000 Reward Offered for Information on Shooting of Endangered Whooping Crane in Vermilion Parish

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are looking for leads regarding an endangered whooping crane that was found shot in Vermilion Parish.

The crane was found just south of Zaunbrecher Road and north of Gueydan on Nov. 2 with an apparent bullet wound to her upper left leg. The bird was transported to the LSU Vet School where she was euthanized on Nov. 3. A necropsy result received on Jan. 8 confirmed that the crane was shot in the leg.

Up to $10,000 is being offered by various groups for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of this whooping crane. LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are each offering a reward of $1,000; The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering up to $5,000; and the department secured $3,000 from anonymous donors.

“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population to its historic levels in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “These cranes were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see them thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”

Julia Breaux, Louisiana state director for The HSUS, said: “Killing a whooping crane is a serious crime. We are grateful to LDWF Enforcement Division agents for their critical work to stop the poaching of these birds, which undermines the agency’s efforts to restore and protect whooping cranes in Louisiana.  We urge anyone with information to step forward so the offender may be brought to justice.”

Anyone with information regarding this illegal killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF’s tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, residents can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge. The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day. Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

LDWF has released 64 whooping cranes since 2011 and are currently tracking 40 whooping cranes.  The crane in this case had been released in January of 2014 and represents the sixth whooping crane found shot since the birds were released.

The re-introduced 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 re-introduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, the International Crane Foundation 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 protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.

Historically, both resident and migratory populations of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s. Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north. Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America. The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

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

Joint Enforcement Agreement Patrol Leads To Recrerational Fishing Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Jan. 17.

Agents cited Mot Truong, 36, for taking red snapper during a closed season, taking over the limit of red snapper, taking undersized red snapper, taking undersized grey triggerfish and taking over the limit of grey triggerfish.

Agents came into contact with Truong while on a Joint Enforcement Agreement Patrol (JEA) seven miles offshore in state territorial waters tied to an oil rig in his vessel.  Truong was observed fishing on the back deck of the vessel and was stopped and inspected.

When agents boarded the vessel, Truong was in possession of 50 red snapper and 29 grey triggerfish.  Of the 50 red snapper, 28 were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches and he exceeded the daily bag limit of two fish by 48 if the season was open.  He also exceeded his limit on grey triggerfish by nine and 16 were under the prescribed size limit of 14 inches.

Taking red snapper during a closed season carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days of jail.  Taking over the limit of red snapper and grey triggerfish and taking undersized red snapper and grey triggerfish each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Truong also faces a civil restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish in the amount of $1,468.58.

The red snapper season closed in state waters on Dec. 31, 2014.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Lt. Scot Keller and Agent Travis Bartlett.

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

Three Cited For Taking Oysters From A Polluted Area In Lafourche Parish

Release Date: 01/20/2015

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited three Golden Meadow residents for alleged oyster fishing violations near Bayou Blue located in Lafourche Parish on Jan. 17.

Senior Agent Thomas Wolf was responding to a complaint of harvesting oysters from an unapproved polluted area when he spotted a vessel harvesting oysters from the unapproved area.  After stopping the vessel, Wolf cited John Mejia, 50, Talasha C. Nelson, 34, and Jeffrey L. Shepard, 58, for harvesting oysters from an unapproved polluted area.

Wolf seized and returned four sacks of oysters to the water.  He also seized the dredges and vessel.

Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The subjects could also forfeit any seized equipment if convicted.

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

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