Fishing

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17 Men Plead Guilty To Shrimp Violations On Sabine N.W.R.

Release Date: 08/31/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division's Special Operations Unit in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) federally charged 17 individuals on May 6 for shrimp violations on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Cameron Parish.

USFWS agents served notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate in Lake Charles to Lee Allen Greene, 29, Jimmy Constance Jr., 48, Jimmy Constance III, 29, and Gary Fountaine Jr., 34, all of Hackberry; Dustin Craig Moore, 18, Joseph Harrison Mott Jr., 40, Joseph Eugene McManus, 38, Billy Joe Meche, 32, Kenneth Erick Meche, 39, Brandon Joseph Breaux, 29, James Michael Williams, 22, Clint Lee Mott, 26, Shannon Kyle Fuselier, 46, John Joseph McKay Jr., 42, Kenny Edward Kellum Jr., 30, and David Wayne Brooks, 57, all of Sulphur; and Steven Hollie, 50, of Starks.

LDWF undercover agents initiated the investigation in September, 2009 after receiving numerous complaints from commercial and recreational fishermen of individuals catching large amounts of shrimp with cast nets on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge and selling the catch commercially. The Sabine NWR has a limit of one five-gallon bucket of shrimp per vehicle or vessel and the commercialization of the shrimp is prohibited.

LDWF undercover agents observed the suspects catching over the legal limit of shrimp and they were then able to conduct an operation designed to purchase the illegal shrimp from the suspects both on and off of the refuge. LDWF undercover agents purchased in excess of 550 pounds of shrimp from the suspects during the investigation.

The suspects were served with notices to appear before the U.S. Magistrate for illegal commercialization on a federal refuge, possessing over the limit of shrimp, failure to maintain custody of shrimp and trespassing.

At an arraignment in Lake Charles Federal District Court on May 27, 2010, the following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: Joseph McManus was fined $1,180 and banned from the refuge for two years; Dustin Moore was fined $520; Kenneth Meche was fined $520; Kenny Kellum Jr. $360; Lee Allen Greene was sentenced to 10 days in the Cameron Parish Jail; James Williams was fined $560; David Brooks was fined $575; Jimmy Constance lll was fined $1,805 and banned from entering any NWR for three years; Joseph Mott ll was fined $1,370 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Gary Fountain Jr. was fined $670 and banned from entering any NWR for five years; Shanon Fuselier was fined $2,775, banned from entering any NWR for five years and placed on supervised probation for one year; and Jimmy Constance Jr. was fined $1,170.

Due to pre-sentencing investigations, sentencing and trial were held in Lake Charles Federal District Court on Aug. 19. The following pled guilty to shrimp violations and were given the following penalties: John McCay Jr. was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is banned from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $870; Billy Joe Meche was sentenced to five years unsupervised probation at which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities and fined $895; Steven Hollie was fined $2,420 and placed on unsupervised probation for one year, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities; Clint Mott was fined $3,730 and placed on unsupervised probation for 13 months, during which time he is prohibited from entering any NWR or participating in any hunting or fishing activities.

Brandon “BJ” Breaux will be sentenced on Oct. 21, 2010.

In addition to the undercover LDWF agents the following federal refuge agents participated in the case, John Branum, Brad Rabalais, Scotty Boudreaux and Sidney Charbonnet.

For more information, contact Capt. Cliff Comeaux of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at 225-765-2980 or cjcomeaux@wlf.la.gov.

2010-E50

Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board to Meet

Release Date: 08/26/2010

The Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit Appeals Board will meet on Friday, August 27, 2010. The meeting will convene at 10:30 a.m. in Suite 200 of the University of New Orleans Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.

Agenda items for the meeting of the Public Oyster Seed Ground

Vessel Permit Appeals Board are as follows:
1. Approval of Minutes From July 27, 2010 Meeting
2. Hearing of Previously-Deferred Appeals
 a. Donald Joost
 b. Tonci Gabre
 c. Lawrence Peterson
3. Set next meeting date
4. Adjourn

This Board was established by Act 922 of the 2008 Regular Legislative Session for the purpose of hearing appeals of vessel permit denials by LDWF. Act 922 requires that anyone commercially harvesting oysters on the public oyster seed grounds and reservations, except Calcasieu Lake and Sabine Lake, must do so from a vessel holding a public oyster seed ground vessel permit issued by LDWF and no new applications for such vessel permits shall be accepted after December 31, 2009.

For more information, please contact Ty Lindsey at 225-765-2387 or tlindsey@wlf.la.gov.

2010-255

JEFFERSON PARISH MEN CITED FOR OVERLIMIT BASS

Release Date: 08/25/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited two Jefferson parish men on Aug. 21 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of bass in St. Charles Parish.

The agents were conducting surveillance near Lake Cataouatche in St. Charles Parish when they observed Elvin J. Rome, 53, of Marrero, and Richard Doucet, 52, of Westwego, rapidly catching fish. The agents continued surveillance until the subjects stopped fishing and followed them to a camp.

When the agents contacted the subjects, they discovered 92 black bass in their possession. The daily limit for largemouth bass is 10 per person.

The penalty for over the limit of black bass is a fine up to $350, or jail time up to 30 days, or both plus court costs. A court order restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case. The fish were seized and later donated to a local charity.

Agents involved in the investigation were Sgt. Ray Champagne, Senior Agent Tim Fox and Agent Terry Hicks.

For more information, contact Capt. Stephen McManus at 504-284-2023 or smcmanus@wlf.la.gov.
2010-E49  

Buckhorn

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
11,262 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
318-343-4044
Map: 

Overview:

Size, Location and History

Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area consists of 11,262 acres located 14 miles west of St. Joseph, La. Major access routes to Buckhorn WMA are Louisiana Highways 4, and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. The majority of the area, approximately 8,900 acres, was purchased by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries around 1995. Between 2001 and 2003, approximately 2,362 acres of cultivated farmland were added to the WMA. The majority of this acquisition has been reforested with a portion managed as wetlands.  

Description of Landscape:

The topography is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet M.S.L. Six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes, approximately 200 acres, are located on Buckhorn WMA and all are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River. All of these lakes and bayous receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.

The predominant tree species are willow oak, Nuttall oak, water oak, sweetgum, green ash, persimmon, sugarberry, honey locust, overcup oak, sweet and bitter pecan, elm, cypress, and tupelo gum. The understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, species include palmetto, switchcane, rattan, Rubus sp., Crataegus sp., buttonbush, swamp dogwood, Vitis sp., deciduous holly, Smilax sp., baccharis, poison ivy, and many herbaceous species. Invasive species include trifoliate orange, cattail, water hyacinth, and several other nuisance aquatics.

The most popular game species is white-tailed deer, squirrels/rabbits, with some waterfowl hunting available.  Woodcock, snipe, and raccoon hunting opportunities are also available. Freshwater fish including largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish are popular with area users, but fishing opportunity is limited by lack of available aquatic habitat.

The Louisiana Black Bear frequents this area and reported sightings and nuisance complaints received from adjacent private landowners are on the increase. Black Bear research is ongoing at Buckhorn WMA.

Bald Eagles are observed frequently on this area and nesting is documented in the surrounding area.

Buckhorn WMA is visited by many neo-tropical and shorebird bird species annually and home to large numbers of passerine and wading birds. The areas managed for waterfowl, wading birds, and shorebirds along with the sloughs and waterways offer excellent waterfowl hunting and viewing opportunity. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.

Public Use:

The largest user group of this area is deer hunters. The Department maintains a system of all-weather gravel roads and several ATV trails that provide access to area users. Several walking trails follow pipelines rights-of-way. Boat launches are available on most area lakes. Four permit stations located at major entrances to the area are provided to meet self-clearance requirements. No camping areas are available on Buckhorn WMA. The one and one-half mile Brushy Lake Nature Trail located adjacent to the Clydesdale Road provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.

Other Public Use:

Please refer to the WMA rules and regulations for permitted activities. In addition to hunting, trapping, and fishing other common activities include boating, commercial fishing, hiking, birding/sightseeing, horseback riding, berry picking, frogging, raccoon field trials, and crayfishing. A recreational lottery for alligators is allowed each year also.

Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, 368 CenturyLink Drive, Monroe, LA 71203. Phone (318) 343-4044.

Regulations:

Buckhorn (Department Owned – 11,262 Acres, Monroe Office)

 

Bodcau

Information
Owned: 
USACOE
Acreage: 
34,355 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050

Description:
Bodcau Wildlife Management Area is located in Bossier and Webster Parishes and derives its name from the major bayou that bisects it from its northernmost point at the Arkansas-Louisiana state line to its southernmost tip nearly 30 miles to the south. The area is located approximately 17 miles northeast of Bossier City. Numerous access routes to Bodcau WMA are available. The primary access to the area is by traveling north on La. Hwy. 157 from Interstate 20 at Haughton to the community of Bellevue and then following the signs. ATV activity is permitted on numerous marked trails.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and a private corporate landowner own Bodcau WMA. The area is long and narrow with an average width of one and one-half miles and consists of approximately 34,355 acres. The dam and flood reservoir were built and their primary function remains to control downstream flooding. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in cooperation with the U. S. Corps of Engineers and the corporate landowner by way of long term licensing agreements manage the wildlife resources and public access on the area.
The area contains a wide range of wildlife habitat ranging from cypress swamps to upland pine and hardwood forests interspersed with grasslands and open fields. Many species of grasses and forbs that are typically found in states west of Louisiana can be found growing in the grassland areas. There are numerous seasonally flooded sloughs, beaver ponds, and large areas of flatland, bottomland, hardwood forests. One unique feature of the area is that the bottomland forest rapidly merges with the upland forest on a series of ridges that extend into the bottomland area.
Dominate tree species in the bottomland forests include bald cypress, water, overcup, willow, and cow oaks. Shortleaf and loblolly pine, white, red, and cherrybark oaks, sweetgum and elm trees dominate upland forests. Understory species in the bottomland area include poison ivy, honeysuckle, rattan, buttonbush and swamp privet. Upland understory species include blackberry, honeysuckle, poison ivy and beautyberry and sawbriar.
Ivan Lake, a man-made reservoir located on Bodcau WMA provides thousands of hours of fishing and small boating recreation. Bodcau Bayou and its? overflow can provide excellent bass and bream fishing in addition to crawfishing opportunities during certain years.
White-tailed deer can be hunted by bow and arrow and modern firearms. The deer herd is considered healthy. Squirrel, rabbits, doves, quail and all other species of small game hunting opportunities exist on Bodcau WMA. Waterfowl hunting opportunities are provided in the 1,600 acre greentree reservoir and in the numerous sloughs and backwater flooded areas. Wild turkey hunting is also allowed during a short spring gobbler season.
The Department manages a rifle range with targets from 25 to 200 yards, a pistol range with 25 and 50 yard targets and a shotgun station. The range is supervised by an approved range officer and is open to the public on regularly scheduled days.
Ongoing habitat management and development on the WMA include prescribed burning, fallow disking, supplement food plantings, waterlevel manipulation and timber harvest. These practices help to provide quality habitat for game and non-game species. Wildlife watching is a very popular year around activity on Bodcau WMA. Non-game species such as great blue herons, several species of hawks, and barred, horned and screech owls are common. Yellow, black and white, yellow-throated, magnolia, prairie and yellow-rumped warblers are regularly seen on the area. Numerous species of reptiles, amphibians and insects can also be seen on the area.
Camping is available at the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers improved camping area located on the south end of the area and several primitive camping areas.
Additional information may be obtained from the LDWF, Wildlife Division, 1401 Talton St., Minden, LA 71055.

Biloxi

Information
Owned: 
Biloxi Marsh Land Corporation
Acreage: 
42,747 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
504-284-5264
Map: 
Description:

The Biloxi Wildlife Management Area is located in Upper St. Bernard Parish about 40 miles east of New Orleans. It is accessible only by boat via commercial launches at Hopedale and Shell Beach. The 42,747 -acre tract is owned and leased to the Department by the Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation. The area is a low brackish to saline marsh. A few oak trees are present on old ridges but the major vegetation includes marshhay cord grass, black rush, hog cane, smooth cord grass, saltgrass, glasswort, and three square. Widgeon grass is the main submerged aquatic plant occurring there.

A tremendous number of bayous, sloughs and potholes make the Biloxi tract an excellent producer of fish, shrimp, crabs, waterfowl, and furbearers. The few canal spoil banks and ridges scattered throughout the marsh provide escape for birds and mammals from rising water levels during storms or high tides. Game species hunted on the area include rabbits, rails, gallinules, snipe, ducks, and geese. Major ducks present in winter are lesser scaup, teal, wigeon, gadwall, shoveler, and mottled duck with lesser concentrations of pintail and mallard. Blue and snow geese are normally found on Biloxi although not in large numbers. Fur animals present include nutria, muskrat, mink, raccoon, otter, and opossum. Alligators are also found on the area.

Fish species common on the area include speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, and croaker. Large catches of crabs and shrimp are often taken by both sportsmen and commercial fishermen.

Besides hunting and fishing, other forms of recreation available are boating, crabbing, shrimping, and bird watching.

Vessels/Vehicles:  All Airboats, ATVs/UTVs, motorcycles, horses, and mules are prohibited.  Mud boats or air cooled propulsion vessels can only be powered by straight shaft “long-tail” air-cooled mud motors that are 25 total horsepower or less.  All other types of mud boats or air cooled propulsion vessels, including “surface-drive” boats, are prohibited.

 

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