A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent has been appointed to serve on a newly formed national safe boating commission.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Executive Board appointed LDWF Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, of Baton Rouge, to the new Boating Professional Certification Commission.
“I’m honored and excited to be working on this new commission as we lay the groundwork for this new certification for recreational boating program management,” said Capt. Zechenelly.
The commission consists of 13 members that represent state, federal, nonprofit, industry and public stakeholder interests and will look at the National Recreational Boating Program in its entirety to develop the Recreational Boating Professional Certification. The certification will be a voluntary program designed to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance and designate recreational boating professionals who demonstrate the knowledge essential to recreational boating program management.
Capt. Zechenelly is originally from Pearl River and joined the LDWF Enforcement Division in 1999. In August of 2013, Capt. Zechenelly was named the Boating Law Administrator for the state of Louisiana. She currently oversees the Enforcement Division’s marine theft investigations, boating crash incident investigations, and the statewide boating safety education program.
“Capt. Zechenelly is a great asset to our state’s safe boating program. It is an honor to have our boating program once again receive national recognition and have a positive influence on the national boating program,” said Col. Jeff Mayne, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.
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.
NASBLA’s mission is to strengthen the ability of the state and territorial boating authorities to reduce death, injury and property damage associated with recreational boating and ensure a safe, secure and enjoyable boating environment.
The Commission will be comprised of representatives from major aspects of the recreational boating program, including training, law enforcement, vessel numbering/titling, education, access, waterway management and accident reporting.
The members and the categories they represent include:
• Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries — States
• John Adey, American Boat & Yacht Council, Boating Industry
• Laurel Anders, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission — States
• Robert Brandenstein, U.S. Power Squadrons — Nonprofit
• Mark Brown, Oklahoma Highway Patrol — States
• Ed Carter, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency — State Agency Management
• Virgil Chambers, Retired Recreational Boating Safety Professional — Public
• Michael Cortese, U.S. Coast Guard (Active Duty) — Federal
• Dan Hesket, Kansas Wildlife, Parks & Tourism — States
• Stan Linnell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks & Trails — States
• Eric Lundin, Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police — States
• Edwin Lyngar, Nevada Department of Wildlife — States
• Gary Owen, National Water Safety Congress — Nonprofit
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Raceland man for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 25, 2013 on Eagle Island.
Agents cited Eric Savoie, 37, for two counts of hunting or taking deer during illegal hours, failing to tag deer, over limit of deer, taking deer illegally during an open season, hunting deer without a big game license, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun.
On Dec. 24, LDWF agents received a complaint that Savoie had killed two does at night on Dec. 20.
When agents approached Savoie’s residence on Eagle Island on Dec. 25, agents observed Savoie seated at the rear of his residence with a loaded 7 mm rifle in hand and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot, a loaded .22 rifle and using a utility street light to shine deer to shoot them at night.
Upon further investigation, agents learned that near the light Savoie placed several pounds of soybeans on the ground to attract deer at night.
After Savoie was disarmed by agents, Savoie was questioned. Savoie admitted to harvesting two antlerless deer during illegal hours on Dec. 20 and attempting to harvest more deer during illegal hours on the night of Dec. 25.
Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail per count. Taking deer illegally during an open season carries a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail. Taking over limit of deer and hunting with an unplugged shotgun each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Hunting without a big game license carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
Agents seized one Remington 7 mm rifle, one Ruger .22 rifle, and one 12 gauge shotgun.
Agents involved in case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agents Jamie Folse and Ryan Breaux.
When you think of law enforcement, you may not automatically consider the brave men and women of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, but these highly trained and dedicated professionals put their lives on the line to protect both the people who live, work and play in America’s delta, and the unique array of fish and wildlife that calls this region home.
Delta Guardians, the third program in Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Alive! In America’s Delta series, premieres Wednesday, January 8 at 7 p.m. followed by Black Bear Comeback at 7:30 p.m. Delta Guardians will have an encore showing on LPB HD on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. WLAE-TV32 in New Orleans will air the program on Friday, Jan. 10 at 8:30 p.m. Delta Guardians will also be simulcast on www.lpb.org starting at 7 p.m. and will be available for two weeks on the LPB site.
During times of disaster, these “delta guardians” are most often the first to the scene. They were the unsung heroes in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, rescuing thousands trapped after the storms, but the larger job they are called to do is even more daunting.
Wildlife and Fisheries agents use modern tools and techniques to police and prosecute poachers, educate people about water and firearm safety, and protect seafood and wildlife populations and their habitats.
“You run into somebody in the grocery store and they think all you do is check hunting licenses and fishing licenses,” Mayne said. “The actuality is that we do that but also do everything from white collar investigations in the seafood industry, tax evasion, money laundering, public safety on our state’s waterways to DWI enforcement.”
According to Mayne, there is definitely an element of danger involved when you are dealing with people who are armed or put into situations where the elements are against you.
“When you have agents who are getting 40 miles offshore in ten-foot seas trying to jump from one boat to another boat, sometimes it gets a little hairy,” Mayne said.
This program follows these defenders of America’s delta deep into the swamps, forests, marshes, and coastal waters of Louisiana’s wetlands. Witness these tireless – and heroic -- efforts as agents protect Louisiana’s wildlife and fisheries resources and the people who use them for recreation or commercial gain.
The first programs in the series will also premiere in New Orleans on WLAE-TV32 in January. The Whooping Crane’s Majestic Return will air on Friday, Jan. 17 at 8:30 p.m.
Underwriting for this program was provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
For more information, contact Bob Neese at LPB at email@example.com or call (800) 272-8161, ext. 4274 or Adam Einck at LDWF at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-765-2465. You can also visit the website at lpb.org/alive.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Louisiana man for alleged duck hunting violations on Jan. 1, 2014, in Jefferson Parish.
Agents cited Frank Abbate Jr., 56, of Destrehan, for hunting ducks during illegal hours.
Agents received several complaints from a confidential source that a man was hunting ducks after legal hours in Westwego near a grain elevator on the Mississippi River. Agents witnessed the subject cross the levee on foot, cross a road and enter an opening in a gate at a business located on River Road.
Agents witnessed the subject continue to hunt ducks until 5:42 p.m., which official legal shooting time ended at 5:11 p.m. The agents seized five black bellied tree ducks. Abbate Jr. was cited for the same offense in 2005.
Hunting ducks during illegal hours for the second offense brings a $750 to $999 fine and 90 to 180 days in jail. The subject may also be responsible for restitution for the illegally taken ducks in the amount of $130.
Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Kris Bourgeois, Sgt. Villerie Reggio, and Senior Agent Robert Cosse.