Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear that was found in Concordia Parish.
A citizen alerted authorities on Dec. 20 about a dead black bear lying in the woods in the Yancey Wildlife Management Area. The bear was collected and sent in for a necropsy.
The necropsy revealed the bear was probably dead for about a week and that it was shot with a bullet through the ribcage. Agents believe the bear was shot from an elevated deer stand since the bullet went through the ribcage at an angle.
LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program is offering a cash reward totaling up to $1,000 and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust is offering up to $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction for this illegal killing of a black bear.
Anyone with information regarding this illegal bear 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, citizens 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 program are monitored 24 hours a day. Tipsters can also remain anonymous.
The Louisiana black bear has been listed on the Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List since 1992. Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both state law and the federal Endangered Species Act. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the bear may be imposed on anyone convicted of killing a black bear in Louisiana.
With the number of bear and hunter interactions on the rise within the last couple of years, LDWF encourages hunters to carry bear spray.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Baker man for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 18 in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Agents cited William R. Aucoin, 61, for two counts of hunting deer during illegal hours, four counts of hunting deer using illegal methods, two counts of illegal possession of poisonous arrow pods, obstruction of justice and no possession of deer tags.
Agents were notified by a confidential informant that Aucoin was night hunting on the west side of Zachary off of Hwy. 61. Agents set up surveillance on Dec. 18 and found his hunting site.
Agents then came back to Aucoin’s hunting site around 6:30 p.m. and found him sitting in his stand with a bow and arrow armed, night vision goggles (NVG) and a flashlight attached to his bow. Aucoin was not in possession of deer tags.
Agents also saw Aucoin fidgeting with his arrow and then throw an object on the ground. During the investigation, agents found a poisonous pod that attaches to an arrow.
During questioning Aucoin admitted to hunting deer that night and also admitted to hunting deer on Dec. 2 at night with the same illegal setup.
Agents seized Aucoin’s bow and arrow, NVGs and flashlight.
Hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Hunting deer using illegal methods and using illegal poisonous pods each carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Failing to possess deer tags brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Obstruction of justice carries up to a $10,000 fine and up to five years in jail.
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Will Roberts, Sgt Guy Adams and Sgt. Carl Armstrong.
A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited two men for alleged recreational fishing violations on Dec. 18 in Plaquemines Parish.
LDWF Sgt. Villere Reggio cited Gilbert Merricks, 62, of New Orleans, and Corey Carter, 44, of Laplace, for possessing undersized red drum and for possessing more than the five red drum per person per day limit.
Sgt. Reggio found the men in possession of 47 red drum of which 29 were under the legal size limit of 16 inches.
Taking or possessing undersized red drum carries up to a $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Taking more than double the red drum limit brings up to a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. The two men also face a grand total of $979.39 in civil restitution charges to the State of Louisiana for the illegally taken red drum.
The case will be forwarded to the District Attorney Charles Ballay for prosecution. Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Villere Reggio and Sgt. Adam Young.
A Turkey Creek man pleaded guilty to taking deer illegally on Dec. 13 in the 13th Judicial Court in Evangeline Parish.
Judge Tom Fusilier sentenced Corey S. Gautreaux, 25, to pay a $1,000 fine and $122.50 in court costs, revoked his hunting privileges for two years and to 30 days of jail, which will be suspended.
On Oct. 23, 2011 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited Gautreaux for taking deer illegally by snare in Evangeline Parish.
Agents received a complaint that Gautreaux had put several snares out on private land near the St. Landry community off of Frontier Road. The snares appeared to be set in a manner to take deer.
Agents went to the area to investigate on Oct. 23, 2011. After locating the snares, agents found a camera and a deer stand set up near the snares. After reviewing the photos on the camera, agents found photos of Gautreaux checking the snares.
On that same afternoon agents found Gautreaux sitting in the stand with a bow and arrow. After advising Gautreaux of his rights, he admitted to setting the snares for deer.
All the snares along with the camera were forfeited to the state.
Assistant District Attorney Tim Fontenot prosecuted the case. Sgt. Scott D. Fontenot was the lead investigative agent in the case.
A Labadieville man pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 in Eastern District Federal Court in New Orleans for the illegal killing of 49 sea gulls.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited Jackoby D. Bertot, 29, for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in September following a lengthy investigation.
Agents uncovered that the subject utilized a vehicle to speed through a flock of resting sea gulls in the Home Depot parking lot in the Elmwood Area shopping center in the suburbs of New Orleans on Sept. 2, 2013 at 9:48 p.m.
Bertot pleaded guilty before the honorable Daniel E. Knowles III. The subject was ordered to pay a fine of $1,210 and serve a one year inactive probation. U.S. Attorney Spiro G. Latsis prosecuted the case. LDWF Sgt. Tim Fox investigated the case.
Violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act carry up to $15,000 in fines and up to six months in prison.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Louisiana men for alleged deer hunting violations on Dec. 10, in Morehouse Parish.
Agents cited Cody King, 23, of Mer Rouge, Caleb Harrell, 24, of Bastrop, and Johnathan White, 25, of Bastrop, for taking deer during illegal hours, hunting from a moving vehicle, hunting from a public road, possession of illegally taken deer, intentional litter, discharging a firearm from a public road and taking over the limit of deer. Walker was also cited for intentional concealment or deposit of wildlife.
Agents received a complaint from a confidential source that the men had illegally killed two deer during illegal hours on Dec. 9. The source said the incidents occurred on Viney Woods Road between Mer Rouge and Oak Ridge in southern Morehouse Parish. After an investigation into the matter, agents obtained information and made contact with the three subjects on Dec. 10.
During the interview agents was discovered that the men had shot and killed two bucks and two does during illegal hunting hours from a vehicle. Agents seized the four deer from the men.
Hunting deer during illegal hours with an artificial light and intentional concealment of wildlife brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Possession of illegally taken deer carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Hunting from a moving vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public road and over limit of deer brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for each offense. Hunting from a public road carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
Agents participating in the case are Sgt. James Hagan, Lt. Scott Mathews, Sgt. Josh Estis, Senior Agent Justin Lee and Senior Agent Ray Ellerbe.
United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced on Dec. 5 that Larry Robert Baker, 50, of Maud, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm after being convicted and serving time for a murder and other felonies in Texas. He pleaded guilty Aug. 29, 2013.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) conducted an operation on Jan. 11, 2013 to catch night hunters who were shooting after dark from the roads in north Caddo Parish.
During the operation, LDWF agents observed Baker shooting from a car at a deer decoy set up by agents. A .22 caliber revolver was found in the car that he was driving, along with a box of .22 caliber ammunition.
Baker was arrested for the wildlife violation, driving under suspension and traveling with open containers of alcohol. Upon further investigation, agents found that Baker had recently been released from prison after serving 20 years for a Texas murder. Baker was found guilty of murder on Aug. 5, 1993, in the 54th District Court of McLennan County, Texas. He also has prior burglary and property theft convictions.
LDWF and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. prosecuted the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program started in 2001 designed to reduce violence by aggressively enforcing existing federal firearms laws.