General

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Alligator Program

History

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Department) manages the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) as a commercial, renewable natural resource. The goals of the Department's alligator program are to manage and conserve Louisiana's alligators as part of the state's wetland ecosystem, provide benefits to the species, its habitat and the other species of fish and wildlife associated with alligators. The basic philosophy was to develop a sustained use management program which, through regulated harvest, would provide long term benefits to the survival of the species, maintain its habitats, and provide significant economic benefits to landowners, alligator farmers and alligator hunters. Since Louisiana's coastal alligator habitats are primarily privately owned (approximately 81%), our sustained use management program provides direct economic benefit and incentive to private landowners, and alligator hunters/farmers who lease land, to protect the alligator and to protect, maintain, and enhance the alligator's wetland habitats.

The Department's sustained use program is one of the world's most recognizable examples of a wildlife conservation success story. Louisiana's program has been used as a model for managing various crocodilian species throughout the world. Since the inception of the Department's program in 1972, over 810,000 wild alligators have been harvested, over 6.5 million alligator eggs have been collected, and over 3.5 million farm raised alligators have been sold bringing in millions of dollars of revenue to landowners, trappers and farmers. Conservative estimates have valued these resources at over $704,000,000, providing significant, direct economic benefit to Louisiana.

Commercial trade in alligators is regulated through the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While the alligator is not endangered or threatened anywhere in the U.S., it is listed on Appendix II of CITES due to its similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilian species. CITES requirements are implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). On an annual basis the Department must provide to the USFWS a "finding of no detriment" stating that Louisiana's harvest and export of alligators are not detrimental to the survival of the species.

The Department's alligator program can be separated into three categories: wild alligator management, alligator farming/ranching program and nuisance alligator program.

Responsibilities

Louisiana's wild alligator management program involves:

  • annual coastal nest surveys to index populations
  • calculate 50+ wild alligator harvest quotas
  • execute the annual wild alligator harvest
  • collect, analyze, and interpret necessary data,
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and hunters
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements
  • conduct necessary research activities

Louisiana's alligator farming/ranching program involves:

  • monitor compliance with farm facility requirements
  • facilitate alligator egg collections; set egg harvest quotas and issue permits
  • verify/account for farm inventories and harvest tags
  • process farm-raised alligators for release into wild
  • inspect live alligator and alligator hide shipments
  • collect, analyze and interpret necessary data
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and farmers
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements

Louisiana's nuisance alligator program involves:

  • minimize/alleviate alligator/human conflicts
  • manage a statewide network of nuisance alligator hunters
  • receive and process nuisance alligator complaints
  • assign complaints to nuisance hunters
  • ensure hunter compliance with nuisance alligator policy
  • review and analyze nuisance alligator complaints and harvest data annually

Agenda Announced for Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission September Meeting

Release Date: 08/26/2010

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, September 2, 2010, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of July 14, 2010 and August 5, 2010

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To receive and hear check presentation to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation

5. To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts

6. To receive and hear Presentation of Boating Law Enforcement Office of the Year

7. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/August

8. To receive and hear Update on Whooping Crane Reintroduction Proposal

9. To receive and hear Office of Wildlife Oil Spill Presentation

10. To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

11. To receive and consider Notice of Intent to Adopt Gear Regulations for Lafourche Lake in Caldwell Parish

12. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to modify the rule for Commercial Harvest of Spotted Seatrout - Commercial Season and Places

13. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Amend Oyster Survey Rules as a Result of Act 392 of the 2010 Regular Session

14. Set January 2011 Meeting Date

15. Receive Public Comments

16. Adjournment

2010-256

Clear Creek

Information
Owned: 
Forest Capital Partners, LLC.
Acreage: 
54,269 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(337) 491-2576

Description:
Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1213 North Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601.

Catahoula Lake

Contact
Phone: 
318-487-5885

Camp Beauregard

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana National Guard
Acreage: 
12,500 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
(318) 371-3050

Description:
Camp Beauregard Wildlife Management Area is primarily located in northeast Rapides Parish with some acreage in southeast Grant Parish. The area lies approximately eight miles north of Alexandria.
Camp Beauregard is 12,500 acres and is owned by the Louisiana National Guard. The primary use is as a troop training facility. The Louisiana National Guard also manages the timber for commercial production.
The terrain is characterized by gently rolling hills in the upland areas. The Flagon Creek bottom is a frequently flooded hardwood area of about 800 acres. The upland overstory is dominated by pine plantations. There are scattered hardwoods in the hills. Water oak, post oak, hickory, red oak and sweetgum are the most common species in creek bottom areas. The Flagon bottom is a typical bottomland forest with cypress, overcup oak and bitter pecan the dominant overstory species.
The understory development in the upland area varies considerably depending on the degree of overstory closure. Some plantations that have not been recently thinned have little if any understory. Those areas with good understory development support French mulberry, blackberry, greenbrier, yaupon, trumpet creeper, rattan and other browse plants. The Flagon bottom has swamp privet, water elm, mayhaw and swamp snowbell as the more common understory plants.
Game species available for hunting include squirrel, turkey, deer, rabbits, quail, dove, wood duck and woodcock. The only endangered species known to occur on the area is the red-cockaded woodpecker. However, at this time no known active colonies are present.
The areas first function is as a military reservation, therefore there are special regulations applying to use of Camp Beauregard WMA. An annual permit is required as is checking in and out of self-clearing stations on a daily basis. Limited camping is allowed by reservation only. Call (318) 641-3365 for questions about camping. General information is available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360.

Buckhorn

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
11,262 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
(318) 757-4571
Map: 

Description:
Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area is located in Tensas Parish, 14 miles west of St. Joseph. Major access routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4 and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. ATV trails and hiking trails provide access into the interior of the area.
Buckhorn WMA is comprised of approximately 11,262 acres, including 200 acres of lakes and water bottoms, and slightly over 8,000 acres of bottomland hardwood timber. Approximately 2,300 acres of previously cultivated farmland were added to the WMA between 2001 and 2003, with the majority of this acquisition scheduled for reforestation and wetland management. An additional 650 acres of agricultural land is currently being reforested and/or managed as public dove hunting fields. Topography of the WMA is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet MSL.
Primary timber species on the area are water oak, willow oak, Nuttall oak, overcup oak, hackberry, sweetgum, tupelo gum, sweet and bitter pecan, ash, honey locust, willow, and elm. The forest canopy is generally closed, with a moderate mid-story of less dominant trees and shrubs. However, the understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, with palmetto, rattan, greenbrier, dewberry, baccharis, buttonbush, and switchcane found in most all wooded areas.
No major streams are located on the area, but six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes are located on the area, including Marydale Lake, the largest at 115 acres, Saddletree Lake, and Turkey Lake. All lakes and streams are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River, and all receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.
Game species found on the area include whitetailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons. Several waterfowl impoundments are available for hunting during the winter months. Mourning doves are common throughout the agricultural areas, and each year the department plants one or two areas specifically to provide hunting opportunities for doves. Buckhorn WMA does not support a huntable turkey population, and the area is closed to turkey hunting. Because of the extremely dense understory, small game hunting can be difficult. However, deer hunting is extremely popular with both archery and gun hunters, and hunter success rates are generally high because of the large deer population.
Trapping for furbearers is allowed, and the species available are raccoon, otter, coyote, bobcat, fox, nutria, mink, beaver, and opossum. Buckhorn is now included in the public lottery hunt for alligators. Five tags are issued to each successful hunter, determined by the yearly lottery drawings.
Fishing on Buckhorn WMA is seasonally popular and also limited by the lack of available aquatic habitat. However, bass, bream, crappie, white bass, and catfish can be caught by sport fishermen, and commercial fishermen take buffalo, carp, gar, catfish, and freshwater drum.
Diverse habitats attract a variety of non-game bird species, both migratory and resident. Spring birdwatching is popular on the area, especially during periods of the northward migration, and the extensive forested areas provide birdwatchers with opportunities to view transient bird species. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.
A nature trail on the north end of Brushy Lake has been completed. This trail provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.
Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, P.O. Box 1640, Ferriday, LA 71334.

Bonnet Carre Spillway

Information
Owned: 
USACOE
Acreage: 
7,623 Acres

Boeuf

Information
Owned: 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Acreage: 
50,971 Acres
Contact
Email: 
lmoak@wlf.la.gov
Phone: 
(318) 343-2417
Map: 

Description:
Boeuf Wildlife Management Area is located in Caldwell and Catahoula Parishes, 10 miles southeast of Columbia. Major routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4, 559, 133 and 848. Parish roads provide access to the interior from the north, south, and west, with Boeuf River providing boat access along the eastern boundary. There is a system of unimproved roads and trails but four-wheel drive vehicles or ATV's are necessary during wet periods. Boeuf is approximately 50,971 acres of bottomland hardwoods and wetland habitat purchased by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Acquisitions to the area have been steady since the initial purchase in 1977. The terrain is flat and poorly drained, with numerous backwater lakes, sloughs, and bayous. Areas of Boeuf are subject to frequent flooding from Boeuf River and Bayou Lafourche. The forest overstory is a relatively closed stand of mixed bottomland hardwoods. On higher elevations the predominant tree species are willow oak, water oak, Nuttall's oak, rock elm, sweetgum, and persimmon. Important species in the lower elevations are overcup oak, bitter pecan, and honey locust, with cypress and tupelo gum being found in sloughs and old lakes. Understory species include deciduous holly, hawthorn, swamp privet, rattan, greenbriar and grape. Boeuf Wildlife Management Area offers many recreational opportunities for sportsmen, trappers, commercial fishermen, and other groups interested in the outdoors. Game species available for hunting include deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, ducks, turkeys, quail, doves, woodcock and snipe. Alligator hunters are selected by public lottery, and 35 alligator tags are issued for the WMA. A greentree reservoir and several moist soil impoundments are available for waterfowl and other wetland species. These areas along with the natural waterways, sloughs, and brakes offer excellent waterfowl hunting and viewing potential. Two dove fields provide further recreation for sportsmen. Turkeys were released on the area in the 1960's, but the turkey flock has not expanded due to severe annual flooding events. Boeuf has three designated camping areas and ten boat launches open to the public.

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: 
35,644 Acres
Contact
Phone: 
504-284-5267
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 35,644-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.

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