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Lesson Learned: Hog or Bear? Know Your Target

Release Date: 10/12/2010

Gary Kinsland is an experienced hunter who has hunted Red River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Concordia Parish for 34 years since he moved to Louisiana from Oregon in 1977.  Kinsland, 63, of Sunset, typically harvests two deer per year from the WMA along with several feral hogs.
 
During one hunt last season, Kinsland harvested a 13-point non-typical deer from the Red River WMA. However, it was also during the 2009-10 hunting season that Kinsland faced his biggest hunting disappointment.
 
Sitting on a deer stand in his favorite tree on the WMA last November, and after having already seen a buck earlier in the day without getting a clear shot, Kinsland heard hogs squealing.
 
"I didn't head to my stand that morning to get a hog," said Kinsland.  "I was deer hunting and wanted a deer.  But, these hogs were there and I said to myself that if they pass a clearing I will go ahead and shoot at them."
 
Kinsland said that after a little while the sound of hogs moving and squealing went away.  However, later in the day he again heard some commotion and movement coming from the same area where he had heard hogs squealing earlier.
 
This time he saw what he thought were the hogs he had heard moving from the area of the noise and crossing at an angle in front of him at about 100 yards in light brush.  Kinsland guessed their path and picked out a clear spot in the brush that was about 75 yards from his deer stand and set his crosshairs on that mark in case one of the "hogs" passed through the clearing.
 
"The first one entered the clearing and I fired," said Kinsland.  "I then waited a little while longer for the second one to come through, which I knew was a little smaller. After getting tired of waiting, I went ahead and dismounted my stand and walked over to the downed animal.  When I got about 40 yards away I noticed the other one sniffing around and shot that 'hog' too.
 
"It wasn't until I got within about 20 yards of the smaller, second one that I realized what I had shot.  The first indication was seeing a round ear.  I then got close enough to the two animals to get confirmation of what I had done and I just stood there for a while in disbelief and in sadness for the two bears."
 
Kinsland had mistaken a Louisiana black bear and her cub for feral hogs.  He then contacted his longtime friend and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Red River WMA Supervisor Johnny Warren.  Warren quickly notified the LDWF Enforcement Division.
 
"I immediately knew I was in a tough bind, but I am glad that I turned myself in since I try to teach my two young daughters and family honesty.  By walking away from this incident I would be living a lie," said Kinsland.  "It was not a pretty picture that I was facing, but I had to deal with it."
 
Kinsland directed the LDWF agents to his stand and the bears by using his cell phone.  The agents issued Kinsland citations for two counts of taking bear in a closed season.
 
In August, Kinsland pled no contest and was sentenced to 120 days in jail (suspended), a $950 fine, 24 months of supervised probation and had to pay restitution of $5,000 with $3,000 of that going to LDWF and the other $2,000 going to the District Attorney.  He was also ordered to get his hunter education certification and to speak in 24 other LDWF approved hunter education courses to share his experience.
 
Kinsland has already attended a few LDWF approved hunter education courses and has offered his story in front of the classes during the wildlife identification part of the course.
 
"I'm really enjoying my time with the hunter education courses and plan on becoming a volunteer certified hunter education instructor even after my court ordered courses are finished," said Kinsland.  "I try to explain to the class that even the most experienced hunter can make the same mistake I did and that you have to be able to see the snout, head and ears and make a positive i.d. before shooting at a feral hog."  
 
With Louisiana black bear and feral hog populations on the rise in many areas in the state, hunters are reminded that positive target identification is the most important rule in hunter safety and a basic component of legal game harvest.
 
Black bears and feral hogs share similar body styles and appearance, so hunters must be especially careful when hog hunting in areas where bears may be found.  LDWF has posted signs at state WMAs to warn hunters about the similarities between the two species.
 
Since 2001, the Louisiana Black Bear Repatriation Project has moved 48 adult female black bears with 104 cubs from the dense black bear population in the Tensas River Basin to the area called the Red River Complex, totaling 179,604 acres, which includes Grassy Lake, Red River, Three Rivers and Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Areas and Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge.  The Repatriation Project was initiated to help rebuild the historic population of black bears in central Louisiana.
 
Since 1992, the Louisiana black bear has been protected because of its threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.  Restoration and conservation efforts of the LDWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Black Bear Conservation Coalition and many private landowners have led to increasing numbers of black bears.  LDWF is working aggressively toward the goal of removing the Louisiana black bear from the threatened species list and having sustainable populations that offer regulated hunting opportunities in the foreseeable future.
 
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

2010-287

Anglers Aren't the Only Big Winners at the Louisiana Saltwater Series Championship

Release Date: 10/11/2010

The Louisiana Saltwater Series, hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, closed this weekend at Delta Marina in Empire with some monster catches at its championship tournament.  The 2010 fishing season was a banner year for the series, to promote the conservation of Louisiana’s saltwater sport fish resources through six tag and release redfish tournaments. 

Overall weight determined the grand prize winner going to the team of Bobby Abruscato and Scott Ritter, with a winning total weight of 34.11 pounds, and their largest fish weighing 9.2 pounds.   With the win, the duo was awarded a cash prize of over $2,700.

However, this tournament series serves a much larger purpose than hashing our prize money for trophy catches.  The department hopes the tournaments will create awareness and participation in their tag and release program. 

In its inaugural year, LDWF safely tagged and released 368 redfish caught throughout the series.  The results of the tagging will aid conservation efforts for redfish in the future, helping to ensure healthy populations and a successful recreational fishing industry.

“It’s not just the tournament itself, but being able to provide fish for LDWF to tag and hopefully track,” explained participating angler Christopher Bush.  “It’s definitely a win-win situation.”

Turnout for the series was excellent, with participation averaging over 30 teams for each tournament and 22 teams qualifying for the championship.  These two-angler teams qualified for the no-entry-fee championship by fishing a minimum of three Saltwater Series tournaments.     

“In light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we were very pleased with overall participation,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “We hope that these events will again create enthusiasm for fishing in Louisiana and will unite anglers and their families in this recreational pastime.”

The 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series hopes to continue to draw redfish anglers from the Gulf Coast, offering two –angler teams the opportunity to compete in six different tournaments, including a championship.  With low entry fees, these tournaments allow anglers to fish close to home and compete for cash prizes while simultaneously giving back to the resource through tag and release fishing.

“With the oil spill behind us, we’re excited about the possibilities for next year and anticipate the tournaments to be even larger and more successful,” said Pausina.   

Participating anglers can expect a significant increase in cash and prize payouts.  The department also plans to add a few changes to the tournament format that should make it even more exciting, including a youth division. 

The department urges interested anglers to sign up for the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program. Through this program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means.   The target species for LDWF’s tagging program are red drum “redfish” and spotted seatrout “speckled trout.”  For additional information, interested anglers can contact fishtagging@ccalouisiana.com.

Information about the 2011 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.

For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at 225-765-5113 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

*Photos and footageavailable upon request.    

 

Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board to Meet Oct. 13

Release Date: 10/11/2010

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will meet at 9 a.m. on Oct. 13 in Suite 210 of the University of New Orleans Advanced Technology Center located at 2021 Lakeshore Drive in New Orleans.

The agenda is as follows:

  1. Call to order
  2. Roll call
  3. Approval of minutes from July 21, 2010
  4. Reports
    1. Guest Presentations
      1. Trumpet Marketing
      2. NOAA-Larry Simpson and John Oliver
    2. Executive Directors Report
    3. Treasurers Report
  5. New Business
    1. Foundations Funds
    2. Social Media
    3. Research
    4. Friends of Fishermen
    5. Ready for Takeoff Coalition
    6. Oyster Task Force Budget shortfall/ interim crossover funding for administrative costs
  6. Set Next Meeting
  7. Adjourn

For more information, contact Ashley Roth at 504-286-8735 or aroth@wlf.la.gov.
 

Hunter Tips: Sharing Habitat with Bears in the Fall

Release Date: 10/08/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds hunters that bears are actively foraging at this time of year in preparation for the winter. Louisiana black bear populations throughout the state are growing and their ranges are expanding, as noted in record numbers of trail camera photos capturing activity at deer feeders.

Hunters can still enjoy a safe hunting experience and have success harvesting game species by following a few, simple recommendations.

TO MINIMIZE ATTRACTING BEARS:

  • Plant food plots instead of distributing feeding corn, a favorite bear food item. For those hunters who prefer to use feed, it is advisable to switch to soybeans. The switch from corn to soybeans may be enough to drastically decrease the number of bears returning to a site.
  • Hang your feeder out of reach of bears. A feeder should be at least 8 feet off of the ground and 4 feet away from the tree or pole used to suspend the feeder.
  • Bears are less likely to forage for one grain at a time, as dispersed on the ground from a timed feeder. A corn pile or trough type feeder is more likely to attract bears for repeat feedings.

HOW TO HANDLE BLACK BEAR ENCOUNTERS

It is important for hunters to educate themselves about bears and bear behavior, take the proper precautions and remain aware while in the woods. Younger hunters should be coached on how to respond to a bear’s presence and provided with bear spray and taught how to use it.

  • Black bears are extremely inquisitive and will sometimes follow a hunter’s track to the deer stand. It is not uncommon for a black bear to place his front feet on the ladder and peer up into the stand in an attempt to discover what’s there. This situation can usually be resolved by standing and moving about on the stand and speaking to the bear to allow him to see and hear you. Once their curiosity is satisfied, bears will usually move on.
  • A hunter moving through thick brush will occasionally come upon a black bear nest. Females readily nest on the ground and produce cubs. This occurs during the den season (late December through April). Ground nests are most often located in slash piles, felled tree tops, blackberry thickets and thick palmetto. This type of encounter will usually cause the female to run away from her nest. The cubs will bawl loudly in protest at being abandoned, but this vocalization will bring the female back quickly as soon as you leave the area.
  • If you encounter a black bear in the woods, detour around the bear. If necessary, go back the way you came and access your intended destination from another direction.
  • If you encounter a black bear at close range, raise your hands above your head to appear larger than you are, speak in a normal voice to allow the bear to identify you as human, and back away until it is safe to turn and walk away -- DO NOT RUN.
  • The best tip for insuring hunter safety and peace of mind is to carry bear spray. It is available at some retail outlets selling camping and hunting merchandise, and via the Internet. Be sure to buy a product labeled “bear spray”; most come with a convenient belt holster.
  • If a black bear attacks, DO NOT PLAY DEAD; that is a technique used for grizzly bears. Fight back with anything available, as black bear attacks have often times been stopped when the person fought back violently.

Hunters are also reminded that feral hogs and black bears can look very similar, especially in low light conditions. It is critical to know your target before pulling the trigger. Killing a Louisiana black bear can result in fines and/or jail time, as well as hindering LDWF’s progress toward delisting the black bear.

The goal of LDWF’s black bear program is to restore bear numbers to a sustainable level that will allow a regulated legal harvest of bears in the future.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

Release Date: 10/07/2010

LDWF Enforcement Agent Receives Keep Louisiana Beautiful Award

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent received a Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) award at the Oct. 7 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge.
Senior Agent Byron Cammack, 41, of Pineville, accepted the 7th annual KLB "Litter Enforcement Officer of the Year" award from KLB Executive Director Leigh Harris.  Harris thanked Cammack for his work and dedication to litter prevention.  

"This department is one of our best partners in litter prevention and enforcement," said Harris. "Our organization is trying to change attitudes towards littering and illegal dumping.  We change attitudes with education, and enforcement of litter laws is one of our best education and prevention tools."

Cammack is a five-year veteran of the Enforcement Division who works out of the LDWF Region 3 Office in Pineville and is assigned to patrol the Rapides Parish area.  This is the second time he has won the KLB award for litter enforcement.

"Keeping our woods, roadsides, swamps and waterways clean is a very important part of our everyday duties and something we don't take lightly," said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. "Litter prevention and enforcement is one of the department's top priorities and littering will not be tolerated.
We appreciate these Keep Louisiana Beautiful awards which confirm another job well done by our Enforcement Division and agents."

LDWF agents issued 1,001 citations for simple, intentional and gross littering during the 2009-10 fiscal year.  The penalties for litter law violations are fines between $75 and $1,000 and up to eight hours of community service in a litter abatement work program.

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

2010-283

LDWF Proposes Revised Rules for Permitting Wildlife Rehabilitators

Release Date: 10/07/2010

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved a notice of intent today to amend the rules governing the wildlife rehabilitation program overseen by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

Some of the NOI proposed changes include:

  • a requirement that an applicant for a wildlife rehabilitator permit (WRP) complete an LDWF-approved training course and provide proof of same prior to licensure or renewal.
  • a requirement that a licensed veterinarian determine if animals are non-releasable and should be given an educational animal designation.
  • a requirement that licensed rehabilitators keep on file, in perpetuity, a document signed by the owner of the land on which the rehabilitated animals are released.
  • a requirement that licensed rehabilitators maintain a permanent record of each animal placed in their care.

To review the full NOI document, go to http://wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Interested persons may submit comments on the proposed changes to Emile Leblanc, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, 70898-9000, prior to Dec. 2 2010.

For more information, contact Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or Emile Leblanc at 225-765-2344.

2010-282

LDWF Issues the 2010 Atchafalaya Basin Fishing Survey

Release Date: 10/07/2010

In an effort to better capture the requests of the fishing community of the Atchafalaya Basin, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began mailing surveys out this week to 2,000 Louisiana resident recreational fishermen within 60 miles of the basin.  
 
This survey will collect general information about fishing practices in the Atchafalaya Basin, Henderson Lake and the Lake Verret/Grassy Lake/Lake Palourde areas.  Information will also be gathered on recommendations for current LDWF regulations in these areas.  
 
Data gathered will be compiled with biological data gather by local LDWF fisheries biologists, to assess what current regulations might be modified to reflect the wishes of the areas anglers.  Fishermen who receive the survey are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to voice their opinion on fisheries management in the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding areas.
 
For additional information, please contact Michael Lee Buckner at 225-763-5508 or Jack Isaacs at 225-765-2605.

2010-281

Two Men Cited for Overlimit Bass on Yucutan Lake in Tensas Parish

Release Date: 10/05/2010

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on Oct. 1 for allegedly possessing over the legal limit of black bass on Yucatan Lake in Tensas Parish.

Agents found Ricky Jones, 57, of Chatham, and James M. Jones, 81, of St. Joseph, to be in possession of 38 black bass.  The daily limit for black bass is 10 per person.  

The two men caught their 20 black bass for the day and hid them in an ice chest in their vehicle.  The two fishermen then returned to the water and caught 18 more black bass.  Agents seized the bass and donated them to a local charity.

The penalty for over 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 for restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish will also be filed with the case.

Agents involved in the case were Sgt. Larry May and Senior Agent Lee Tarver.
 

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

2010-E57

NOAA Reopens More than 5,000 Square Miles of Federal Waters Just in Time for Red Snapper Season

Release Date: 10/01/2010

Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the reopening of 5,628 square miles of Gulf federal waters west of the Mississippi River to commercial and recreational fishing. This reopening accompanies the start of a special recreational red snapper season announced by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) just last week. The season began today, Oct. 1, 2010, and will remain open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout Sunday, November 21. The season will then remain closed until June 1, 2011.
 
The NOAA reopening of additional federal waters today is the seventh reopening since July 22. Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico are now 89 percent open. NOAA reports that no oil or sheen has been documented in the area since August 6.
 
The additional recreational red snapper season opening was requested by NOAA Regional Administrator Roy Crabtree in a letter sent a letter to LDWF Secretary Robert Barham last week to match the federal season reopening. Today’s reopening of federal waters opens up a crucial portion of the Gulf in which recreational red snapper fishing occurs. This may also help boost launches, marinas and private camps out of Grand Isle, Cocodrie and Venice, as they both provide close access to the newly opened area.
 
NOAA officials chose to reopen the season for red snapper due to the significant fishing closures issued this summer as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident.  Figures suggest the recreational red snapper quota was not met at the July 24, 2010 closure date and that approximately 2.3 million pounds of the 3.4 million pound quota remains.  
 
All regulations established for recreational harvest of red snapper will be in effect for this special season.  
 
Secretary Barham was authorized by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at their January 2010 meeting to change or modify opening and closing dates for the recreational red snapper season in Louisiana waters to comply with changes or modifications in season dates in federal waters. This action ensures that regulations in state waters will coincide with regulations for federally managed waters.
 
For additional information on the NOAA reopening, visit http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm .

For more information, contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov or 225/765-2396.

 

2010-279

Agenda for October Commission Meeting

Release Date: 09/30/2010

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 7, 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 August 20, 2010 and September 2, 2010
  3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
  4. To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts
  5. To receive presentation on Litter Enforcement Officer of the Year Award
  6. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September
  7. To receive and consider Notice of Intent on Assignment of Hull Identification Numbers to Undocumented Vessels Manufactured in Louisiana
  8. To receive and consider Notice of Intent to amend the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program
  9. To receive and hear Overview on Gulf Coastal Plain WMAs
  10. To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill
  11. Set February 2011 Meeting Date
  12. Receive Public Comments
  13. Adjournment

2010-278

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