Hunting

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

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 Advisory on Limited Access Areas in Select Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 10/08/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds anyone using coastal wildlife management areas (WMA) with designated limited access areas (LAAs) that operation of boats with internal combustion engines, within those LAAs, is restricted throughout the 2010-11 fall and winter waterfowl hunting season.

Limited access areas were created within Atchafalaya Delta WMA, Pass a Loutre WMA, Pointe aux Chenes WMA and Salvador WMA to provide a more primitive hunting experience for waterfowl hunters.  Restrictions on the use of internal combustion engines provide for reduced noise in an effort to minimize disturbance of waterfowl within the LAA and improve hunter harvest success between September and January.

LAAs are posted with signage at access points around the perimeter. Any vessel with a movable outdrive system may enter a LAA as long as the boat’s internal combustion engine is trimmed up out of the water in an inoperable position. Vessels with fixed props must adhere to the no operation rule. Trolling motors may be used to access and navigate within a LAA while hunting or fishing.

WMA Acres LAA (acres) LAA% of Total WMA
Atchafalaya Delta 137,695 3,250 2.4
Pass a Loutre 110,491 1,945 1.8
Pointe aux Chenes 35,226 4,689 13.3
Salvador 33,046 3,000 9.1

To view and download a map of any WMA with a LAA, go to:  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma

Anyone with questions on vessel operation within a LAA can call LDWF’s Enforcement Division Region 8 in New Orleans at 504-284-2023 or Region 6 in Thibodaux at 985-447-0821 during weekday business hours, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To report violation of LAA rules, call 1-800-442-2511 toll free at any time.

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

2010-284

New Bridge Construction Will Restrict Access to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 09/24/2010

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising the public that access to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be restricted during the next several months. Poole Road and the Poole Road Bridge, which provide primary road access to the WMA, will soon be closed for the construction of a new bridge and access.

The tentative start date for construction is Oct. 1 with completion projected for mid to late February.

The existing wooden bridge in southeast Bossier Parish is currently load limited at three tons and has been closed for extended periods in recent years for repairs, limiting public access. Bossier Parish was recently approached by Petrohawk, an energy exploration and production company, with an offer to build a replacement bridge. When completed, the new bridge will be turned over to the parish.

Anyone planning to access Loggy Bayou WMA during construction should be aware that access to the WMA will be by boat or walk-in only. Walk-in access to the WMA is available either on the south end, off of Highway 71 or on the north end from Houghton Road, off of Highway 154.

Anyone accessing the WMA by boat should be aware that the construction activity will require a work barge to be in place in Flat River preventing boat access across the construction area.

For more information, contact Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@wlf.la.gov or 318-371-3050.

 

2010-276

Bodcau Shooting Range

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Hours

Friday-Sunday, 7:30 am–5:00 pm ; The Bodcau Shooting Range will be closed Good Friday (April 19th) and Easter Sunday (April 21) in observance of the holidays. The range will be open Saturday (April 20th) for normal business hours.

Fees

Free

Location

168 Ben Durden Road, Benton, LA 71006

Contact

318-326-3225; tbuffington@wlf.la.gov

Owner/operator

LDWF

Description

25, 50, 100, 150, and 200-yard rifle range, 25-yard pistol range, and a shotgun range with four manual, fixed-position clay target throwers. Target frames and paper targets are provided.

Rules

  1. All users must abide by range officer directions (if present).
  2. Eye and ear protection required.
  3. Firearms must be uncased, magazines removed, and actions open when carried onto range.
  4. Keep all muzzles pointed in a safe direction.
  5. No handling of firearms when users are down range.
  6. Shooters may have only one firearm on the firing line at a time.
  7. All firearms must be unloaded with the actions open unless on the firing line and the range is cleared for live fire.
  8. During a cease fire, all firearms must be properly racked behind the shooting line, completely unloaded, with the action open.
  9. No rapid fire or fully automatic fire.
  10. Firearms may not be drawn and fired from holsters.
  11. Only paper targets and provided target frames may be used. No metal or exploding targets.
  12. No tracer or armor piercing rounds allowed.
  13. Must use the provided launchers to shoot clay targets.
  14. No alcoholic beverages allowed.
  15. No profane language or derogatory remarks.
  16. No pets allowed.
  17. Shooters must pick up their own shell hulls, casings, and trash and dispose of it properly.
Documents: 

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 09/15/2010

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 - 1:30 p.m.
Louisiana Room
Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Headquarters
2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La.  70808

1.    Roll Call

2.    Approval of Minutes of March 16, 2010

3.    Welcome and Opening Comments Chairman

4.    Enforcement Division Report: Oil Spill Response

5.    Bird Rescue Mission: Oil Spill Response Office of Wildlife, Coastal & Non-game Resources Division

6.    2010-11 Duck Season Forecast / Oil Spill Impacts on Habitat Office of Wildlife, Wildlife Division

7.    Fisheries Report: Oil Spill Response Office of Fisheries, Research Division

8.    Set Next Meeting Date

9.    Receive Public Comments

10.    Adjournment

 

 

2010-269

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