Wildlife

Up to $3,000 in Reward Money Offered for Information in Whooping Crane Shooting

Release Date: 05/17/2013

May 17, 2013 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials are looking for leads regarding a whooping crane that was found shot to death in Red River Parish.

The whooping crane was found and recovered from the bank of the Red River about two miles northwest of Loggy Bayou on April 16.  After a necropsy of the crane, it was determined that the bird was shot with a 6.5mm/.264 caliber projectile.

Investigators believe the bird was shot between April 10 and 14.  The whooping crane was a part of LDWF's whooping crane reintroduction program and was fitted with a GPS tracking device.  The last tracking point of the crane moving was on April 10 near where she was eventually found dead on April 16.  The last tracking point received was on April 14 at the location she was found.

This whooping crane was released in Louisiana on March 14, 2011.

LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and the USFWS are each offering up to $1,000 in rewards for a total of up to $3,000 in rewards for any information about this illegal shooting that leads to an arrest.  To report any information regarding this whooping crane shooting, please call 1-800-442-2511.

“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population back to its historic levels in Louisiana,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “These were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see these cranes thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”

USFWS Office of Law Enforcement for the Southeast Region Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago said, "The shooting of this whooping crane is an insult to all law abiding hunters.  We ask the public to please share any information that will lead us to the shooter.”

LDWF has released 40 whooping cranes since 2011 and currently have 25 whooping cranes they are tracking.  This is the third whooping crane that has been found shot with the previous two having been shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in October of 2011.

The re-introduced whooping cranes came from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and they were placed in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA).  This re-introduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the USFWS, USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state.  This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s.  Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north.  Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.  The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.  Multiple efforts are underway to bring this bird further along its path to recovery.  This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 600 whooping cranes left in the world with 421 of those cranes living in the wild.

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

L.D.W.F. Announces Bid Process for Alligator Hunting on WMAs and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Properties for the 2013-2015 Alligator Harvest Seasons

Release Date: 05/09/2013

May 9, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be accepting bids for alligator hunting on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) properties for the 2013-2015 alligator harvest seasons.  Eligible alligator hunters are chosen through a bid system every three years on selected WMAs/USACOE properties.
 
Bids for alligator hunting will be solicited for the following WMAs and USACOE properties: Grassy Lake, Spring Bayou, and Pomme de Terre (Avoyelles Parish), Attakapas (Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary Parishes), Sherburne - USACOE Lands (Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Martin Parishes), Dewey Wills (La Salle and Catahoula Parishes), Manchac (St. John Parish), Pearl River - North of Interstate 10,  Pearl River - Between Interstate 10 and US Hwy 90 and Pearl River - South of US Hwy 90 (St. Tammany Parish), Joyce (Tangipahoa Parish), Maurepas Swamp (St. John, St. James, Ascension, Livingston and Tangipahoa Parishes), Indian Bayou - USACOE property (St. Landry and St. Martin Parishes), Atchafalaya Delta (St. Mary Parish), Pointe-aux-Chenes (Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes), Salvador (St. Charles Parish) and Pass-a-Loutre (Plaquemines Parish).
 
A total of 29 alligator hunting opportunities are available for bid on 13 WMAs and 2 USACOE properties.  The number of alligator tags that will be issued to successful bidders in 2013 will range from 12 to 83 tags depending on area awarded.  For specific details on the number of alligator hunter opportunities and tags available by area, please see the public notice or bid application notification. 
 
Interested participants may review and print out the public notice and bid application notifications and forms from LDWF’s website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/alligator-hunting, or request by phone at the phone numbers below, or request in writing from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2013-2015 WMA Alligator Harvest Bids, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, La. 70898-9000.
 
If additional information is needed, please call the appropriate LDWF office (Hammond 985-543-4777, Opelousas 337-948-0255, Monroe 318-343-4044, New Iberia 337-373-0032, New Orleans 504-284-5264) or send email to LAalligatorprogram@wlf.la.gov.
 
NO guiding/outfitting activities for sport alligator hunting will be allowed while conducting alligator harvest activities on WMAs/USACOE properties.  Selected hunters will not be allowed to participate in any television or reality show production.  Any video activity must be specifically approved by the Alligator Program Manager.
 
An individual can apply and bid on more than one WMA/USACOE property but will only be selected for one WMA/USACOE property.  Bidders applying for more than one area must fill out individual applications for each WMA/USACOE property.  Only one winner allowed per household.
 
Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to submit a bid:

  1. Applicants must be a Louisiana resident at least 18 years of age.
  2. Evidence of previous alligator hunting experience in Louisiana.
  3. Ownership of or access to essential equipment for alligator hunting on the WMA/USACOE property they are bidding on.
  4. Each applicant must be able to report to the WMA/USACOE property each morning until alligator tag quota is completed.
  5. Ability to follow specific instructions issued by Department personnel.
  6. Ability to maintain required records.
  7. All applicants will be screened for past wildlife and criminal violations.  Applicants with felony convictions or with Class Two or above wildlife convictions, WMA/USACOE violations or littering within the last five years, as determined by the Enforcement Division, shall be disqualified.

 
Completed bid application forms must be received by 10 a.m. on June 13, 2013 in Room 240 of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, La. 70898.
 
Bid opening will be held at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building, 4th Floor Conference Room, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.  Winning bidders will be notified of selection by phone and are required to come in and sign a contract at a later date.  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
 
For more information, contact Lance Campbell at 337-373-0032 or ljcampbell@wlf.la.gov.

Waddill Education Center to Host Louisiana Duck Stamp Contest

Release Date: 10/16/2012

Oct. 16, 2012 -- The contest to decide the winning design for the 2013 Louisiana Duck Stamp will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Waddill Wildlife Refuge and Education Center.  The Waddill Wildlife Refuge and Education Center is located at 4142 N. Flannery Rd. in Baton Rouge.

Competing paintings will be on display starting at 9 a.m. in the Education Building and judging will begin at 10 a.m.  The contest is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend.

The Louisiana Legislature authorized the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program in 1988 to generate revenues for conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and habitats in Louisiana.  During the last 22 years, over $10 million has been generated for wetland conservation with approximately $5 million spent on land acquisition.

In addition, revenues have supported wetland development projects on Wildlife Management Areas and the Louisiana Waterfowl Project, a cooperative endeavor between LDWF, Ducks Unlimited and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service to provide habitat for waterfowl and other wetland birds on private lands.

The Louisiana Duck Stamp contest has traditionally attracted high-quality artwork from across the country as evidenced by the outstanding designs that have graced our annual Waterfowl Conservation stamps.

Judges include professional waterfowl biologists, artists, and art dealers with expertise in waterfowl morphology and habitat as well as artistic methods and style that combine to create a beautiful stamp.

For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at 225-765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for D’Arbonne Lake

Release Date: 05/22/2012

(May 22, 2012) – The water control structure on D’Arbonne Lake near Farmerville will be opened soon after Labor Day to conduct a lake drawdown.  The lake will be lowered five feet below pool stage and will remain lowered until December 15, 2012.

This action is taken in coordination with the Bayou D’Arbonne Lake Watershed District to allow for shoreline maintenance and to assist with the control of nuisance aquatic vegetation. 

D’Arbonne Lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown, but caution is advised of anglers as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions.

For further information regarding the drawdown, contact Ryan Daniel, LDWF Biologist Manager, at (318) 343-4044.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

LDWF to Hold Summer Day Camps in Baton Rouge

Release Date: 05/11/2012

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is sponsoring two summer day camps for children 12 to 16 years old at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge this summer.

The camps will be held from June 25-29 and again from July 23-27.  Each camp is completely free of charge and will allow participants to receive their official boater and hunter education certifications.

LDWF will also offer a fish identification class, fishing and canoeing in the ponds at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, skeet shooting, and other outdoor related classes and activities.

"Last year’s first ever summer camp proved so successful that we wanted to do two this year.  These camps provide a lot of time for learning classroom material that the children then get a chance to utilize with hands on activities immediately outside later that same day,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “For a week, parents have the chance to let their kids become sportsmen and women in a safe, supervised environment.”

The Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are providing a daily lunch free of charge for the five-day summer camps.  Cabela's in Gonzales also donated rod and reel combo sets for each child that they can take home at the end of the camp.

The camps are open to 25 children per camp who have not completed a boater or hunter education certificate.

To register for the camps, parents must fill out the online application located at www.wlf.louisiana.gov/summerdaycamp2012 by May 25.  Parents must fill out a separate application for each child they wish to register and may only register their child for one of the camps.

Since the main goal of these camps is to introduce and teach kids about the outdoors, LDWF will choose the 25 kids for each camp based on the child’s lack of experience with fishing, boating and hunting.  LDWF will notify parents by either email or phone if their child has been selected for the camps.

“We want to teach children how much fun and exciting it can be by spending time outside enjoying all that Louisiana has to offer,” said Secretary Barham.  “These camps also get the kids out of the house away from their video games and computers for a week during their summer break.  They will catch some fish, paddle canoes and shoot skeet and for some this might be their first time ever doing any of these activities.”

Parents with children that have been selected for either camp, must drop off their child at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center located at 4142 North Flannery Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70814 between 7 and 8 a.m., and then pick their child up between 4 and 5 p.m. each day.  Attendance every day of the week is mandatory in order to receive the boating and hunting education certifications.

The boating education course is mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 and proof of completion of the course is necessary to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.  The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

The hunter education course is mandatory for anyone born on or after Sept. 1, 1969, who plans on purchasing a hunting license.  The hunter education curriculum includes sections on ethics and responsibility, wildlife management, firearms and ammunition, safety in the field, wildlife identification and wildlife conservation.  The major objectives of the hunter education programs are to reduce the number of hunting accidents, improve the image of hunting through ethical and responsible conduct and promote the shooting sports.

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

December 2011 Survey

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L.W.F.C. Welcomes New Commissioner, Elects Chairman and Vice Chairman

Release Date: 01/05/2012

January 5, 2012 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) today welcomed Pat Manuel of Eunice to the appointed panel. Governor Bobby Jindal announced the appointment of Manuel in December, replacing Pat Morrow, whose term had expired.

Manuel will serve as an at large representative on the commission, as required by statute. He owns and operates Manco Vegetation Management.

In other action, the commission elected Ann Taylor as chairman and Ronny Graham as vice chairman for 2012.

The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission was created to protect, conserve and replenish the natural resources and wildlife of the state, including all aquatic life. The commission promulgates regulations for hunting, fishing and trapping and approves programs and policies for the management and conservation of all fish and wildlife in the state. 

According to the statute, the commission is comprised of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to senate confirmation.  Members include three residents of the coastal parishes of the state who are representatives of the commercial fishing and fur industries and four members from the state at large.

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

 

 

L.D.W.F. Receives Second Group of Whooping Cranes at White Lake W.C.A. as Part of Restoration Project

Release Date: 12/05/2011

Dec. 5, 2011– A second group of juvenile whooping cranes was delivered Dec. 1 to White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Gueydan as part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) species’ restoration project in progress.

“Our biologists will continue their work to establish a non-migratory population of whooping cranes in coastal Louisiana to assist with this endangered species recovery effort,” said Robert Barham, LDWF Secretary.

Sixteen whooping cranes were flown to southwest Louisiana on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) aircraft from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. The White Lake location in Vermilion Parish is the site where 10 whooping cranes, the first cohort in the long-term restoration, were released in March. That group of birds marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

"This is an impressive project launched by the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to bring the whooping crane back to this part of its historic range and marks a bold step for its ultimate recovery," said Cindy Dohner, USFWS Southeast Regional Director. "We are excited about their work and proud of our partnership with Secretary Barham and his agency as we continue working together to bring this majestic bird back to Louisiana."

LDWF continues to work cooperatively with USFWS, USGS, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit  and the International Crane Foundation to bring the species back to the state. Project funding is derived from LDWF species restoration dedicated funds, federal grants and private/corporate donations.

"The USFWS Migratory Bird Program is honored to participate in the efforts of adding additional birds to the group of reintroduced wild whooping cranes to Louisiana." says Jerome Ford,  Assistant Director,Migratory Birds Program."Our pilot biologists werethrilled to contribute by using their Kodiak planes to ensure the whooping cranes’ safearrival."

The whooping cranes Louisiana receives are designated as a non-essential, experimental population (NEP) under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. This designation and its implementing regulation were developed to be more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.

Of the 10 cranes released in March from White Lake, three have survived and continue to be tracked by transmitter devices attached to each bird.  Two cranes were killed by predators, one was euthanized due to illness, two are missing and unaccounted for and two were shot and killed on Oct. 9 in Jefferson Davis Parish. LDWF Enforcement Division agents have charged two juveniles, who were alleged to have been involved with the two crane deaths on Oct. 9, with taking non-game birds/no season.

Hunters, fishermen and anyone who spends time in the marshes and rice fields of southwest Louisiana should welcome the opportunity to see these magnificent birds. Although whooping cranes in Louisiana are considered an “experimental, non-essential population” under the Endangered Species Act, they are still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and cannot be pursued, harassed, captured or killed.

Waterfowl hunters should be accustomed to seeing large-bodied, white birds with black wing-tips, such as white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, which must be distinguished from the legally-hunted snow geese.  Mature whooping cranes are equally identifiable as they stand five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7-8 feet. Easily identifiable characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail. Standing whooping cranes also exhibit the bustle of rump feathers more pronounced than other large white birds.

Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to report that information to LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-251 or using the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge. CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender. 

For more information on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov; or contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-7292. News media outlets interested in visiting the White Lake WCA facility can contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115. For photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

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