LDWF News

LDWF News Release

LDWF Accepting Lottery Applications for Waterfowl Hunts at Sherburne WMA South Farm Wetland Development Area

Release Date: 08/02/2016

Aug. 2, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is accepting applications for waterfowl lottery hunts to be held at the South Farm Wetland Development Area at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for the 2016-17 hunting season.
 
These special hunts are restricted to hunters selected through the lottery application process. Details on the qualifications, application requirements and dates of the hunts are listed on the application form.
 
Successful applicants will be selected by a random computer drawing.  Applications for the lottery must be submitted to LDWF by Sept. 30. A $5 administrative fee must be submitted with each application.
 
Applications and more information may be obtained by contacting your local LDWF field office or by visiting the LDWF web site at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/lottery-hunts .
 
Applications may be delivered in person to Room 442 of the LDWF headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Dr. in Baton Rouge or by mail.  The mailing address is: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000.
 
For more information, contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or tvidrine@wlf.la.gov.

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AMENDED - August 2016 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

Release Date: 08/01/2016

AMENDED - August 2016 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Meeting Agenda

 

AGENDA ITEM ADDED

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, August 4, 2016, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

The following items will be discussed:

1.    Call to Order     

2.    Pledge of Allegiance

3.    Roll Call

4.    Approval of July 07, 2016 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.    Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6.    To hear Enforcement Reports July 2016

7.    Old Business        

8.    To recognize the National Archery in Schools Program National and World Champions

9.    To consider a Declaration of Emergency setting the 2016 Fall Inshore Shrimp Season

10.  To hear a presentation on Cervid Carcass Importation Ban Notice and summary of public comments received on the Cervid Carcass Importation Ban Notice of Intent

11.  To consider a Resolution to add property to Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area

12.  To hear and consider suggestions for Public Hearing dates on Cervid Carcass Importation Ban

13.  Set December 2016 Meeting Date

14.  Receive Public Comments

15.  Adjournment

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com.  To attend this meeting via webinar visit:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4738330343073561860
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

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Gov. John Bel Edwards Appoints Jerri G. Smitko to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

Release Date: 08/01/2016

Jerri G. Smitko

Aug. 1, 2016 – Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed Jerri G. Smitko of Houma to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC). Smitko, who will serve as an elector of the coastal parishes and a representative of commercial fishing and fur industries, is an attorney and the owner of Smitko Law, APLC, in Houma.
 
Smitko, whose term runs until Jan. 7, 2022, will make her first appearance on the board during Thursday’s LWFC August meeting in Baton Rouge.
 
“As a lifelong sportswoman, a licensed commercial fisherman and an attorney with more than 30 years in practice, I understand how important the law is in protecting our natural resources,’’ said Smitko, who has one son, Maxwell Smitko. “I also have a deep appreciation for those who rely on those resources for their livelihood, sustenance and enjoyment. I am eager to champion the causes of our commercial fishermen and trappers who have served as the backbone of the bayou communities for generations.’’
 
Among her many positions held since graduating from Tulane Law School in 1986, Smitko was chair of the Louisiana Indigent Defense Assistance Board from 2006-09, was on the board of directors for the Terrebonne Parish Indigent Defenders Office from 2000-06 and on the board of commissioners of the Terrebonne General Hospital Service District No. 1 from 1997-2009.
 
She was also special legal counsel to Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government from 1992-98 and the assistant parish attorney for the same body from 1988-92.
 
Smitko is a member of the American Bar Association, Louisiana and Terrebonne Parish bar associations and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. She served in the Louisiana Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve until her honorable discharge in 1985.

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August 2016 LA Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to Meet

Release Date: 08/01/2016

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, August 4, 2016, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

The following items will be discussed:

1.     Call to Order         

2.     Pledge of Allegiance

3.     Roll Call

4.     Approval of July 07, 2016 Commission Meeting Minutes

5.     Commission Special Announcements / Personal Privilege

6.     To hear Enforcement Reports July 2016

7.     Old Business         

8.     To recognize the National Archery in Schools Program National and World Champions

9.     To consider a Declaration of Emergency setting the 2016 Fall Inshore Shrimp Season

10.  To hear a presentation on Cervid Carcass Importation Ban Notice and summary of public comments received on the Cervid Carcass Importation Ban Notice of Intent

11.  To hear and consider suggestions for Public Hearing dates on Cervid Carcass Importation Ban

12.  Set December 2016 Meeting Date

13.  Receive Public Comments

14.  Adjournment 

A live audio/video stream of this meeting will be available via Gotowebinar.com. To
attend this meeting via webinar visit: attend this meeting via webinar visit:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the
webinar.
 
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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts,
signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

LDWF/LSU Research Indicates Feral Hogs Have Negative Impact on Water Quality in Some Central Louisiana Water Bodies

Release Date: 07/29/2016

July 29, 2016 – The proliferation of feral hogs in Louisiana has been well documented as have many of the negative impacts on wildlife.
 
But a research project by the LSU Agricultural Center’s School of Renewable Natural Resources in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries shows that feral hogs, recorded in all 64 parishes, are having a similarly detrimental effect on water quality on some water bodies in central Louisiana between Alexandria and Natchitoches.
 
The research, conducted from June 18-Sept. 1 in 2015, revealed that pathogens were extensive in sampled water bodies on private lands adjacent to Kisatchie National Forest and were regularly associated with feral hogs. The water at all 40 sites in the study contained one or more pathogens that were potentially unsafe for human or wildlife contact.
 
Of particular concern, of the 40 sites sampled, DNA fingerprinting positively matched 22 sites with high levels of E. coli in the water with fecal samples obtained from feral hogs both within and outside the areas sampled.
 
Additionally, salmonella was found at 38 of 40 sites. Both pathogens are considered harmful to both humans and wildlife. Associations were also noted between feral hog presence, heterotrophic bacteria counts (a measure of overall bacteria amount in the water) and microbes that could cause leptospirosis, yersinosis and Klebsiella pneumonia.
 
For wildlife, the diseases could have devastating effects. Leptospira spp. can cause kidney damage and loss of renal function in squirrels, raccoons and white-tailed deer.  Leptospira has caused abortions in white-tailed deer and many other mammals. Salmonella spp. can infect wild turkeys and other wild birds resulting in liver damage, severe diarrhea and death. Klebsiella spp. can cause sinusitis and pneumonia in wild birds and turkeys. Yersinia spp. can cause gastroenteritis in white-tailed deer and raccoons, and severe overwinter mortality has been observed in wild migratory birds.
 
Water quality in this region has suffered greatly on both privately and publicly owned land as the feral hog population has continued to expand, according to the report. Feral hogs are known carriers of more than 30 bacterial and viral diseases, including many pathogens than can be spread through contact with water.
 
“We learned through this study that there are some alarming pathogens in the water and feral hogs are implicated in the spread of these pathogens,’’ said Scott Durham, LDWF Director of Species Management. 
 
The impact to humans and wildlife in the region is particular cause for concern. Many recreational activities in these areas, including swimming, kayaking and hunting, could put humans in direct contact with these pathogens. Humans can become gravely ill from some of these diseases if misdiagnosed or untreated.
 
“Given the socio-cultural and economic importance of these species, loss of individuals, reduced condition and reduced fitness could have serious implications for human recreation and local economies,’’ the report said.
 
DNA fingerprinting indicated that feral hog family groups were moving or being moved great distances in the region, up to about 30 miles at a time.
 
Collaborative feral hog management between local landowners and public land managers is recommended in the study.
 
“This study provides incredibly significant findings, illuminating the real threat to wildlife populations and human health from this feral animal’s increasing presence across the state,’’ Durham said. “One way to help is to never transport feral hogs. In fact, it’s illegal to transport and release them. We need to develop ways to remove whole sounders (herds) of feral hogs, not just nickel and dime a few pigs at a time. You have to get rid of the whole sounder.’’
 
Click here to see the complete report.

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Agents Cite Men for Closed Season Shrimping In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 07/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited two men for alleged shrimping violations on July 26 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Thuong Nguyen, 59, and Steven Nguyen, 27, both of Buras, for using skimmers in a closed season.

The agents were responding to complaints of illegal shrimping taking place in the Buras area.  During the stop agents seized and returned 75 pounds of shrimp to the water.

Using skimmers in a closed season carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail plus forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Villerie Reggio and Agent Kyle Haydel.

Belle Chasse Man Cited for Illegal Shrimping

Release Date: 07/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged shrimping violations on July 29 in Plaquemines Parish.

Agents cited Sang V. Pham 57, for using skimmers in a closed season.  Agents received complaints about a vessel illegally catching shrimp in Blind Bay.  Agents observed Pham with his skimmers in the water around 10:50 a.m.

Pham then pulled the skimmers up and the nets were closed with shrimp and bycatch inside the net.  Agents made contact with Pham and found him in possession of about 25 pounds of shrimp.

Using skimmers in a closed season brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail and forfeiture of anything seized.

In addition for the first conviction of shrimping during the closed season, the court may revoke or suspend the violator's trawl, skimmer, or butterfly gear licenses for one year from the date of the conviction.  During such revocation or suspension, the violator may be present on a vessel harvesting or possessing shrimp or possessing a trawl, skimmer, or butterfly net only if the vessel is equipped with and employs an operating vessel monitoring system which is accessible to LDWF.  The violator may also have to perform 40 hours of community service.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Todd Laviolette and Lt. Louis Burnett.

LDWF Continues to Monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease in State’s White-tailed Deer Population, Takes Steps to Prevent its Introduction

Release Date: 07/29/2016

July 29, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries continues to monitor for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer in Louisiana and has stepped up preventative efforts as CWD has been discovered in Texas and Arkansas.
 
LDWF veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour said the disease, for which there is no cure, has not been found in Louisiana. However, it is important to be prepared in the event it does, and to take precautionary steps to minimize its introduction.
 
“We’ve been monitoring for CWD statewide for more than 10 years,” Deer Management Assistance Program coordinator Jimmy Ernst said, “and have checked 7,000-plus deer and have not discovered it. We are being proactive because it’s in our neighboring states (Texas and Arkansas) and its close enough that we need to be on guard.’’
 
An importation ban on carcasses of cervids harvested out-of-state was proposed by LDWF during the July Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting and is in the public comment period. The ban defines a cervid as animals of the family Cervidae including but not limited to white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, caribou, fallow deer, axis deer, sika deer, red deer and reindeer. 
 
The proposed ban would prohibit the importation of cervid carcasses except for deboned meat, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.
 
This proposed ban is strictly for the purpose of reducing the likelihood that CWD will enter Louisiana through carcass importation.  Approved parts and deboned meat from other states must contain a possession tag with the hunter’s name, out-of-state license number (if required), address, species, date and location (county and state) of harvest.  Each state has different possession requirements for game once processed.  Always check with the appropriate state to ensure possession requirements are met.
 
To view the full notice of intent, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
 
Public comment can be submitted in writing by mail to: Johnathan Bordelon, LDWF Wildlife Division, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to jbordelon@wlf.la.gov until 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2016.
 
CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk,  mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It’s part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is similar to BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease) of cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue which leads to salivation, neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.
 
CWD is caused by prions, which are proteins normally found in the body, which have mutated. These prions kill nerve cells and cause holes to develop in the brain tissue. They are spread through direct deer-to-deer contact or through contact with urine, feces, saliva and body parts of infected deer or infectious materials in the soil.
 
Decomposing body parts of dead, infected deer also contaminate the soil.  Plants growing in that soil can take up the prions. Deer feeding in areas with contaminated soil or plants can ingest the prions and become infected. The prions remain in the environment for years, and to date there is no practical method of decontaminating an infected area.
 
CWD is different from hemorrhagic disease (epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus and/ or bluetongue virus), which is a virus spread by bites from infected insects.
 
Deer infected with CWD can spread the disease even before symptoms develop. It can take one to two years for infected animals to become symptomatic. When symptoms appear they can include emaciation, lethargy, abnormal behavior and loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, teeth grinding and drooping ears.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) there is no evidence that CWD can infect humans. However, the CDCP recommends caution when handling venison from infected regions and recommends not consuming meat from infected animals.
 
CWD has been documented in 23 states and two Canadian provinces.
 
Though Louisiana has yet to see a single case of CWD, Ernst and LaCour said the LDWF has developed a plan should the disease be found here.
 
Ernst said the LDWF will remain vigilant in testing and enacting preventative measures against CWD introduction into Louisiana.  Working with Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) to prevent importation of potential CWD infected animals into the state through the LDAF licensed deer pen program is a continuing effort of LDWF.
 
Live transport of animals into the state has been prohibited by LDWF since 1998 and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry placed a moratorium on cervid importation into their licensed facilities in 2012 due to the threat of CWD.
 
For more information, contact Johnathan Bordelon at jbordelon@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2344.
 
More information on CWD can be found on the following websites:
 
LDWF CWD FAQ page
 
http://cwd-info.org/
 
http://vet.uga.edu/population_health_files/briefs/2016_APR_SCWDS_Briefs_FINAL.pdf
 
https://www.qdma.com/articles/10-reasons-you-dont-want-cwd-in-your-woods
 
 
 

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Shrimp Season to Close August 1st in Mississippi Sound

Release Date: 07/28/2016

July 28, 2016 – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the 2016 spring inshore shrimp season will close at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 1st, in the remainder of state inside waters except for the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds.  This action closes shrimping in the open waters of the Mississippi Sound.

Effective with this closure, all state inside waters will be closed to shrimping except for the open waters of Breton and Chandeleur Sounds as described by the double–rig line in R.S. 56:495.1(A)2.  All state outside waters seaward of the Inside/Outside shrimp line will remain open to shrimp harvesting until further notice.

Data collected in recent weeks by LDWF biologists indicate increased quantity, distribution and percentage of small, juvenile white shrimp within these waters. The decision to close these waters was made to protect these developing shrimp and provide opportunity for growth to larger and more marketable sizes. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission will meet on August 4th to consider opening dates for the fall inshore shrimp season.

For a map detailing areas that will remain open, click here:
 

For more information, contact Jeff Marx at (337) 373-0032 or jmarx@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF Schedules Drawdown for Henderson Lake

Release Date: 07/28/2016

(July 28, 2016)  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is working with St. Martin Parish Government, the town of Henderson, and the US Army Corp of Engineers to conduct a drawdown on Henderson Lake in St. Martin Parish.  Drawdown gates are scheduled for opening by the St. Martin Parish government during the first week of August, 2016.  Water levels will be lowered 2 to 4 inches per day to the desired level of 3 feet below normal pool stage.  The drawdown gates are scheduled for closure on November 1, 2016 to allow the lake to refill for winter and early-spring recreational activities.

The drawdown is part of an integrated management plan to control nuisance aquatic plants, primarily hydrilla, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia.  The drawdown will also improve sport fish habitat by drying and compacting bottom sediments, which allows for improved fish reproduction conditions.

The drawdown will expose shallow flats that are located throughout the lake to air and sunlight. These shallow areas are some of the most problematic locations for invasive aquatic plants. 

Although the lake will not be closed to fishing, caution is advised of boaters during the low water period as boat lanes will not provide normal clearance for underwater obstructions, in particular cypress stumps throughout the lake.

This action is a necessary component of LDWF’s integrated management plan to control overabundant aquatic vegetation growth and to improve the Henderson Lake sport fishery.   

The current LDWF Lake Henderson Management Plan can be viewed at:   http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/waterbody-management-plans-inland   

For additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Brac Salyers, LDWF Biologist Manager, at bsalyers@wlf.la.gov or (337) 373-0032. 

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.la.gov. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

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