L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

LDWF Warns of Panther Hoaxes in Louisiana

Release Date: 11/26/2013

Nov. 26, 2013 -- Black panther in northwest Louisiana?  Well it says so on Facebook, so it must be true! Not!

Every year, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries gets dozens of reported sightings of large cats, both tan and black.  When investigated, almost all of these claims turn out to be more common species such as house cats, bobcats, otters, dogs, or even feral hogs.

“But my buddy has a picture on his game camera!”  For the past two weeks, a picture of a black leopard has been circulating throughout northwest Louisiana with the claim that it came from a local game camera.  This stirred local interest among those who believed it was the evidence needed to prove the existence of black panthers in Louisiana.  Unfortunately, this identical picture was also posted on wildlife forums and Facebook in Tennessee on Nov.  8, North Carolina on Oct. 22, and Georgia on Oct. 1.  Where does the picture originate?  Africa. (http://showme.co.za/nelspruit/news/chasing-mpumalangas-black-leopard/). 

A similar picture of a mountain lion, supposedly taken in Louisiana, has been circulating through southern Louisiana.  That picture originated in Minnesota. What does this all mean?  Be a skeptic and don’t believe everything you see on social media.

“But cougars exist in the United States!”  While the mountain lion/cougar/panther is native to the United States, Louisiana does not have a population of these large felines.  There are some claims of mountain lions that, after investigation, turn out to be legitimate cougars.  Individual sightings were verified in 2002, 2008 and 2011.  These are likely young individuals dispersing from existing populations or escaped ‘pets’.  Cougars from populations in surrounding states can travel hundreds of miles and may visit Louisiana on rare occasions. 

As for the black cat variety, no claim has ever been authenticated.  Black jaguars and black leopards are not native to the United States.  Jaguars are from Central and South America and leopards are from Africa.  Jaguars have been reported crossing the Mexican border into southern Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, yet are the spotted variety and are found in the dense chaparral and brush lands.  This is not to say that individuals may never escape from a zoo or be purposefully released by someone whose exotic pet has gotten too big, but the odds are the same as seeing a zebra in your food plot.  Possible, but not probable. 

“But I’ve seen one in my back yard!”  If you are able to photograph a large cat believed to be a non-native species that could be a threat to domestic animals and people, contact your local LDWF Wildlife Division field office. Field office contact information is available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife-field-offices-and-telephone-numbers .

In addition to photos, evidence such as tracks, cache (stored kill), scat, and hair help biologists identify the animal and any additional course of action necessary.

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/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For more information, contact David Hayden at 318-487-5885 or dhayden@wlf.la.gov .

 

Practice and Promote Firearm Safety during Hunting Season

Release Date: 11/25/2013

Nov. 25, 2013 -- With the hunting season in full swing, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is joining with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to remind hunters that safety remains at the core of America’s hunting traditions.

“This is a time of year when a lot of firearms are in use and in transport,” said Fred Kimmel, LDWF Education Program Manager. “We want everyone who enjoys hunting opportunities in Louisiana to know that materials and resources are available to provide education and important reminders about how to be safe with their firearms in the field, on the range, at home and everywhere in between.”

NSSF’s campaign, “The Hunt isn’t Over Until You Are S.A.F.E.” is part of the Project ChildSafe program, which NSSF launched in 1998.  S.A.F.E. is an acronym for Secure your firearms when not in use; Be Aware of those around you who should not have unauthorized access to firearms; Focus on your responsibility as a firearm owner and Educate yourself and others about safe firearm handling and storage. Project ChildSafe emphasizes safely securing firearms when they are not in use as the #1 way to prevent firearm accidents.

To complement Louisiana’s hunter safety programs, NSSF has made several resources available, which can be found on THE PROJECT CHILDSAFE WEBSITE (http://www.projectchildsafe.org). These include:

“We’re very thankful to have the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ help in getting this information out to hunters—we want to help everyone hunt responsibly, return home safe and securely store their unloaded firearms,” said NSSF CEO Steve Sanetti. “The more we can get this information in the hands of hunters and others in the shooting sports community, and the more that gun owners can do to share these messages with others, the more we can help prevent firearm accidents.”

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing habitats to sustain and protect fish and wildlife species, as well as to provide quality outdoor recreation for the public and education on the use of those resources.

For more information: visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, at www.facebook.com/ldwffb; on Twitter @LDWF; or by contacting Fred Kimmel at fkimmel@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2355.

 

LDWF Stocks Red River

Release Date: 11/22/2013

LDWF Stocks Red River
LDWF Stocks Red River

Nov. 22, 2013 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, in cooperation with the Red River Waterway Commission, recently stocked the Red River with over 28,000 Florida strain largemouth bass fingerlings.

This endeavor is a renewal of cooperative stocking efforts between the two agencies.  The RRWC has agreed to a five-year plan to stock $50,000 worth of bass fingerlings annually into the five pools of the Red River.

The fingerlings were evenly distributed amongst the five pools of the river in order to improve fishing opportunities for the recreational angler.  The fish range in size between 4 and 7 inches.

“These fish should have a huge impact on recreational fishing,” explained LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “A few years from now, some of these fish will grow to be 10 pounds or more.”

The fish were purchased by the Red River Waterway Commission from the American Sportfish Hatchery.  The Department will assist with releasing 12,000 more fish by the end of the year, including a stocking on December 5 in Avoyelles Parish.

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/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8733.

Shooting Range Safety Zones Established on LDWF Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 11/22/2013

Nov. 22, 2013 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Wildlife Division has established and enhanced safety zones surrounding shooting ranges on three Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).

The affected WMAs include Bodcau, Pearl River and Sherburne WMAs. The Woodworth Shooting Range within Alexander State Forest WMA already had a designated safety zone established.

The Department wants to remind the public to consult with your local LDWF field office for hours of operation and rules on all WMA ranges and rules.  Information and maps for individual ranges as well as the associated safety zones may also be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/shooting-ranges.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Wildlife Management Area Program is charged with providing necessary habitats to manage and protect both game and non-game wildlife, as well as to provide quality outdoor recreation for the public.

For more information: visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, at www.facebook.com/ldwffb; on Twitter @LDWF; or by contacting Steve Smith at ssmith@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2359; or Fred Kimmel at fkimmel@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2355.

Waterfowl Hunting on Bussey Brake WMA Not Permitted

Release Date: 11/21/2013

Nov. 21, 2013 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising hunters that waterfowl hunting on Bussey Brake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is not permitted this hunting season.
 
At their Nov. 7 meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission established Bussey Brake Reservoir as a WMA. Bussey Brake consists of 2,614 acres in Morehouse Parish and is primarily a lake with water front acreage, acquired by LDWF in July 2013 via donation from International Paper Company.
 
Bussey Brake  was donated and incorporated into the WMA program after the 2013-14 hunting season dates were established. Consideration for hunting opportunities on the WMA will be made for future hunting seasons, but hunting is currently not allowed due to lake renovations being undertaken by the Office of Fisheries. 
 
After donation from International Paper, the Department began to drain the lake in order to completely renovate the reservoir’s fish population, which will include stocking the water body with popular gamefish including bass, bream, catfish and crappie.
 
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/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
 
For more information, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

 

Bundick Lake Drawdown Modified

Release Date: 11/20/2013

 

(Nov. 20, 2013) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has opted to modify the Bundick Lake drawdown in Beauregard Parish to enable completion of several essential improvement projects around the lake.

At the request of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury, the drawdown was modified from 5 feet to 7 feet below pool elevation.  The final gate closure ending the drawdown remains scheduled for January 15, 2014.

Both the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the Beauregard Parish Police Jury are conducting maintenance and improvements in conjunction with the drawdown.

Lake improvements include:

  • Repairs to the drawdown structure (completed);
  • construction of a new pier at the spillway launch (completed);
  • repairs and improvements to the Hopewell Bridge launch (in progress);
  • stump removal and installation of new boat lane markers (in progress);
  • debris removal in access canals (in progress);
  • vegetation removal near spillway and drawdown structure (completed);
  • and repair and maintenance of the concrete spillway (in progress). 

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/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8733.

 

Monterrey Man Arrested for Illegally Killing Black Bear

Release Date: 11/20/2013

A Monterrey man turned himself into the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 18 for allegedly illegally killing a Louisiana Black Bear.
 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents got an arrest warrant for Duell Moreland, 23, on Nov. 14 for his alleged role in the illegal killing of a black bear.
 
Agents began the investigation after receiving a mortality signal from a radio collared black bear that was a part of LDWF’s Black Bear Program.  A mortality signal is sent after a certain amount of inactivity.
 
Upon arriving to the scene of the radio collar off of Pete Davis Road in Wildsville in Concordia Parish, agents found the collar and a burn pile next to the collar containing bear parts.  Agents also noticed an abandoned broke down pickup truck on the property that they later found belonged to Moreland.
 
Agents interviewed the two leaseholders of the property whom both disclosed that Moreland was the person responsible for the illegal killing of the black bear.  Agents seized a rifle and crossbow from Moreland’s truck and a knife from the scene.

If he is found guilty, Moreland faces a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  He could also be subjected to a civil restitution fee up to $10,000 for the replacement value of the bear. The investigation is still ongoing.

Agents assisting in the case are Senior Agent Joey Merrill and US Fish and Wildlife Agents Mark Cupit and John Tarver.

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

 

LDWF Honors Volunteer Taggers

Release Date: 11/18/2013

Andre Thomas, top red snapper tagger, pictured with LDWF Biologist Supervisor Heather David
Ross Barkhurst, top redfish tagger, pictured with LDWF Biologist Supervisor Heather David

(Nov. 18, 2013) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana honored volunteer fish taggers throughout the state at the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program awards banquet on November 7, held at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, La.

The program relies on a group of dedicated and well-trained volunteer taggers and honors those volunteer anglers who out-tagged their colleagues with 10 fish or more during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. 

The anglers, who originally tag a fish get notification of the re-capture and a certificate of their achievement.  “It’s incredibly rewarding to see a tag that I deployed come back,” said volunteer angler Jerrod J.W. Meche.  “It’s a great feeling to catch and release these fish and to also know that my efforts could help better understand these species is amazing.  It’s a highlight of my angling career.”

Volunteers tagged more than 10,102 fish during the year, and since the program began in the 1980s, over 161,000 have been tagged and of those nearly 5,100 have been recaptured.

“We’re pleased to recognize the dedication of our outstanding group of volunteer anglers who make the Tagging Program possible,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “Each of these volunteers should be commended for their contributions to fisheries science and conservation.”

This year’s Tagger Award winners were:

Most Tagged Fish Overall
Joseph Ingram, 936 fish

Most Tagged Redfish
Ross Barkhurst, 924 redfish

Most Tagged Speckled Trout
Dr. Victor E. Tedesco, 785 speckled trout

Most Tagged Red Snapper
Andre Thomas, 70 red snapper

Most Tagged Yellowfin Tuna
Woody Woods, 17 yellowfin tuna

In addition, volunteers who tagged 100 fish or more were honored as members of the tagging program’s “Century Club.”  Fourteen taggers received this distinction including Joseph Ingram, Ross Barkhurst, Dr. Victor E. Tedesco, Jeff Bavar, Bob Bateman, Clark Cormier, Andre Thomas, Pat Olivier, Kyle Leger, Diane and Norman Norton, Steve Fourrier, Jerrod J.W. Meche and Kenneth LeCompte.

“Citizen science is an essential component of this program,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “Anglers can take an active role in aiding biologists in the collection of important information which otherwise would not be possible. It is through the data collected from our tagging program that provides us with crucial information such as growth rates, longevity, migratory patterns and habitat utilization.”

One exciting thing the Department has learned through taggers’ data is there is a higher recapture rate for yellowfin tuna than any other species.  This is a highly migratory species, so understanding the behavior of tuna is integral to so many aspects of improved practices and management.

The Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program is a cooperative effort between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, universities, non-profit organizations and volunteer anglers.  Program goals include educating anglers on fisheries management and conservation and opening communication between researchers and anglers. 

LDWF urges interested saltwater anglers to join the program.  Tagging kits and program materials are provided at no charge.  For more information about the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Fish Tagging Program, contact us by calling 1-800-567-2182, via Facebook at www.facebook.com/tag/louisiana or email Fishtags@wlf.la.gov.

The 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/ldwffb, or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (504) 286-8733 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.

 

 

Baton Rouge Man Cited for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/18/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Baton Rouge man for alleged deer hunting violations on Nov. 15 in East Feliciana Parish.

Agents cited Adam Bedell, 30, for taking deer using illegal methods, criminal trespassing, intentional concealment of wildlife, possession of illegally taken deer, failing to abide by deer tagging requirements, failing to wear hunter’s orange, and not possessing hunting and big game licenses.

Agents received a tip from a landowner about a person walking on private property transporting deer parts.  Agents located Bedell on the property with the deer parts of a freshly harvested eight point deer and a .243 rifle.

Bedell did not possess his resident hunting and big game licenses and was not wearing any hunter’s orange.

After searching Bedell’s truck, agents found deer blood and hair at which time Bedell admitted to harvesting a doe deer on Nov. 6 in East Baton Rouge Parish with his .243 rifle.

The areas where Bedell was hunting is only open to Primitive Firearms and Archery until Nov. 16 at which time modern firearms may then be used.  Bedell’s .243 rifle does not qualify for the Primitive Firearms season.

Intentional concealment of a deer carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Possession of an illegally taken deer brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Criminal trespassing brings a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Taking deer using illegal methods carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Hunting without a hunting and big game licenses and without hunter’s orange each bring up to a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

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

LDWF Agents Cite Pineville Man For Commercial Fish Violations

Release Date: 11/15/2013

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Pineville man for alleged commercial fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Nov. 12.

Agents cited Jason A. Wilkerson, 23, after an anonymous compliant was called in saying he was transporting a large amount of black drum illegally.

Agents spotted the vehicle in Belle Chasse and saw that the bed of the truck full of black drum.  Agents performed a vehicle stop on the truck where Wilkerson identified himself as the fisherman and produced resident commercial fishing licenses.

Upon investigation, agents determined that Wilkerson obtained his resident vessel and fishing licenses by fraud since he is not a bona fide Louisiana resident.

Agents cited Wilkerson for taking commercial fish without non-resident commercial fishing licenses, non-resident gear licenses, and non-resident vessel licenses.  Investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed regarding obtaining commercial fishing by fraud.

Each of the license violations carries a maximum penalty of $500 and up to 90 days of jail.

Agents seized a total of 2,346 pounds of black drum.

Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio, and Senior Agent Robert Cosse Jr.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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