LDWF News

LDWF News Release

$10,000 Reward Offered for Information on Shooting of Endangered Whooping Crane in Vermilion Parish

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are looking for leads regarding an endangered whooping crane that was found shot in Vermilion Parish.

The crane was found just south of Zaunbrecher Road and north of Gueydan on Nov. 2 with an apparent bullet wound to her upper left leg. The bird was transported to the LSU Vet School where she was euthanized on Nov. 3. A necropsy result received on Jan. 8 confirmed that the crane was shot in the leg.

Up to $10,000 is being offered by various groups for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of this whooping crane. LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are each offering a reward of $1,000; The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering up to $5,000; and the department secured $3,000 from anonymous donors.

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

Julia Breaux, Louisiana state director for The HSUS, said: “Killing a whooping crane is a serious crime. We are grateful to LDWF Enforcement Division agents for their critical work to stop the poaching of these birds, which undermines the agency’s efforts to restore and protect whooping cranes in Louisiana.  We urge anyone with information to step forward so the offender may be brought to justice.”

Anyone with information regarding this illegal killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF’s tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, residents can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge. The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day. Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

LDWF has released 64 whooping cranes since 2011 and are currently tracking 40 whooping cranes.  The crane in this case had been released in January of 2014 and represents the sixth whooping crane found shot since the birds were released.

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 resident and migratory populations 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.

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

Joyce WMA Boardwalk Reopened

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Jan. 21, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the Joyce Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Swamp Walk has reopened.  The Swamp Walk has been closed since August 2012 due to damage sustained from Hurricane Isaac and construction of the new boardwalk began in May 2014.  The original Swamp Walk opened in July 1990 and has been a popular attraction on Joyce WMA throughout the years.
 
The Swamp Walk is located south of Ponchatoula and east of Interstate 55.  It is accessed by taking exit 22 on Interstate 55 southbound and crossing US 51, or from US 51 northbound from Manchac, just before merging back onto Interstate 55 northbound.
 
Swamp Walk users are reminded that all persons, age 16-59, using WMAs for any purpose other than hunting, must possess a valid Wild Louisiana Stamp, a valid Louisiana fishing license, or a valid Louisiana hunting license.  Additionally, all WMA users, regardless of age, must complete a self-clearing permit before entering a WMA.  A kiosk containing self-clearing permits is available in the parking area at the entrance to the Swamp Walk.
 
For more information on Joyce WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2774 or contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4777 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.
 

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Joint Enforcement Agreement Patrol Leads To Recrerational Fishing Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 01/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Belle Chasse man for alleged recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Jan. 17.

Agents cited Mot Truong, 36, for taking red snapper during a closed season, taking over the limit of red snapper, taking undersized red snapper, taking undersized grey triggerfish and taking over the limit of grey triggerfish.

Agents came into contact with Truong while on a Joint Enforcement Agreement Patrol (JEA) seven miles offshore in state territorial waters tied to an oil rig in his vessel.  Truong was observed fishing on the back deck of the vessel and was stopped and inspected.

When agents boarded the vessel, Truong was in possession of 50 red snapper and 29 grey triggerfish.  Of the 50 red snapper, 28 were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches and he exceeded the daily bag limit of two fish by 48 if the season was open.  He also exceeded his limit on grey triggerfish by nine and 16 were under the prescribed size limit of 14 inches.

Taking red snapper during a closed season carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days of jail.  Taking over the limit of red snapper and grey triggerfish and taking undersized red snapper and grey triggerfish each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Truong also faces a civil restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish in the amount of $1,468.58.

The red snapper season closed in state waters on Dec. 31, 2014.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Adam Young, Lt. Scot Keller and Agent Travis Bartlett.

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

Three Cited For Taking Oysters From A Polluted Area In Lafourche Parish

Release Date: 01/20/2015

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agent cited three Golden Meadow residents for alleged oyster fishing violations near Bayou Blue located in Lafourche Parish on Jan. 17.

Senior Agent Thomas Wolf was responding to a complaint of harvesting oysters from an unapproved polluted area when he spotted a vessel harvesting oysters from the unapproved area.  After stopping the vessel, Wolf cited John Mejia, 50, Talasha C. Nelson, 34, and Jeffrey L. Shepard, 58, for harvesting oysters from an unapproved polluted area.

Wolf seized and returned four sacks of oysters to the water.  He also seized the dredges and vessel.

Taking oysters from an unapproved polluted area brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  The subjects could also forfeit any seized equipment if convicted.

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

White Lake Fishing Lottery Applications Available for 2015

Release Date: 01/16/2015

Jan. 16, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is now accepting applications for a lottery drawing for fishing permit access to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) between March 15 and Aug. 15, 2015.

A total of 100 permits will be issued following the lottery drawing and winning applicants will be notified of their opportunity to purchase a permit for $40.  White Lake WCA is located south of Gueydan in Vermilion Parish.

The area open for fishing will be limited to the Florence Canal and Oil Field Location canals off of the Florence Canal.  There will be no fishing in any of the WCA’s marsh areas or in the main camp canal or other areas that are marked "NO FISHING."  Successful applicants will be provided a map of the fishing area.  Boats used by permitees will be limited to the use of motors with 40 horsepower or less.  Additional rules and regulations are outlined in an attachment to the application.

Each completed application must include a non-refundable administrative fee of $5 in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  Only one application per person will be accepted and submitting more than one application will be considered grounds for disqualification.  Completed applications must be received by LDWF by close of business on Feb. 20, 2015.

Applications may be mailed or delivered to:

Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries

Attention: White Lake Fishing

2000 Quail Drive, Room 422

Baton Rouge, LA  70808

Persons interested in obtaining an application may call the department at 225-765-2812 or download a copy from the department’s website at http://www.wlf.state.la.us/refuge/lottery-applications .

For more information, contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. 1 or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov.

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2015 Dates Announced for Use of White Lake WCA Facilities by Groups for Other Public Uses and Nature Trips

Release Date: 01/15/2015

Jan. 15, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has designated dates between Feb. 1 and May 31, 2015 for public use of facilities at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA). For profit or commercial activities are prohibited.

White Lake WCA is located south of Gueydan in Vermilion Parish. LDWF owns and manages lodge facilities and 71,000 acres of wetlands and marsh land. The lodge facilities, accessible only by water, will be available for day-use or overnight use at rental rates that vary based on level of services required by the group using the site. Boat transportation to and from the site will be provided as part of the day use and overnight use access for 2015 group use dates.

The facilities and landscape are ideal for birding groups, nature photographers, environmental or wetland ecology students, or small business retreats. LDWF can provide site staff for guided boat tours and biologists for lectures on the ecosystem within the conservation area, which now includes an experimental population of whooping cranes.

White Lake WCA and the surrounding Mermentau River Basin provide abundant habitat for a variety of avian and aquatic species. The property will seasonally have migrant passerine birds, shorebirds, wading birds, rails, gallinules, and the common moorhen. Hawks and owls are also common. Coastal terns and gulls use habitat contained on White Lake at times. Several large breeding rookeries of waders are present on the property. Access dates and fees for 2015 are as follows: 

SCHEDULE FOR OTHER PUBLIC USES AND NATURE TRIPS AT WHITE LAKE WCA

Site visits may be scheduled Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between Feb. 1 and May 31, 2015. 

Site visits will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis pending facility and staff availability. At this time, WLWCA will only accommodate one group per day/week and all facility reservations must be made two weeks in advance to allow for staff scheduling.

FEE SCHEDULE FOR WHITE LAKE WCA FACILITY USE

Day Use (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

$300 - Includes one-day use of Lodge for meetings with no food or drink or additional services provided by LDWF. (For up to 15 people.)

$300 + $10/person - Includes one-day use of Lodge for meetings with coffee, cold drinks and bottled water provided. (For up to 15 people.)

$300 + $20/person - Includes one-day use of Lodge for meetings with coffee, cold drinks, bottled water and lunch provided. Lunch provided (for up to 15 people) will consist of a sandwich tray and chips or something similar. It will not include a hot lunch.

Exemptions from day-use Lodge rental fee: State agencies, local and federal agencies, and universities conducting research, or educational activities, conducted in cooperation with LDWF. Costs for beverages or lunch may apply ($10/person for drinks, $20/person for drinks and lunch).

Overnight Use (arrive 2-4 p.m. day 1; depart 1 p.m. day 2)

$400 + $25/person/night --Includes overnight stay at Lodge with only linens provided.

(For up to 12 people.)

$400 + $35/person/night -- Includes overnight stay at Lodge with coffee, cold drinks, bottled water and linens provided.  (For up to 12 people.)

$900 + $35/person/night -- Includes overnight stay at Lodge with coffee, cold drinks, bottled water, meals (breakfast, lunch and supper) and linens provided. (For up to 12 people.)

Exemptions from overnight Lodge rental fee: State agencies, local and federal agencies, and universities conducting research, or educational activities, conducted in cooperation with LDWF. Costs for beverages or lunch may apply ($10/person for drinks, $20/person for drinks and lunch).

Skeet Range (optional activity for groups using site for scheduled events)

$10/person/25 clay pigeons.                     

$15/person/25 clay pigeons, 25 shotgun shells provided.

Exemptions – Any persons using the skeet range at LDWF-sponsored events.

Boat Tours (optional activity for groups using site for scheduled events)

$10/person/ride.  Limited to authorized function attendees.

Exemptions: Any state, local or federal agency working in cooperation with the LDWF on cooperative initiatives or universities/conservation organizations working with LDWF on cooperative research projects, or educational activities conducted in cooperation with LDWF.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reserves the right to schedule other public use activities and nature trips for educational purposes, outside the advertised dates, should the need arise.

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 more information on White Lake WCA facility use, visit the LDWF website at

http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/other-public-uses-and-nature-trips, or contact Wayne Sweeney at 337-536-9400, ext. # 1 or wsweeney@wlf.la.gov .

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LWFC Approves Consolidation of Russell Sage and Ouachita Wildlife Management Areas

Release Date: 01/14/2015

Jan. 14, 2015 -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved consolidation of Russell Sage and Ouachita Wildlife Management Areas in action taken at the Jan. 8 commission meeting.
 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recommended the move to provide more efficient use of resources and eliminate the need for duplicate management and resources for properties that are adjacent to one another.
 
Ouachita WMA in Ouachita Parish included 13,332 acres and Russell Sage WMA included 21,514 acres in Ouachita, Morehouse and Richland parishes. The combined tract now comprises just under 35,000 acres. The WMA, which will retain the Russell Sage name, will continue to be managed out of the department's Monroe Field Office.
 
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.
 

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Off Duty LDWF Agent Reports Fishing Violations

Release Date: 01/14/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three men for fishing violations on Jan. 10 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents cited Nelson D. Robinson, 47, of Luling, Vernell C. McBride, 44, of Houma, and Troy A. Dangerfield, 37, Houma, for fishing without basic and saltwater fishing licenses and for possessing over the limit of red drum.

An LDWF agent in his off time was fishing near Bayou Chauvin when he came into contact with Dangerfield and Robinson fishing the same area.  The men didn’t know he was an agent and told him they already caught their daily limit and were heading back where they would drop off their fish and head back out to catch another daily limit.

The agent and the men made their way to the Ashland Public Boat Launch in Grand Cailou.  The agent was able to document the men give 10 red drum to McBride who was waiting for them on shore.  The two men then relaunched the vessel to catch more fish.

The agent was able to call two on duty agents about what was happening and also gave a description of the boat and truck the men were using.  The two agents arrived on the scene shortly after 10 a.m. and waited for the men to come back with more red drum.

Around noon, Dangerfield and Robinson came back from their second trip where McBride was again waiting.  The agents were able to make contact and found the three men in possession of 25 red drum.  The daily limit is five red drum per person per day.

Possessing over the limit of red drum brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Also, the men face an additional $25 per fish over the limit and since they did not possess fishing licenses all 25 are considered over the limit resulting in a $625 fine.  Not possessing a basic and saltwater fishing license each carries up to a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.  The men may also face a $661.75 civil restitution charge for the replacement value of the fish.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Bryan Marie, who was the off duty agent, Sgt. Richard Purvis and Lt. Joseph Arnaud.

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

Road Access Update on Dewey W. Wills WMA

Release Date: 01/14/2015

Jan. 14, 2015 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is advising sportsmen and women that a portion of Taylor Bayou Rd. on Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is currently an ATV/UTV trail only.
 
Parking is permitted before the ATV/UTV signs along Taylor Bayou Rd.  The road is scheduled to be improved after hunting season.  Once repaired, vehicular traffic will be allowed. Vehicular access to the Green Tree Reservoir parking area remains open.
 
Dewey W. Wills WMA is located in the southern portion of LaSalle and Catahoula parishes in central Louisiana approximately 20 miles northeast of Alexandria. For more information on the WMA, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2753 .
 
For more information, contact Cliff Dailey at 318-487-5885 or adailey@wlf.la.gov.

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Coushatta Man Cited for Deer Hunting Violations

Release Date: 01/13/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Coushatta Man for alleged deer hunting violations on Jan. 7 in Red River Parish.

Agents cited Russell L. Long Jr., 31, for hunting deer during illegal hours and with artificial light, hunting deer from a moving vehicle, hunting without basic hunting and big games licenses, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and discharging a firearm from a public road.

Around 2:36 a.m. on Jan. 7 a Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy observed a vehicle using a spotlight on Catfish Bend Road and tried to pull the vehicle over.  After a brief pursuit the deputy was able to stop the vehicle driven by Long Jr. and notify LDWF agents about possible deer hunting violations.

When agents arrived on the scene they found a 7-mm rifle and spotlight in Long’s vehicle.  The agents then recovered a doe deer from where Long Jr. was found spotlighting from his vehicle.  After questioning, Long Jr. admitted to shooting the deer with the rifle.

Hunting during illegal hours and with artificial light brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and hunting deer from a public road each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Discharging a firearm from a public road carries up to a $50 fine and 30 days in jail.  Hunting without basic hunting and big game licenses each brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.

Participating in the case are LDWF Sgt. Chuck Dison and Sgt. Patrick Staggs along with RRSO Lt. Melvin Massey.

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

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