LDWF News Release

LDWF Announces Historic Moment for State’s Wild Whooping Crane Population at North American Crane Workshop

Release Date: 04/15/2014

LDWF Announces Historic Moment for State’s Wild Whooping Crane Population at North American Crane Workshop
LDWF Announces Historic Moment for State’s Wild Whooping Crane Population at North American Crane Workshop
LDWF Announces Historic Moment for State’s Wild Whooping Crane Population at North American Crane Workshop

(April 15, 2014) – The foremost crane experts in North America heard encouraging news for Louisiana’s experimental whooping crane population when news of eggs produced by a mating pair was announced at the 13th North American Crane Workshop in Lafayette, La.
“I am proud today to announce to you that our small population of whooping cranes is adjusting well to life in the wild and a mating pair has produced eggs in the wild for the first time in over 70 years on the Louisiana landscape,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham. “Our biologist team and partners including the International Crane Foundation, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and project funding donors have all made this moment possible.”
Barham and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne welcomed the workshop group on Tuesday morning at Hotel Acadiana.
“Thanks to the completion of our state birding guide—published through my office in partnership with the American Birding Association and the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area -- Louisiana has become a strong competitor for birding-related tourism,” said Dardenne. “Similarly, conservation efforts such as the reintroduction of the whooping crane to Louisiana since 2011 are positive steps toward ecotourism in our state.”
The state whooping crane reintroduction project began with the release of an initial cohort of juvenile cranes in 2011 at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish. The single nest with eggs, on the northern end of the Cajun prairie, remains under observation by project biologists.
Including subsequent cohorts, 50 whooping cranes have been released in Louisiana. Thirty of those birds have survived. Some have been lost to predators, some to naturally occurring health problems, and five in total have been confirmed as killed or wounded in shooting incidents.
The North American Crane Working Group, meeting this week in southwest Louisiana, is being briefed on Louisiana’s whooping crane reintroduction, the wild Aransas/Wood Buffalo whooping crane flock, the technology utilized in crane research and challenges to crane survival.
To learn more about LDWF’s whooping crane re-population project, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes .

For information LDWF’s whooping crane reintroduction project, contact Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov. For more information on the workshop, call Sammy King at 225-578-4179 or sking@agcenter.lsu.edu .
Photo 1: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne welcomes North American Crane Workshop attendees to Lafayette.
Photo 2: LDWF Secretary Robert Barham announces news of the first whooping crane eggs produced in the wild in Louisiana in 70 years.
Photo 3: Whooping crane nest with eggs on the northern end of Louisiana’s Cajun prairie.


Three Subjects Cited for Game Fish Violations in Catahoula Parish

Release Date: 04/10/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three people for alleged fishing violations on April 9 in Catahoula Parish.

Agents were patrolling Larto Lake when they observed a commercial flat boat with three individuals running an illegal lead net.  When agents attempted to make contact, the operator of the vessel refused to stop.  After a brief chase, agents were able to stop the vessel and apprehend the three individuals.  During the chase, agents witnessed the men offloading illegally taken fish from hoop nets into the water.

Agents arrested David D. Paulk, 67, of Jonesville, and Adam L. Fields, 26, of Jonesville, and booked them into the Catahoula Parish Prison.  Agents also cited and released Stephanie L. Carry, 20, of Jonesville.

Agents arrested Paulk and Fields for resisting an officer by flight, use lead nets in other than an overflow area, taking game fish illegally, and intentional concealment by disposing of fish evidence.  Agents also charged Paulk with reckless operation of a watercraft and no boat registration numbers.  Carry was cited for taking game fish illegally and using lead nets in other than an overflow area.

Agents seized two hoop nets, a lead net, a 17 foot flat boat and 50 horsepower motor.

Resisting an officer by flight brings up to a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.  Reckless operation of a watercraft carries up to a $200 fine and 90 days in jail.  Using lead nets in other than an overflow area and taking game fish illegally both bring a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each charge.  Intentional concealment by disposing of fish brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  No boat registration numbers carries up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Charles Ferrington and Senior Agent Joseph Merrill.

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


Louisiana Modifies 2014 Recreational Red Snapper Season in State Waters to Include Weekdays

Release Date: 04/10/2014

(April 10, 2014) The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that it will modify the Louisiana weekend-only red snapper season to include weekdays beginning on Monday, April 14, 2014, at 12:01 a.m. until further notice.

The “Louisiana-only” season

The bag and possession limit for the state season is two fish per person at a 16-inch minimum total length. 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission gave LDWF Secretary Robert Barham the authority to modify red snapper recreational seasons and daily harvest limits in 2013.

“After reviewing what our biologists expect Louisiana’s recreational red snapper landings to be this year, and the recent action taken by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council to have a very short federal season, I have decided to support our anglers and the associated fishing industry by opening state waters 365 days until further notice,” stated Secretary Barham.  “The Gulf Council’s action is clear evidence that their process is broken and they give no consideration to the needs of individual states.  For two years, I have been trying to persuade the Gulf Council to move forward with regional management, allowing the states flexibility in management by empowering our anglers and fishing industry to decide how they want red snapper managed.  That hasn’t happened.”

The Louisiana Gulfward Boundary

In June 2012, the Commission took action to extend Louisiana state waters from three miles offshore to three marine leagues, or approximately 9 nautical miles.

LDWF officials encourage fishermen to use caution and their own personal judgment when fishing beyond the three-mile boundary that is currently recognized as federal waters, as federal agents will most likely continue to enforce federal law.  Until the U.S. Congress confirms Louisiana’s action, the battle will continue over Louisiana’s state water boundary.

Recreational Offshore Landing Permit

The Department reminds anglers that a Recreational Offshore Landing Permit is required in order to possess certain species, including red snapper.  Anglers may obtain or renew the permit, free of charge at http://rolp.wlf.la.gov.  Anglers may renew their permits up to 30 days prior to expiration. 

The permit is required for any angler possessing tuna, billfish, swordfish, amberjack, grouper, snapper, hind, wahoo, cobia and dolphin, except those fishing on a paid-for-hire trip where the captain holds a permit. 

Updating Your Contact Information

As the Department continues to move forward with the Louisiana Recreational Creel Survey (LA Creel), a new survey that provides real-time data collection and the best data available to fishery managers, we encourage anglers to verify and update their license information in our database. Simple instructions are available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/news/37374.

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.




Slot Limit Removal for Selected Lakes to be Implemented on April 20

Release Date: 04/10/2014

(Apr. 10, 2014) - Regulations for black bass on several water bodies will change on Sunday, April 20. Slot limits will be rescinded for Black Bayou Lake in Bossier Parish, Chicot Lake in Evangeline Parish, Cross Lake in Caddo Parish, Lake Rodemacher in Rapides Parish, Vernon Lake in Vernon Parish and Spanish Lake in New Iberia and St. Martin parishes. Statewide regulations, 10 fish daily creel and no length restrictions, will apply for black bass on these lakes.

A recently completed biological evaluation determined the length regulations have not been effective on the selected water bodies. Insufficient harvest of small bass was cited for Black Bayou Lake, Chicot Lake, Cross Lake and Vernon Lake. Habitat impairments are the issue for Spanish Lake and Lake Rodemacher.

The removal of the slot limit on these water bodies will increase opportunities for angler harvest, but the potential for overharvest is expected to be very low. LDWF biologists will continue to monitor fish population status with frequent sampling.

LDWF is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.


Additional Source for Black Bear Information Now Available

Release Date: 04/10/2014

April 10, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is pleased to announce that a new, award-winning online black bear education website is now available to teachers, students and the general public.

This new bear education portal -- http://blackbearinfo.com/ -- offers a vibrant assortment of bear education movies, images and text that cover almost every aspect of understanding and living with black bears. Many of the online video clips come from the award-winning film, Living with Black Bears. This film earned international attention winning a Silver Telly Award for a wildlife production while also earning Honorable Mention at the prestigious International Wildlife Film Festival.

This new website reflects six years of work by a coalition of bear states partnered with bear education non-profits and wildlife educators to develop a two-tier bear education program that educates the general population on Living with Black Bears, while also formally educating our next generation of students about Understanding Black Bears.

Now students and teachers can access an entire year’s worth of exciting black bear education for learning at home and in classrooms. Though anyone can download the free program and access the Student’s Section, Louisiana state teachers will need to register to receive their exclusive access code. The teacher’s section of the program contains 29 lesson activities and related classroom support materials. The free access code can be obtained by all Louisiana educators at http://blackbearinfo.com/teachers/.

Two decades ago, the Louisiana Black Bear was on the brink of extinction, but today it is on the rebound. When the Louisiana Black Bear was listed as threatened in 1992 under the Endangered Species Act, there were estimated to be fewer than 300 of them left in the world. Today, innovative programs to reestablish these animals and restore their habitat through improved land management, high-tech monitoring, and public education are enabling the recovery.

For more information on the Louisiana black bear visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov. For more information on the Understanding Black Bears website portal, contact Carrie Salyers at csalyers@wlf.gov or 337-262-2080.


Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Boat Launch Modifications Progressing, Joseph Harbor Boat Launch to Reopen April 12, 2014

Release Date: 04/09/2014

April 9, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today an update on the boat launch modifications being made at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier.

  • The Joseph Harbor boat launch off La. Hwy. 82 will reopen on Saturday, April 12 following the completion of modifications that extend each back down ramp at the launch.
  • The East End Locks boat launch, also accessible off La. Hwy. 82, will be closed from April 14 through May 2 for the same ramp modifications made at Joseph Harbor. The closure at the East End Locks will include the boat launch and parking area.

LDWF initiated the modifications to allow the public to launch in low tide conditions.
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge is located in eastern Cameron and western Vermilion Parishes. Recreational opportunities on the refuge include shrimping, crabbing, fishing and bird-watching.
For more information, call 337-491-2000 or go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/rockefeller-wildlife-refuge.


Application Period for Shrimp Refrigeration Cost-Share Program is Closed

Release Date: 04/08/2014

(April 8, 2014) – Officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced today that the application period for the shrimp refrigeration cost-share program has closed.

The program, announced in January, provided eligible shrimp vessel owners, docks, and processing facilities the opportunity to qualify for 50 percent of any authorized refrigeration equipment costs, up to $30,000. The application period opened on January 24, 2014 and by March 31 more than 350 applications were received.

Staff with the Department will review the submitted applications and work directly with the applicants to determine eligibility.

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 Roth at aroth@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-4162.


L.W.F.C. Briefed on Feral Hog Population in Louisiana

Release Date: 04/08/2014

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) received an overview report on the feral hog population in Louisiana at the Commission’s April 3 meeting. The overview provided details on agriculture and wildlife habitat impacts, diseases carried by feral hogs and control efforts implemented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

LDWF veterinarian Jim LaCour’s presentation provided feral hog facts including:

  • Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are present in all 64 parishes in Louisiana. Louisiana’s population is estimated at 500,000.
  • Gestation is 114 days and feral sows can have 2 litters per year averaging 6 piglets per litter. Statisticians have determined that 75 percent of the population must be harvested to maintain a static population.
  • Feral hogs are omnivores and can adapt to nearly any environment from desert to marsh to piney woods and hardwoods and can even survive in sub-arctic conditions.
  • Feral hogs impact wildlife by direct competition for hard mast resources and by predation on reptiles, amphibians, ground-nesting bird eggs and mammals including deer fawns.
  • Feral hogs uproot both planted and naturally regenerated coniferous and hardwood seedlings. Additionally, their heavy consumption of hard mast significantly reduces natural forest regeneration.
  • They increase erosion and shed coliform bacteria into waterways. • Feral hogs heavily impact agriculture, uprooting planted seeds, destroying mature crops and uprooting hayfields making hay cutting difficult to impossible.
  • LDWF surveillance testing of over 1,000 feral swine statewide revealed that 3.5 percent were serologically positive to Brucella antigen (Swine Brucellosis).
  • Other diseases found in feral hogs include Pseudorabies, Leptospira, and Trichinosis .
  • Hog control methods now currently used in Louisiana include recreational hunting and trapping by private landowners, daylight and night time shooting and aerial gunning via helicopter.
  • Possible hog control methods being researched including toxicants such as sodium nitrite and genetically-based contraception.

To view the full presentation, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nuisance-wildlife.

The Commission also heard a presentation by a representative of Vertex Aviation Group of Houston on helicopter gunning operations used in Texas that allow recreational hunters to purchase aerial feral hog hunts now legal in that state. LDWF is currently working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to develop a permitting framework that could provide a similar option for recreational hunters in Louisiana.

For more information: contact Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or jlacour@wlf.la.gov; or Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.


Tagged Fish Count Continues to Grow with Second LASS Tournament of 2014

Release Date: 04/07/2014

Todd McKellar and Bart Crader land a two-fish total weight of 15.29 pounds, earning them fir

(Apr. 7, 2014) - Anglers landed, tagged and released 71 redfish at Saturday’s Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Tournament in Lake Charles at Calcasieu Point Landing.  This iconic fishing tournament continues to welcome anglers from across the Gulf Coast to fish in Louisiana’s bountiful waters.
Bart Crader and Todd McKellar, a pair of hard-fishing Louisiana buddies, claimed victory this weekend, competing in their first LASS tournament with a two-fish total weight of 15.29 pounds, earning them over $3000 in cash and prizes.
McKellar said they had a great week of practice and pre-fishing, which in turn helped the team to eliminate many locations that weren’t producing.  “Many of the ponds we were fishing lost water from the tide, and we had to change plans, which worked out to our advantage.  To win against this caliber of anglers is pretty special,” explained McKellar. 
Top finishers included: Gary and Gus Wilson, III, second place; Jason Ellender and Robbie Trahan, third place; Vince Theriot and Ray Christy, fourth place.  Charlie and Hunter Howell took home the smallest fish prize.
The tournament continues its secondary mission of exposing youth to the sport of fishing and the catch-and-release approach to conservation.  Christopher McElveen, who fished alongside his father Michael, is practically a celebrity within the tournament series, and has competed in well over a handful of LASS tournaments in the Youth Division.  
Sponsors for the 2014 series include Shimano, King Cooker, SeaTow New Orleans, Bomber Baits, Cabela's, Standard Mapping, Omega Protein, Chevron, YETI Coolers, Frabill, Work Sharp Knife Sharpeners, PowerPro, Costa del Mar and Coors Light.  A special thanks to Front 2 Back Boat Service for providing a meal to all of the competitors.  
The LASS is hosted annually by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, the tournament's non-profit partner.  The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana's wildlife and fish resources.
Visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com for the 2014 schedule, registration and additional details.  The tournament's next stop is The Dock/Dockside Bait and Tackle in Lake Slidell on May 3.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources.  For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.


Monterey Man Pleads Guilty for Illegally Killing a Louisiana Black Bear

Release Date: 04/04/2014

A Monterey man pleaded guilty and was sentenced on April 3 in Concordia Parish for illegally killing a Louisiana Black Bear.

Seventh Judicial District of Louisiana Judge Kathy Johnson took Duell Moreland's, 24, guilty plea and sentenced him to a $10,000 civil restitution fee for replacement value of the black bear, a $950 fine, $254 in court fees, two years of probation, 120 days in Concordia Parish Jail with 60 days suspended and 60 days mandatory, suspended his hunting license for five years and he cannot possess a firearm or bow for five years.

Moreland turned himself into the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 18, 2013, for the illegal killing of a Louisiana Black Bear.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents got an arrest warrant for Moreland on Nov. 14, 2013.  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.

Agents assisting in the case were 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.


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