LDWF News Release

Successful Search and Rescue Mission Results in Finding Two Overdue Boaters

Release Date: 10/27/2012

Search and rescue authorities found two missing boaters alive on Grand Lake this morning, Oct. 27 after a 12 hour search.

Tyler Smith, 24, of Iota, and Gus Atkinson, 28, of Gueydan, were found by search and rescue personnel at 9 a.m. this morning at Cypress Island in the northern section of Grand Lake.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents were notified at 9 p.m. on Oct. 26 about two overdue boaters in the Grand Lake and Lake Arthur areas.  LDWF agents immediately coordinated a search effort throughout the night with the U.S. Coast Guard, Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Smith and Atkinson launched their 14 foot aluminum flat bottom boat from the Hwy. 14 boat launch on Lake Arthur.  By 1:30 p.m. they were fishing at the “Catfish Locks” on Grand Lake.  At 5 p.m. family members notified the two fishermen of a storm kicking up in the area. 

The men started to make their way back to the Hwy. 14 launch, but ran into heavy winds and waves that swamped their boat.  They were able to walk their boat to the shore area and bail out the water and get back underway.  However, shortly thereafter the 25 horsepower motor quit working and they were unable to get it started again.  The men lost communications and decided to drag the boat to the shore area at Cypress Island and wait until help arrived.  Family members notified authorities at 9 p.m. who searched until they found them this morning at 9 a.m.

“These men did a lot of right things to survive this ordeal.  The most important thing they did was that they had a float plan by notifying family beforehand where they would be fishing and the family knew about what time they should be back,” said Capt. Robert Buatt, who coordinated the search.  “This float plan allowed the family to make a decision early on that they were missing and needed help.  The men also were able to get the boat to an area that was less turbulent and safe once they knew they were not going to make it back to the launch.”

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

New Hog Trapping, Hunting Regulations In Effect

Release Date: 10/26/2012

Oct. 26, 2012-- Regulations regarding the trapping and hunting of hogs that were adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) are now in effect.  The regulations are authorized by a change in state law that allows year-round trapping of hogs under rules recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and promulgated by the LWFC. 

Under the new rules, feral hogs may be trapped year-round.  Persons who use snares to capture feral hogs must have a valid Louisiana trapping license.  Persons who use cage or corral traps must have a valid Louisiana hunting license.  It is required that all cage or corral traps have an opening in the top that measures 22 inches by 22 inches or larger or 25 inches in diameter or larger.

The required opening in the top of hog traps will allow black bears that are inadvertently captured in a hog trap to escape.  Persons setting hog traps without the required opening are subject to citation and seizure of the trap.

Although not required by the regulations, the department advises trappers not to use snares in areas where bears are present.  Several bears have been captured in snares intended for feral hog or coyotes.  Trappers are advised instead to use foot-hold traps for coyotes and cage or corral traps for hogs in these areas.  If snares are used, it is strongly recommended that trappers use snares with a relaxing lock and breakaway device rated for 350 lbs. or less. For more information on using snares in areas occupied by bears, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/document/36018-bear-snare/bear_snare.pdf .

For questions concerning trapping hogs, contact any private lands biologist at an LDWF field office. For questions about the hog trapping regulations, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or fkimmel@wlf.la.gov.


Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak in Louisiana White-tailed Deer

Release Date: 10/26/2012

Oct. 26, 2012 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has received numerous reports of dead and dying white-tailed deer this fall.  The reports have come primarily from the parishes that border the Mississippi River in south Louisiana but scattered reports have come in from all over the state.  Many of these deaths can be attributed to hemorrhagic disease.

Hemorrhagic disease (HD) is a viral disease syndrome caused by either epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) or bluetongue virus (BTV).  These Orbiviruses are related but are genetically different.  They are spread by biting gnats of the genus Culicoides, resulting in seasonal occurrence of HD.  Typically, factors that favor the vectors are a rainy spring followed by a dry June.  Events such as flooding which congregate deer also seem to worsen disease outbreaks.  HD is not contagious to people and consumption of meat from HD-infected animals poses no threat to humans.

Some deer are protected by local immunity and may exhibit very mild or no disease. These affected deer may recover and develop antibodies to the disease.  Many if not most Louisiana deer will likely be exposed to HD at some point in their lives.

Clinical HD in deer presents itself in three ways:

1)    Peracute form:  These deer may exhibit no signs and simply be found dead or may be lethargic with swelling of the tongue, head or neck.

2)    Acute form:  Typically these deer live somewhat longer than those with the peracute form and may exhibit the same swelling as listed above as well as some erosions or ulcers in the mouth.  They may also exhibit hemorrhages in the eyes and internal organs.

3)    Chronic form:  Deer which survive the original viral insult will often exhibit hoof-sloughing and weight loss.  Some deer may survive this stage. The original infection kills the lining of the rumen (first stomach chamber) and these deer are unable to gain nutrients from the food that they consume.  They typically become progressively more emaciated throughout the fall and severely affected deer succumb to the elements during the winter.

In the worst cases, mortality ranging from 25 to 50 percent of a deer herd can occur from HD.  It is possible that some areas in the state may experience this level of mortality this year.

Many of the sick or dead deer reports are coming from areas flooded during and after Hurricane Isaac.  Fawn mortality was high in some of these areas.  The additional mortality from HD is not unexpected and was one of the reasons for the season reductions around Lake Maurepas, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes.  Hunters in the river parishes, other hurricane flooded portions of the state, and whom have observed additional adult deer mortality may want to be more conservative and limited in their deer harvests this season.  However, obviously emaciated and sick deer should be harvested, and if you have concerns or questions about your deer herd please contact a LDWF biologist.

White-tailed deer are one of nature’s most resilient and productive big game animals.  Louisiana native white-tailed deer are especially adapted to withstand seasonal HD and other southern diseases.  Deer that survive disease outbreaks develop resistance and therefore can pass on the genetic traits that helped them survive to their offspring.  Pen-raised and imported deer do not have the disease resistance that native wild deer have to local virus strains, and may harbor strains which are not normally found locally and may therefore be a threat to the native wild populations.

Hunters are encouraged to report sick and dying deer to their regional LDWF office.  If specimens are fresh enough LDWF biologists may be able to obtain samples for viral testing.  To date, EHDV-1, EHDV-2 and a new virus, EHDV-6 have been isolated from samples submitted by biologists.

For more information, contact LDWF’s Dr. Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or jlacour@wlf.la.gov; or Scott Durham at 225-765-2351 or sdurham@wlf.la.gov.


LDWF Offering Habitat Management Assistance to Landowners Through Prescribed Burn Initiative

Release Date: 10/26/2012

Oct. 26, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is offering habitat management assistance to landowners through the department’s East Gulf Coastal Plain Prescribed Burn Initiative

Prescribed burning is an important tool for managing pine and mixed pine-hardwood forests in Louisiana.  To assist landowners with management activities, improve habitat for wildlife, and encourage additional burning throughout the state, LDWF has gained approval and funding for three separate US Fish and Wildlife Service, State Wildlife Grants over the past three years.  Funding from these grants is used to cost-share prescribed burns on those properties that qualify for the initiative. 

EGCP Prescribed Burn initiative funding is available to landowners with property that meets ranking criteria in the following parishes:  West Feliciana, East Feliciana, St. Helena, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Tammany.  Applications are ranked according to habitat characteristics and potential wildlife benefits. LDWF will provide approximately 80 percent of the cost of prescribed burning activities from initiative funds and assist landowners by locating contractors to conduct the work on all approved tracts.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 9 to be considered for the 2012-2013 burning season.  However, applications submitted after this date will be eligible for funding in 2013-2014.

If you or someone you know has property in southeast Louisiana that would benefit from prescribed burning, please contact the LDWF Hammond field office at 985-543-4777 or Cody Cedotal at 225-765-2354 or ccedotal@wlf.la.gov for more information and applications.


Additional Public Oyster Areas Set to Open October 29

Release Date: 10/25/2012

Oyster Area 10/29/12

Oct. 25, 2012 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds the public the 2012/2013 oyster season on the majority of public oyster seed grounds is set to begin Monday, October 29, 2012.  The opening date of the oyster season was determined by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission at its August 2012 meeting.   

Two public oyster areas, the Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds and the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds, were previously opened on September 5, 2012 and commercial oyster harvest continues to be documented from those areas. 

The area of the public grounds east of the Mississippi River and south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, are a “sacking only” area for the 2012/2013 season and no seed oyster harvest is allowed.

The oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (DHH harvest area 30) shall open at one-half hour before sunrise on Thursday, November 1, 2012.  The sack limit during this time period is set at 10 sacks per person, per vessel, per day.

The areas remaining closed for the 2012/2013 oyster season include the Public Oyster Seed Reservations in Bay Gardene and Sister Lake, the 2011 cultch plants in Mississippi Sound and California Bay within the coordinates listed below, and the 2012 cultch plants in Hackberry Bay, South Black Bay (Bay Crab), and Lake Fortuna within the coordinates listed below. 


Mississippi Sound (2011) – St. Bernard Parish

A.  30 degrees 07 minutes 17.56 seconds N

      89 degrees 27 minutes 52.39 seconds W

B.  30 degrees 07 minutes 26.94 seconds N

      89 degrees 27 minutes 36.20 seconds W

C.  30 degrees 07 minutes 07.11 seconds N

       89 degrees 26 minutes 45.48 seconds W

D.  30 degrees 06 minutes 40.93 seconds N

      89 degrees 27 minutes 14.09 seconds W


California Bay (2011) – Plaquemines Parish

A.  29 degrees 30 minutes 40.42 seconds N

      89 degrees 34 minutes 03.19 seconds W

B.  29 degrees 30 minutes 27.18 seconds N

      89 degrees 33 minutes 21.85 seconds W

C.  29 degrees 29 minutes 54.99 seconds N

      89 degrees 33 minutes 20.24 seconds W

D.  29 degrees 30 minutes 02.74 seconds N

      89 degrees 34 minutes 03.93 seconds W


Hackberry Bay (2012) – Lafourche Parish

A.  29 degrees 25 minutes 21.16 seconds N

      90 degrees 02 minutes 59.53 seconds W

B.  29 degrees 24 minutes 58.30 seconds N

      90 degrees 02 minutes 51.34 seconds W

C.  29 degrees 24 minutes 29.25 seconds N

      90 degrees 03 minutes 24.92 seconds W

D.  29 degrees 24 minutes 45.37 seconds N

      90 degrees 03 minutes 35.33 seconds W


Lake Fortuna (2012) – St. Bernard Parish

A.  29 degrees 39 minutes 08.04 seconds N

      89 degrees 30 minutes 28.93 seconds W

B.  29 degrees 38 minutes 33.31 seconds N

      89 degrees 29 minutes 15.45 seconds W

C.  29 degrees 38 minutes 10.57 seconds N

      89 degrees 29 minutes 40.71 seconds W

D.  29 degrees 39 minutes 04.41 seconds N

      89 degrees 30 minutes 32.61 seconds W


South Black Bay (2012) – Plaquemines Parish

A.  29 degrees 34 minutes 41.72 seconds N

      89 degrees 36 minutes 22.86 seconds W

B.  29 degrees 34 minutes 31.45 seconds N

      89 degrees 35 minutes 48.68 seconds W

C.  29 degrees 34 minutes 08.12 seconds N

      89 degrees 36 minutes 07.94 seconds W

D.  29 degrees 34 minutes 23.03 seconds N

      89 degrees 36 minutes 43.20 seconds W


In addition, the east side of Calcasieu Lake (Department of Health and Hospitals’ harvest area 29) and the Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area shall remain closed for the entire 2012/2013 oyster season.

Oyster harvesters are also reminded that in addition to normal licenses required for the harvest of oysters, special permits are also required to fish specific public oyster areas.  In Calcasieu Lake, all harvesters are required to hold a valid Calcasieu Lake Oyster Harvester Permit.  The Calcasieu Lake permit is free of charge and is available from the Baton Rouge office of LDWF.  Harvesters fishing all other public oyster areas are required to fish only from a commercial vessel which holds a valid Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit.  The application deadline for the Public Oyster Seed Ground Vessel Permit is December 31, 2012.


Delay on a Portion Public Seed Ground East of the Mississippi River to Protect Developing Oysters

While a majority of the public seed grounds are set to open, oyster season is delayed until further notice in a portion of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River in an effort to protect recently-settled young oysters, called spat.  The oyster season was originally scheduled to open in this area on October 29, 2012.  The delay includes that area of the public oyster seed grounds east of the Mississippi River, south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and north of a line of latitude at 29 degrees 34 minutes 48.0 seconds north. 

The decision was made that the protection of the oyster spat is in the long-term best interest of oyster conservation in this area of the public oyster seed grounds as they represent the future oyster resource in an area where oyster stocks are at historic lows.

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

See attached map detailing these opening, closures and delays. 

For more information please contact lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504) 430-2623

Migratory Game Bird Violations Lead to Five Guilty Pleas and Fines

Release Date: 10/24/2012

Oct. 24, 2012 -- Two Vermilion Parish men pled guilty in the U.S. Western District Court of Louisiana in Lafayette on Oct. 17 for migratory game bird violations.

Ryan Frederick, 23, of Kaplan, and Dustin Fontenot, 23, of Abbeville pled guilty to taking over the daily bag limit of white-fronted geese, hunting geese with an electronic calling device and for failing to maintain custody of their birds in the field.

Judge Patrick Hanna ordered Frederick and Fontenot to each pay a total of $2,155 in fines and fees and placed them on two years of probation, which includes no hunting of any migratory game birds.

In connection with this case, Zayne Greene, 23, Robert Russo, 21, and Drew Laborde, 21, all from Abbeville, pled guilty outside of court at an earlier date to hunting geese with an electronic calling device and failing to maintain custody of their birds in the field. These three men each paid $1,770 in fines and fees.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents observed Frederick and Fontenot on an afternoon hunt north of Kaplan on Jan. 12, 2012.  When agents attempted to make contact with Frederick and Fontenot, the two threw geese into a nearby canal to hide them.  Agents recovered 17 white-fronted geese and five snow geese from the canal and an electronic calling device used during the hunt after making contact with Frederick and Fontenot.

After further investigation, agents learned that Greene, Russo and Laborde participated in the hunt earlier in the afternoon in which the electronic calling device was used.  Greene, Russo and Laborde also left harvested birds in the field.

Senior Agents Justin Sonnier and Lonnie Campbell investigated this case, which was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett L. Grayson.

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

Unlikely Duo Reels in the Win at the LASS Fall Trout Tournament

Release Date: 10/23/2012

First place finishers Kristian Robert and Ford Thomas.
One of many tagged, speckled trout being released.

(Oct. 23, 2012) -Seasoned Louisiana Saltwater Series tournament angler Kristian Robert and his partner Ford Thomas took home this weekend’s top prize at the fall speckled trout tournament.  What you don’t know about this pair is something that may shock you.  Thomas is proof that it doesn’t matter whether you’re 4 or 44, a world-class fishermen can come at any age. 

“My regular tournament partner had to sit this one out, so it was just Ford and I, a 6-year-old kid from Batesville, MS,” explained Robert.  “I told him it was just the two of us, and he smiled and assured me we could still win.”

With a two-fish stringer weighing in at 6.91 pounds, the team took home first place and a cash prize of $740.  Robert explained their prize winning tactics, “I figured we had to beat a spot near SeaBrook to death.  We fished the spot for four hours, and only had 15 bites, hooked 10 fish and boated three.  I have always been told never leave fish to go find fish.  When you’re fishing a tournament, you’re not looking for 100 fish, you’re just looking for the right two fish to bite.”

The top finishing teams, all taking home cash prizes, include: 2nd place, Nick Ward and Mitchell Chevalier; 3rd place, Kevin Hall and Bill Waterman.

Thomas also took home first place in the tournament’s youth division.

 “I look forward to the 2013 season.  I hear big things are coming,” said an enthusiastic Robert.  “The prizes alone should have people lining up, and the data the Department is collecting is going to prove very valuable for Louisiana in the future.”

The Louisiana Saltwater Series plans to continue to grow and create awareness for the Department’s tagging program into 2013.  Additionally, LDWF, in conjunction with Louisiana State University, will soon launch a long-term acoustic telemetry study of spotted seatrout in Lake Pontchartrain.  Two hundred fish will be tagged, and 90 acoustic receivers will be deployed and maintained throughout the lake to record trout movement. 

For complete event results, including photos, visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com.  Be on the lookout for our 2013 schedule, which will soon be available.

“If you’re not fishing the Louisiana Saltwater Series, what are you waiting for?” said Robert.  “It’s the best tournament going for the money, and you get a chance to meet fishermen from all different walks of life.”

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.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov (225) 765-2396.



Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board Marketing Committee Meeting

Release Date: 10/23/2012


Oct. 23, 2012 - Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board will hold its marketing committee meeting on October 24, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 310, New Orleans, La. The agenda is as follows.


I. Call to order

II. Financial Report
     A. FY14 Budget Discussion

III. Approval of minutes from August 20, 2012 meeting

IV. Old Business
     A. Update on sponsorships and partnerships
     B. EDRP Funds
            i. Nicholl’s State University partnership
            ii. K-12 Initiative
     C. Calendar Year 2013 Media Plan
     D. Seafood Marketing Campaign Continuity Plan
            i. The Food Group
            ii. Graham Group
            iii. GCR Consulting

V. New Business
     A. Nunez Community College proposal
     B. Louisiana Restaurant Association
            i. GASCO proposal
            ii. We Live to Eat Restaurant Week proposal
            iii. Education Foundation/ProStart proposal
     C. Friends of the Fishermen
            i. Gear Grant proposal
            ii. Education Outreach proposal
     D. Louisiana Office of Tourism proposal
     E. Louisiana Travel Promotion Association proposal
     F. Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation/Saltwater Series proposal
     G. Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce
     H. Louisiana Hospitality Foundation/Louisiana Seafood Festival
     I. St. Bernard Seafood & Farmers Market
     J. Acme Oyster Eating Challenge
     K. Bayou Classic proposal
     L. Café Reconcile
     M. 610 Stompers proposal
     N. Celebrity Golf Invitational proposal

VI. Public Comment

VII. Set Next Meeting

VIII. Adjourn


LDWF Agents Investigating Fatal Hunting Incident

Release Date: 10/19/2012

Oct. 19, 2012 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are investigating a fatal hunting incident that took the life of a Lake Charles man in Allen Parish.

The Reeves Police Department received a report on Oct. 18 about a truck that had been parked on the side of Hwy. 190 near Rodeo Pen Road in Reeves for two to three days and notified the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office (APSO).

A sheriff’s office deputy found the truck and noticed a trail into the woods.  After walking the trail for approximately 100 yards, the deputy found the body of Donald C. Hodge Sr., 60, shortly after 5 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The APSO deputy found Hodge under a tree with a lock on type deer stand lying next to him with what appeared to be broken straps that would normally secure the stand to the tree.  Authorities did not find a safety harness attached to Hodge or the tree.

His body was turned over to the Allen Parish Coroner’s Office.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency and do not suspect foul play.

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

Fall LASS Speckled Trout Tournament on Tap for the Weekend

Release Date: 10/18/2012

(Oct. 18, 2012)– Speckled trout anglers, get your rods ready, on Oct. 20 the Louisiana Saltwater Series is headed to SeaBrook Harbor in New Orleans for its annual fall trout tournament.  With a perfect weather forecast and excellent fishing conditions, it’s expected to be a great day out on the water.

The entry fee is only $100 per team, and there is a 100% payout, plus loads of prizes.  Teams may consist of one, two, three or four members.  For teams consisting of three or more members, only two of the members may be 16 or older. 

At 7 a.m., anglers will venture out to cast lines and reel in the big ones.  Because speckled trout can be challenging to keep alive, participants are allowed to bring in their fish beginning at 8:30 a.m., when the scales open.  They’ll have until 3 p.m. to make their way back to shore and weigh in.   The aim is for the Department to tag as many fish as possible, so anglers are encouraged to bring in call of their catch (within limit), but can only designate two fish as their weigh fish. 

Hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation, the series was created to promote the Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program and catch-and-release saltwater angling.  The program provides an avenue for anglers with an interest in conservation to assist in collecting scientific information about the movements and biology of tagged fish by tagging targeted species of marine gamefish. 

Earlier this year at the spring tournament, 46 speckled trout were tagged and released back in to the wild. 

Online registration for the tournament will close on Thursday at noon, but those interested in participating can register at SeaBrook Harbor from 5 to 6:30 a.m., the morning of the event.  A $20 fee for all onsite tournament registrants will be incurred per team.  Only cash and checks will be accepted for onsite registrants. 

For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to www.lasaltwaterseries.com

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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov(225) 765-2396.

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