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LDWF News Release

Jackson-Bienville WMA Continues to be One of Louisiana’s Top Public Hunting Areas, Family Favorites

Release Date: 02/25/2016

Feb. 25, 2016 - Jackson-Bienville Wildlife Management  Area (WMA), which has been part of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries WMA roster for more than 60 years, is a jewel for public hunting in north Louisiana.

Located 12 miles south of Ruston, the 25,089 acres of land located in Jackson, Bienville and Lincoln parishes is owned by Weyerhaeuser Company and managed as a Wildlife Management Area by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). It is situated close to three major population centers in Louisiana, including Shreveport (70 miles), Monroe (50 miles) and Alexandria (87 miles) in addition to Ruston.

Hunters enjoy pursuing white-tailed deer, wild turkey, feral hogs, squirrel, wood ducks and other small game species on the WMA. 

LDWF biologist supervisor Jeff Johnson oversees Jackson-Bienville WMA, and relates stories of hunters using the WMA over the years.

“It has been a place where families have passed down the tradition of hunting for many years,’’ Johnson said. “There are families from all over the state that hunt here and have been doing so for years. There are grandfathers that have come here since the early 1970s and have brought their kids and are now bringing their grandkids to hunt.  Hunting Jackson-Bienville is a fall tradition for them.’’

“The WMA lease is currently up for renewal and the Department will make Weyerhaeuser Company an offer to keep Jackson-Bienville in our WMA system,’’ LDWF Assistant Secretary Jimmy Anthony said.

Jackson-Bienville WMA is popular with hunters from all over the state and southeast, and although hunters account for the majority of the use, it is also a popular destination for bird watchers and hikers. Access is easy with many routes available, including U.S. Hwy. 167 and La. Hwy. 147. The terrain on Jackson Bienville WMA is primarily gently rolling hills bordering the Dugdemona River and five intermittent streams.

One of the reasons the area has become a hunting hotbed for deer and turkey, Johnson said, is Weyerhaeuser’s timber management philosophy.

Varying timber harvests, along with the interspersion of hardwood areas and more than 33 miles of utilities rights-of-way, provide a diversity of wildlife habitats. Adding to that diversity is the substantial acreage Weyerhaeuser has committed to providing nesting and foraging habitat for the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW), a species listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

LDWF monitors 38 RCW breeding groups on Jackson-Bienville WMA as part of the current WMA lease agreement.

The intensive management has also made it good for deer hunting, according to LDWF deer program manager Johnathan Bordelon.

“Jackson-Bienville WMA is a very productive WMA,’’ Bordelon said. “Active timber management has created desirable habitat conditions for deer. In addition, reproductive rates measured by the percentage of lactating adult female deer are above parish and northwest pine/hardwood averages. Lactation rates for 2.5 year and older does has averaged 80 percent over the past ten years. This is tremendous and allows for the sustainable harvest rates experienced on Jackson-Bienville WMA.

“Jackson-Bienville did experience a harvest rate of one deer per 5.0 efforts during the managed either-sex deer hunt on November 21-22, 2015. However, it is important to note that the managed hunt was one weekend before the majority of managed hunts in the state. The weather was much better that weekend and harvest benefited from the favorable conditions. Jackson-Bienville is typically in the top five each year regardless of weather conditions. ’’

Harvest numbers for turkey have also been strong at Jackson-Bienville WMA. During the 2015 season, a total of 42 gobblers were harvested, accounting for one turkey per 12.7 efforts, an impressive number for public land.

“Jackson-Bienville WMA has consistently been known as a good place to turkey hunt,’’ Johnson said. “It’s a place where many a new hunter has been introduced to the sport and where many ‘up and comers’ polish their skills.

“For many turkey hunters, it is the place they killed their first gobbler and many of them continue to hunt there to this day. Even some hunters who have private land on which to hunt still come here a few days each season for the change of pace and for tradition sake.’’

Jackson-Bienville WMA has also been key in turkey management research through the years. Dr. Jim Dickson, a retired professor and a known authority on turkey management, did a mortality study in conjunction with LDWF on Jackson-Bienville WMA. The results of the study helped in setting turkey season lengths and bag limits that are currently in place.

Jackson-Bienville WMA is one of 55 WMAs managed by LDWF. The 1.6 million acres in the WMA program provide habitat for numerous wildlife species and outdoor recreation opportunities.

For more information on the LDWF WMA program, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma. For more information on Jackson Bienville WMA go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2771.

 

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LDWF Reopens Some Roads at Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 02/23/2016

Feb. 19, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened all roads in the Richard K. Yancey Wildlife Management Area (WMA) except for Lac-A-Sostien Road, Ross Road past the crowfoot, Dobbs Bay Road and all roads on the east side of the Mississippi River levee.
 
High water levels in associated river systems caused backwater flooding on those thoroughfares. Once the water recedes, LDWF will inspect, repair and reopen those roads when deemed safe for travel.
 
Richard K. Yancey WMA is located approximately 35 miles south of Ferriday on La. Hwy. 15 in lower Concordia Parish. 

For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/36994 or contact Tony Vidrine at 337-948-0255 or tvidirne@wlf.la.gov or Cody Haynes at 337-948-0255 or jhaynes@wlf.la.gov.

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Charlie Melancon Announces Executive Staff Appointments

Release Date: 02/22/2016

February 22, 2016 - Secretary Charlie Melancon of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), announced two key appointments today to the executive team that will assist him in directing agency activities on behalf of Governor John Bel Edwards.

 

Randell “Randy” S. Myers has been named Assistant Secretary of the Office of Wildlife. Myers, a 23 year veteran of LDWF, served most recently as Biologist Director of the Inland Fisheries Section.

Myers holds a B.S. in Wildlife Management from Louisiana State University, and a M.S. in Wetlands Ecology from Southeastern Louisiana University. He is the current Chairman of the False River and Lake Providence Watershed Councils, and is a member of the Atchafalaya Basin Research and Promotion Board.

In his new role, Myers will oversee the Wildlife Division which is charged with the enhancement and conservation of the habitat necessary to maintain the state’s species diversity and optimum distribution of wildlife populations, and to increase opportunities for the public to enjoy the Louisiana outdoors.

 

Patrick Banks has been named Assistant Secretary of the Office of Fisheries. Banks, a 15 year veteran of LDWF, served most recently as Biologist Director of the Marine Fisheries Section.

Banks holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Mercer University and a M.S. in Zoology from Louisiana State University.  He is a member of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Oyster Technical Task Force and the Nature Conservancy’s Oyster Goals Science Advisory Team.

In his new role, Banks will oversee the Marine and Inland Fisheries Divisions which are charged with managing the state’s aquatic fish populations and habitats for the conservation and improvement of recreational and commercial fishing.

 

Bryan McClinton, LDWF's Undersecretary since 2013, will continue to serve in that position, overseeing the Office of Management and Finance which is responsible for fiscal and human resource management, information processing systems, licensing, procurement, and general administrative services.

McClinton previously served the state as a Budget Manager of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, and is a 10 year veteran of LDWF.  He holds a B.S. in Finance from Louisiana State University.

 

Joseph “Joey” Broussard, LDWF’s Colonel of the Enforcement Division since 2014, will continue to serve in that position overseeing the Enforcement Division which is responsible for compliance through the execution of enforcement laws, regulations and programs related to wildlife and fisheries use, conservation and management.

Colonel Broussard is a 25 year veteran of LDWF, and has previously served as LDWF Director of Training and LDWF Lt. Colonel overseeing field operations.  Broussard is a 1991 graduate of the LDWF Cadet Academy and has received several law enforcement awards throughout his years of service.

 

Cole Garrett, LDWF’s Legislative Liaison and Policy Attorney since 2010, will continue to serve in that position overseeing legislative, policy and legal matters for the Secretary.

Prior to his employment with LDWF, he served as a Clerk for the Honorable Guy Holdrige. Garrett holds a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.  He also holds a J.D. from Louisiana State University Law School.

 

Toby Gascon has been named Analytics Specialist to Secretary Melancon.  In his position, Gascon will oversee initiatives to improve efficiency and effectiveness of key processes within LDWF and across divisions and operating groups. He will be responsible for analyzing the effectiveness of programs and developing recommendations to improve or resolve substantive problems that affect agency services.

Gascon holds a B.A. in Government from Nicholls State University.  He is a former member of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission’s State Federal Coordinating Committee and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Advisory Committee on Menhaden.

 

Amy Cannizaro Burris has been named as Private Secretary to Secretary Melancon.  Mrs. Burris has held that position with LDWF since 2015, and will be responsible for administrative matters and scheduling for the Secretary.  Burris holds a B.S. in Marketing from Louisiana State University.

 

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

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LDWF Public Hearing Meetings Begin Feb. 24 to Gather Comments on Proposed Hunting Seasons, WMA Rules and Regulations Changes

Release Date: 02/19/2016

Feb. 19, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold eight public meetings around the state beginning Wednesday (Feb. 24) to gather comments on the proposed 2016-18 resident game hunting season dates, 2016-17 waterfowl and migratory bird hunting season dates, 2016-17 wildlife management areas (WMA) general rules and regulation changes and the 2017 wild turkey seasons and hunting areas.
 
LDWF will also take public comment at these meetings for the proposed establishment of a WMA on Catahoula National Wildlife Management Preserve at Kisatchie National Forest.
 
Public comment will be taken on all items currently under consideration as notices of intent by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The meeting dates and locations include:
 
Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Louisiana Ecological Services Field Office, 646 Cajundome Blvd., Suite 400, Lafayette;
 
Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the LSU Ag Center (next to Burton Coliseum, 7101 Gulf Hwy., Lake Charles;
 
Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Dry Prong Community Center, 705 2nd St., Dry Prong;
 
Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Ponchatoula High School Library, 19452 LA Hwy. 22, Ponchatoula
 
Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. at the LDWF Monroe Office, 368 CenturyLink Dr., Monroe;
 
Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. at the Houma Municipal Auditorium, 880 Verret St., Houma;
 
Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Alexandria Convention Hall, 915 3rd St., Alexandria;
 
Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. at the LDWF Minden Office, 9961 Hwy. 80, Minden.
 
To view the full notices of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.
 
Public comment will be accepted at LWFC monthly meetings from now through April 6 or may be submitted directly to Steve Smith, LDWF Wildlife Division, PO Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or via email to ssmith@wlf.la.gov .
 
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov .
 

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Reopens All Roads on Dewey W. Wills WMA

Release Date: 02/19/2016

Feb. 19, 2016 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has reopened all roads within the Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area (WMA). 
 
The road closures were forced because of flooding. The roads have been inspected and repaired.
  
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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High School Angling Competition Joins the Ranks of Big Bass Rodeo

Release Date: 02/18/2016

(Feb. 18, 2016) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries invites high school students throughout the state to join us on April 2, 2016, for the first annual Battle for the Bass, a fishing tournament hosted in conjunction with the 69th annual Big Bass Rodeo in New Orleans City Park.
 
Teams of up to five high school students will represent their respective school and compete to take the coveted first place trophy. The best combined weight of two bass from each team will determine the winner, and those who place will receive a plaque and fishing gear courtesy of Berkley.
 
Registration is required to participate and will close at noon on April 1. Online registration is available at www.fishla.org/community-outreach/bfb.  Students interested in registering to become a Berkley Fishing Club member can register at hs.berkley-fishing.com. The first 50 students who register for both the Berkley Fishing Club and Battle for the Bass will also receive a Berkley tackle bag.
 
Two additional events, the Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival and Boats on the Bayou, will run concurrent to Battle for the Bass and are open to the public.  
 
The 69th annual Big Bass Rodeo and Fishtival has grown into one of the most popular youth fishing events in the country.  This non-professional rodeo provides fishing categories and activities for all ages and is a great opportunity to teach novice anglers about the sport of fishing.  In addition, fisheries staff will be on hand to assist anglers and answer questions about fishing basics and fish identification. Other exciting features include a mobile touch tank, fish tagging demonstrations and photo opportunities with Robbie the Redfish.
 
Boats on the Bayou is held on Bayou St. John and offers an opportunity for those with non-motorized boats including kayaks and canoes to compete.  This event is limited to 100 participants, so those interested are encouraged to register early.
 
Additional details and online registration for the Big Bass Rodeo and Boats on the Bayou can be found at http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/big-bass-fishing-rodeo-and-fishtival.  Registration fees range from $5 to $10, depending on the age of the angler.
 
For event related questions, contact Danica Williams at dwilliams@wlf.la.gov

Bodcau WMA Shooting Range Reopened After Facility Improvement Project

Release Date: 02/17/2016

Feb. 17, 2016 – The Bodcau Wildlife Management Area (WMA) shooting range has been reopened by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries following a facility improvement project that began in December.
 
Bodcau WMA is located in Bossier and Webster parishes, approximately 30 miles northeast of Shreveport. The shooting range provides for rifle and handgun target shooting at 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards. A shotgun range offers manual target throwers and an archery range provides stationary field targets.
 
The range facility is located at 168 Ben Durden Road, Haughton, La., within the WMA.
 
Range hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and there are no fees charged for range use.
 
For more information, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/bodcau-wma or contact Todd Buffington at LDWF’s Minden office, ph. 318-371-3050 or tbuffington@wlf.la.gov.

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Reopens Pearl River Wildlife Management Area

Release Date: 02/17/2016

Feb. 17, 2016 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reopened the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in St. Tammany Parish on Wednesday (Feb. 17).
 
Flooding in the Pearl River forced the closure of the WMA on Saturday (Feb. 13) when the flood gauge reached 16.5 feet, an automatic benchmark for closure set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
 
The Pearl River WMA, which consists of 35,618 acres, is located approximately six miles east of Slidell and approximately one mile east of Pearl River.
 
For information on this WMA, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma/2789 or contact Forest Burks at fburks@wlf.la.gov or 985-543-4781.

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Gov. John Bel Edwards Reappoints Julie M. Hebert, Nathan D. Wall to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission

Release Date: 02/16/2016

Feb. 16, 2016 – Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the reappointment of Julie M. Hebert of Luling and Nathan D. Wall of Springfield to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
 
Hebert, a representative for the commercial fisheries and fur industries, owns Coastal Permitting, an environmental consulting group located in Luling. Hebert was born in Michigan and grew up on Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Mich. She has been a Louisiana resident for 20 years.
 
Wall, a representative of the commercial fisheries and fur industries, is the CEO of Wall’s Gator Farm, Nathan Wall and Sons Alligator Consulting, Wall 2 Wall Alligator Farm, WG Alligator Farm and Wall’s Gator Farm II, all located in Springfield. Wall, a Louisiana and Springfield native, is also the CEO of Pinnacle Alligator Farm in Covington.
 
To see the complete release on Gov. Edwards’ appointments, go to http://gov.louisiana.gov/news/gov-edwards-announces-boards-and-commissions-appointments.

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Louisiana DHH has announced the reopening of Oyster Harvest Area 1

Release Date: 02/15/2016

 

(February 15, 2015) – The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has announced that oyster harvest area 1 on east side of the Mississippi River will reopen one-half hour prior to sunrise on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a molluscan shellfish closure order on December 11, 2015 for harvest areas 1 – 7 due to the presence of Karenia brevis (Red Tide).  Harvest area 5 was reopened on January 20th, areas 6 & 7 were reopened on January 13th and areas 2,3 and 4 were reopened on February 7th.  With this announcement, the last remaining closure, area 1, will be lifted tomorrow morning.

To view a map of the Louisiana oyster harvest area grids, click here.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.la.gov or www.FishLA.org. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.

 

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