LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Recovering Tuna Tags is Rewarding in More Ways Than One

Release Date: 11/13/2014

LDWF biologist Jennifer McKinney performs surgery on a yellowfin tuna to insert an internal archival tag.
A green dart tag at the base of the second dorsal fin indicates a tag is present and reward is available.

If you reel in a big one, you might catch more than just a trophy fish for dinner

(Nov. 13, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is actively implementing a research program that involves the insertion of electronic tracking devices in yellowfin tuna to better understand their behavior.  Fish tagging programs are typically designed by scientists, but any angler can contribute to this important research.
 
The most important action that anglers can take to aid tagging programs is to return tags and information.  In order for the Department to learn more about yellowfin tuna movements and habitat use in the Gulf of Mexico, biologists are requesting anglers return the internal archival tags when a tagged fish is caught.
 
“The holy grail of these electronic tags is the detailed data they record,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.  “But LDWF researchers can only access that level of information if they get the tag back.”
 
Not only can anglers expect a better-managed fishery, but the department is also offering up a reward for every tag returned.  Individuals who return an intact electronic tag will receive a $200 Academy Sports and Outdoors gift card.
 
Tuna included in this study are surgically implanted with an electronic tag in the abdominal cavity and can be identified by an external green and white conventional tag at the base of the second dorsal fin.
 
If you catch a tagged yellowfin tuna:
• Record date, time and catch location (GPS coordinates).
• Measure fork length, weight and take photos of the surgical site (when possible).
• Carefully remove the tag from the fish.  The light stalk, which can be seen protruding from the abdomen of the fish, must remain connected with the tag body inside the fish.
• Call the reward line at (855) 728-8247 or email sattag@wlf.la.gov to arrange pickup of the tag.
 
The internal archival tags are surgically implanted into the belly of the fish and record a range of parameters every 30 seconds including depth, light intensity, water temperature and the internal body temperature of the tagged tuna. 
 
Since the study began in June 2013, over 100 internal tags have been deployed with approximately a 10% recapture rate.   Thus far, the greatest movement of an internally tagged yellowfin is 155 nautical miles after 417 days at large.
 
The department will continue the study over the next few years, and resulting data can indicate habitat preferences and feeding and spawning behavior.  Findings will greatly improve the body of knowledge of the yellowfin tuna resource in the Gulf of Mexico and its connectivity with the Atlantic-wide population, resulting in improved stock assessments and fishery management. 
 
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.la.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.
 

Dead Cougar Found in Calcasieu Parish

Release Date: 11/13/2014

Nov. 17, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) responded to a report of a dead cougar along LA Hwy. 12 in Calcasieu Parish west of Dequincy. The animal was found late afternoon on Friday, Nov. 7. 
 
A necropsy performed by LDWF staff determined that the cougar was a 70-pound adult that had been declawed on all four paws.  Decomposition made the immediate exact age and cause of death more difficult to determine.  However, the cause of death remains under investigation.  The origin of the cougar is unknown at this time.
 
There are no personal captive cougar permits currently issued in the state due to public safety concerns, therefore it is unlawful for anyone to possess a cougar in Louisiana, other than a certified zoo. 
 
The mountain lion, cougar, panther or puma are names that refer to the same animal.  Their color ranges from lighter tan to brownish grey. Cougars in Louisiana are protected under state and federal law. Anyone convicted of killing a cougar in Louisiana could face civil restitution of up to $4,351 and federal citations with additional fines and penalties.
 
To report information related to the dead cougar found Nov. 7, contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division Lake Charles office at 337-491-2580.
 
Anyone with any information regarding persons owning a pet cougar should call LA Operation Game Thief, inc. at 1-800-442-2511. Callers may remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.
 
To report verifiable sightings of cougars with photos, tracks or scat, please call Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061, or contact Robert Gosnell at 225-763-5448 or rgosnell@wlf.la.gov .
 

Tags:

Raceland Man Pleads Guilty to Hunting Violations

Release Date: 11/12/2014

A Raceland man pleaded guilty to several hunting violations on Nov. 5 in the 17th Judicial District in Lafourche Parish.

Judge John E. Leblanc sentenced Eric Savoie, 37, to a total of $3,750 in fines, 120 days of imprisonment suspended, and has to forfeit a 7 mm rifle with scope, 12-gauge shotgun and .22 rifle in connection with the hunting violations.  Savoie also faces up to $3,249 in civil restitution for two illegally taken deer.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited Savoie for deer hunting violations on Christmas day, Dec. 25, 2013 on Eagle Island.

Agents cited Eric Savoie, 37, for hunting or taking deer during illegal hours, failing to tag deer, over limit of deer, taking deer illegally during an open season, hunting deer without a big game license, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun.  Savoie pleaded guilty to these charges.

On Dec. 24, LDWF agents received a complaint that Savoie had killed two does at night on Dec. 20.

When agents approached Savoie’s residence on Eagle Island on Dec. 25, agents observed Savoie seated at the rear of his residence with a loaded 7 mm rifle in hand and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot, a loaded .22 rifle and using a utility street light to shine deer to shoot them at night.

Upon further investigation, agents learned that near the light Savoie placed several pounds of soybeans on the ground to attract deer at night.

After Savoie was disarmed by agents, Savoie was questioned.  Savoie admitted to harvesting two antlerless deer during illegal hours on Dec. 20 and attempting to harvest more deer during illegal hours on the night of Dec. 25.

Agents involved in case are Lt. Joseph Arnaud and Senior Agents Jamie Folse and Ryan Breaux.  District Attorney Camille A. Morvant II prosecuted the case.

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

Two Men Arrested For Recreational Fishing Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 11/12/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division Agent arrested two men for alleged recreational fishing violations in Plaquemines Parish on Nov. 9.

LDWF Sgt. Adam Young arrested Terry Felo Jr., 42, of Harvey, and Gary Felo, 39, of New Orleans, for taking and possessing undersized red drum, possessing over 10 red drum, and taking or possessing undersizde black drum.  Terry Felo was also charged with the intentional concealment of illegal fish.

Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office (PPSO) deputies also charged the pair with criminal trespassing for entering into a parish owned pump station without permission.  It was also discovered both men had warrants out for Jefferson Parish and Gretna.

Sgt. Young and Plaquemines Parish Deputies stopped the men and found them in possession of 63 red drum, placing them 53 over their daily limit.  Out of the 63 red drum, 61 were under the minimum size limit of 16 inches.  The men also possessed three black drum under the size limit of 16 inches.  Additionally, when uniformed law enforcement arrived on scene Terry Felo tried to conceal the illegal fish from agents and deputies.

Taking undersized red drum carries up to a $350 fine and 60 days in jail.  Possessing of over 10 red drum and intentional concealment of illegal fish each brings up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail for each offense.  The men also face a total civil restitution of $1,614.67 for the illegally possessed fish.

LDWF Enforcement Sgt. Adam Young and PPSO Deputies Chad Lafrance and Johnathan Camneter were involved in the case.

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

Hunter Orange Reminder

Release Date: 11/07/2014

Nov. 7, 2014 -- With deer hunting season underway, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reminds deer hunters that the wearing of hunter orange (fluorescent orange) clothing is not only required by law, it is a very important safety practice.
 
During the open firearms season for deer, any hunter in possession of buckshot, slugs, primitive firearm or centerfire rifle must display on their head, chest and/or back a minimum of 400 square inches of “hunter orange”.  There are some exceptions to this requirement:

  • Hunters on private land may wear a hunter orange cap or hat instead of the 400 square inches of hunter orange.
  • Hunters on legally posted and privately owned land are not required to display hunter orange while hunting from an elevated stand. However, hunters must display the required hunter orange while walking to and from their elevated stand.
  • Hunters using archery equipment are not required to display hunter orange when hunting on legally posted land where firearm hunting is not allowed by agreement of the landowner or lessee.
  • All hunters (except waterfowl and dove hunters) on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) must wear a hunter orange cap in addition to the hunter orange on their chest/back when a firearms season for deer is open on the WMA.

Hunter orange is an unnatural color and dramatically improves a hunter’s visibility to other hunters.  Some hunters are concerned that deer will be alerted to a hunter’s presence if they wear hunter orange.  Research into deer vision indicates that while deer see color, they don’t see it the way most humans do.  Deer are essentially red-green color blind, meaning that red, green and orange all look about the same to a deer.  Hunter orange does not look much different to a deer than the various shades of green clothing many hunters wear.
 
In addition to the inability to distinguish between some colors, deer do not have very sharp vision.  Their inability to see fine details means that deer are unlikely to detect a motionless hunter, even when the hunter is wearing hunter orange.   Most of the time, when a hunter is detected by a deer, it is because of the hunter’s movement or scent.
 
Hunter orange is particularly important in heavy cover and during the low-light hours in the early morning and late afternoon when visibility is reduced.   In all conditions, hunters must take the time to positively identify their target and what is beyond it before they fire a shot. Wearing hunter orange will help keep hunters safe and in compliance with the law.
 
Kalkomey Enterprises, the provider of LDWF’s online hunter education course and hunter education manual, has produced a video that demonstrates the effectiveness of hunter orange.  The video is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kjSI79ss9I.
 
For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225-765-2355 or fkimmel@wlf.la.gov .

Tags:

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Public/Private Oyster Grounds Committee to Meet

Release Date: 11/07/2014

Louisiana Oyster Task Force Public/Private Oyster Grounds Committee to Meet

1 p.m., Thursday, November 13, 2014

UNO Advanced Technology Center, 2021 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 210, New Orleans 70122

AGENDA

 

I.  Call to Order

II.  Framework development for potential Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) legislation

III. Trip Ticket program discussion on coding for mini –sacks of oysters

IV.  Update on Grand Isle Oyster Hatchery

 

The meeting will be held in compliance with Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law as defined by Louisiana R.S. 42:11, et seq.  The public is invited to attend.

Those interested in listening in to the meeting via Webinar or telephone register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8334104986830567425

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 please contact Ashley Roth, 504-286-4162 or aroth@wlf.la.gov

To sign up for LDWF Alerts sent as text messages and emails directly to your mobile device click   here.

 

 

Waterfowl Hunters Advised to Be Alert for Whooping Cranes

Release Date: 11/07/2014

Waterfowl Hunters Advised to Be Alert for Whooping Cranes

Nov. 7, 2014 -- As waterfowl hunters prepare for the start of waterfowl hunting season in November, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is reminding all hunters to be alert for whooping cranes in marshes and fields that contain legally hunted game birds.

LDWF’s whooping crane reintroduction program has released cranes into the wild from White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area each year since 2011. The birds have dispersed over time to locations that include east Texas, but there are whooping cranes situated in Acadia, Avoyelles, Rapides, Vermilion, Jefferson Davis, Calcasieu and Cameron parishes.

Anyone encountering whooping cranes in the wild is advised to observe them from a distance and minimize any disturbance. Hunters are cautioned to positively identify their targets as game birds before shooting. Although whooping cranes in Louisiana are considered an “experimental, non-essential population” under the Endangered Species Act, they cannot be pursued, harassed, captured or killed and are fully protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Waterfowl hunters should be accustomed to seeing large-bodied, white birds with black wing-tips, such as white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, which must be distinguished from the legally-hunted snow geese.  Whooping cranes are equally identifiable as they stand an impressive 5 feet tall and have a wingspan of 7-8 feet. Easily identifiable characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include fully extended neck and legs, and black wing tips.

Hunters are encouraged to report whooping crane sightings to assist the department in tracking their movements. Location information can be reported to the White Lake WCA office at 337-536-9400, ext. 4 or szimorski@wlf.la.gov . 

LDWF also asks experienced hunters to take the time in the field to educate young hunters and improve their target identification skills to distinguish game birds from non-game birds.  A whooping crane sighting can add to the outdoor experience for outdoorsmen and women of all ages and hunter vigilance can assist the department’s efforts to restore this unique species in southwestern Louisiana.

Anyone witnessing whooping cranes being pursued, harassed, captured or killed is urged to call the LDWF Enforcement Division’s Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 to report what they’ve seen.

LWFC Establishes Fisheries Forward Program

Release Date: 11/06/2014

November 6, 2014 – Today the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a declaration of emergency that establishes the Louisiana Fisheries Forward program to meet the legislatively defined deadline for implementation of November 15.  This program implements certain training requirements for fishermen obtaining crab trap gear licenses who did not possess a commercial crab trap gear license in two out of the four years, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.  This program was designed in close cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Crab Task Force.  These rules will be effective as of November 15 and will remain in effect until the final program rules have been approved.

The training requirements are as follows:

•         Education in the proper fishing techniques necessary for the health and sustainability of crabs;
•         Proper techniques for the best capture and presentation of the crabs for marketability
•         Proper instructions regarding the placement, tending, and maintenance of crab traps to reduce potential conflicts with other user groups
•         Authorizes the program to include a mandatory apprenticeship program
Today’s action does contain a provision that allows LDWF to issue a conditional crab trap license to any applicant who completes their field training prior to the availability of the required training videos.  The training videos are expected to be complete in April of 2015.

For questions regarding the commercial crab trap gear license requirement contact Jason Froeba at jfroeba@wlf.la.gov or (225)765-0121.

For press inquiries, contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504)430-2623.
 

Guy Crittenden Wins 2015 Louisiana Duck Stamp Competition

Release Date: 11/06/2014

Guy Crittenden Wins 2015 Louisiana Duck Stamp Competition

Nov. 6, 2014 – Guy Crittenden of Richmond, Va., took first place in the 2015 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The contest determines the image to be used on what is commonly known as the Louisiana Duck Stamp.

Crittenden, who has placed second in the last two competitions, beat out 19 other competitors and was recognized at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission’s Nov. 6 meeting as the 2015 winner.  Jeffery Klinefelter, of Etna Green, Ind., the winner of the 2012 and 2008 contests, took second place, and Dale Pousson of Egan, La., who won the contest in 2003 and placed third last year, took third place again this year.  Last year, Tony Bernard of Lafayette, La., won this contest.

Crittenden grew up hunting and fishing on the Chesapeake Bay in Gloucester, Va.  He attended William and Mary College on a full football scholarship and after graduating, attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and earned an Associate Degree in Arts.  He worked for advertising agencies for several years before opening Crittenden Studio in the early 1990’s. His photography and digital art have since gained national recognition as have his wildlife paintings.  He has won the Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Stamp competition four times, has consistently placed in the top 10 at the Federal Duck Stamp competition, and is experiencing a tremendous year in 2014.  Along with winning in Louisiana, Guy has also won Duck Stamp competitions in Connecticut, Michigan, and Oklahoma this year.  “I am thrilled,” Guy said when notified of his victory, “the competition in Louisiana each year is very strong, and this is one of the top honors in my artistic career."

“The Department continues to be impressed with the number of high-quality entries," said LDWF Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds.  “We had some concerns when artists were restricted to painting Blue-winged teal after five years of open contests where they were free to choose any species known to winter in Louisiana.”  Crittenden’s painting combined outstanding contrast with a classic Louisiana background reminiscent of the first Louisiana Duck Stamp.  “Bluewings are an important species in the bags of Louisiana duck hunters,” Reynolds said, “and the winning design will make an outstanding stamp.”

The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program was established in 1988 by the Louisiana Legislature to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of state wetlands, benefitting migratory waterfowl overwintering in Louisiana. This program has generated over $12 million for wetland conservation in Louisiana since 1989, with over $472,000 from last year’s stamp/license sales alone.

The 2015 stamp, featuring Crittenden’s work, is expected to go on sale June 1, 2015.  The artist will retain the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.

Judges for the competition were Dr. Luke Laborde, Dr. Jim Bergan, Randy Caminita, Tony Bernard, and Michael Patterson.  Dr. Laborde is a Research Associate and Instructor at LSU’s School of Renewable Natural Resources; Dr. Bergan is the Director of Freshwater and Wetland Conservation at The Nature Conservancy; Caminita is a professional wildlife artist from Folsom, Louisiana who has competed in this contest many times; Bernard is the 2007 and 2014 contest winner from Lafayette, Louisiana; and Patterson is a Financial Planner for Lee, Dougherty, and Ferrara Investment Management and is the current State Chairman for Ducks Unlimited.

For more information, contact Larry Reynolds at lreynolds@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-0456.

 

Tags:

Planning a Better Future for Louisiana’s Outdoor Legacy

Release Date: 11/06/2014

(Nov. 6, 2014) – Today, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and The Conservation Fund released an innovative vision for the wild places that make Louisiana the Sportsman’s Paradise. The 2014 Master Plan for Wildlife Management Areas and Refuges maps and evaluates every inch of the state’s rich tapestry of ecological and recreational resources – including 1.6 million acres managed by LDWF – and establishes a comprehensive strategic direction for management, future conservation, connectivity and restoration of these public lands.
 
“This document provides a comprehensive guide that our land managers can utilize today and for future decision making on how to best manage properties within the WMA program,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “The Conservation Fund, which assisted in this cooperative planning effort, continues to be an extremely valuable resource in our conservation mission.”
 
The state’s wide array of landscapes – from vast forests to remote barrier islands to immense wetlands – make Louisiana a popular destination for hunters, anglers, crabbers and nature enthusiasts alike. According to a recent report1, wildlife tourism is one of the largest industries in the Gulf region, contributing nearly $2 billion to the state economy, generating over $200 million in tax revenue and supporting approximately 82,000 jobs in Louisiana alone. Recent trends suggest an increase in Louisianans residing in metropolitan areas, with over 70 percent of the state’s population now concentrated in the cities. These shifting populations pose a number of challenges to the state’s refuges and wildlife management areas (WMAs). Namely, the LDWF and other public land managers must accommodate this regional growth and strike a balance between enhancing public access to a variety of outdoor experiences while addressing ecosystem needs and preventing habitat fragmentation.
 
“Louisiana’s beautiful and diverse landscapes, abundant hunting and fishing opportunities and unmatched biodiversity attract residents and visitors alike to experience nature in a variety of ways,” said Ole Amundsen, program manager of strategic conservation at The Conservation Fund. “With states across the country looking for efficient and economical ways to balance natural resource stewardship and public needs, the LDWF recognized that it needed be able to invest smartly when deciding what lands to protect, how to manage them successfully and how to encourage the next generation to get out and enjoy its renowned natural wonders.”
 
The new master plan will guide the LDWF in these efforts by providing an informed and proactive vision that addresses specific landscape scale conservation goals. For the first time, the plan provides comprehensive descriptions of each and every one of the Department’s 62 WMAs and refuges, highlighting current public uses, opportunities for ecological research and future threats and needs. This valuable data will provide a framework for the development of site level management plans for each location that will be completed by the LDWF within the next three years. In addition, the plan establishes strategic project selection criteria for future land acquisition decisions that focus on treating landowners fairly and using public funds wisely.
 
“The department’s WMA Program was created to manage the habitat on public-accessible properties for the various wildlife and fisheries resources contained within each and to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, both consumptive and non-consumptive, for our citizens and those visiting Louisiana,” said Jimmy Anthony, assistant secretary, LDWF Office of Wildlife. “The number of WMAs has grown through the years to the extent that a comprehensive planning document was needed.”
 
Over the past 20 years, The Conservation Fund and its partners have protected more than 205,000 acres across Louisiana, including approximately 160,000 acres of coastal forests and wetlands within the Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain Basin, connecting the Joyce, Manchac and Maurepas Swamp WMAs. The new plan builds on the state’s commitment to land conservation by providing a strategic framework to guide land conservation decisions and future growth. The impetus for the plan emerged in 2009, when the state legislature directed the LDWF to evaluate its existing land portfolio and develop comprehensive acquisition and management plans. With a long track record of successful land conservation projects together, the LDWF turned to the Fund to lead the development of the master plan.
 
To create the plan, the Fund inventoried and evaluated the state’s natural areas to develop a statewide green infrastructure network – linking Wildlife Management Areas, Refuges and other public lands. The network is based on the latest peer reviewed science and benefitted from the input of LDWF field staff. The Fund examined the portfolio of existing LDWF lands and found several key gaps. Reconnecting urban areas with wildlife and corridors to make existing WMAs less isolated was an overarching theme that developed out of the planning process. The Fund also assessed existing federal, state and private sector financing sources and implementation strategies to provide guidance on next steps for the LDWF.
 
To read the full master plan document, go to: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wma.
 
1. “Wildlife Tourism and the Gulf Coast Economy,” Economic study released by Datu Research LLC, funded by Environmental Defense Fund and Walton Family Foundation, July 2013.

About the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

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.

About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America. www.conservationfund.org.

Contacts: Bo Boehringer, La. Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries, (225) 765-5115, bboehringer@wlf.la.gov; and Ann Simonelli, The Conservation Fund (703) 908-5809, asimonelli@conservationfund.org.
 
 

Tags:
Syndicate content