L.D.W.F. News

L.D.W.F. News Release

Three Men Plead Guilty and Sentenced for Oyster Theft

Release Date: 02/26/2014

On Feb. 25, John Phillipe, 32, Patrick Sylve, 25, both of Port Sulphur, and Jean Taylor, 32, of Sparta, Tenn., pleaded guilty to numerous commercial oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish.

Phillipe pleaded guilty to harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission, and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill, violating the state’s health code by not filling out his Department of Health and Hospitals log book, and another count of violating the state’s health code for vessel sanitation requirements, no tarp, no visible boat numbers and taking commercial fish without a vessel license.  He was also cited for improper running lights, failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements, failing to change ownership of a vessel after 45 days and failing to display a valid certificate decal.

Patrick Sylve and Jean Taylor pleaded guilty for harvesting oysters during illegal hours, unlawfully removing oysters from a private lease, failing to have written permission, and violation of the emergency fishery closure still in effect from the BP oil spill.

Judge Michael Clement accepted all three pleas and ordered the following sentences: Phillipe was ordered to pay a fine of $3,900 plus all court costs and was placed on two years probation.  All of Phillipe’s commercial licenses were also revoked for a period of two years and he is forbidden to be on any oyster vessel for two years.  His oyster dredge was also forfeited to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

Patrick Sylve and Jean Taylor were each ordered to pay a fine of $950 plus court costs and were ordered to not be on a vessel harvesting or possessing oysters or gear to take oysters for two years unless that vessel is equipped with a vessel monitoring device that is approved and monitored by the LDWF Enforcement Division.

LDWF agents witnessed Phillipe and his deckhands harvesting oysters from a lease that did not belong to them and under the cover of darkness after legal sunset on Aug. 26, 2013 in Bayou Stephan located in Plaquemines Parish.  Agents discovered the boating safety and health code violations during the stop.

Assistant District Attorney Robert White prosecuted the case.  Agents participating in the case were Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio.

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

Louisiana Saltwater Series Announces 2014 Schedule

Release Date: 02/26/2014

(February 26, 2014) - The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Series will commence its 2014 season at Boudreaux’s Marina in Cocodrie on March 8th, and will visit eight different marinas across Louisiana’s coast to create a true test of the best and the most exciting season yet.  The coming year marks the fifth anniversary of the LASS redfish trail.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, tournament host, will be commemorating the milestone with new prizes and partnerships and will again participate in a live weigh-in hosted by Marsh and Bayou Magazine at the Northshore Boat-N-Fishing Show for the May 3rd event.

“This year kicks off our fifth annual Louisiana Saltwater Series, and each year, the tournament continues to grow,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “These events are not only intended to highlight and promote the state’s many fishing opportunities but to enlist Louisiana anglers as citizen scientists to help collect scientifically valuable data by tagging all fish caught.”

Last year, 880 redfish were tagged and released, bringing the tournament’s grand total of redfish tagged to 2,858 since its establishment in 2010.

The 2014 LASS Redfish Series dates are as follows:

  • March 8 - Cocodrie, Boudreaux’s Marina;
  • April 5 - Lake Charles, Calcasieu Point Landing;
  • May 3 - Slidell, The Dock/Dockside Bait & Tackle;
  • June 28 - Delacroix, Sweetwater Marina;
  • July 19 - Port Fourchon, Port Fourchon Marina;
  • August 23 - Empire, The Delta Marina; and
  • September 13, - Seaway Marina, Lafitte

Championship - October 17 and 18 Venice, Venice Marina

All information related to the events, including the on-line registration is available at www.lasaltwaterseries.com.   For a detailed map of tagged redfish by location 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 at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

The Louisiana Saltwater Series is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.  The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation 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.

For press inquires, contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8733.

 

Pearl River WMA Hunting Seasons and Road to Close Due to High River Level

Release Date: 02/24/2014

February 24, 2014 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that all hunting seasons on Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be closed when the Pearl River stage at Pearl River, La., reaches 16.5 feet.  Additionally, Old U.S. Hwy. 11 will be closed when the river stage reaches 16.5 feet. The river stage is currently forecast to reach 16.5 feet on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 25, 2014.
 
This hunting season closure on the WMA in southeastern St. Tammany Parish will remain in effect until water levels drop below 16.5 feet.  
 
The gate at Old U.S. Hwy. 11, a primary access point to the WMA, will also be closed on Tuesday by 6 p.m. and will remain closed until the water recedes and all roads and bridges are determined safe for vehicle passage. If the river rises above 16.5 feet prior to 6 p.m., the gate at Old U.S. Hwy. 11 may be closed sooner.
 
To monitor water levels, visit the National Weather Service link at http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lix&gage=perl1.  For additional information, contact Christian Winslow at 985-543-4777 or cwinslow@wlf.la.gov.

 

LDWF Dove Hunter Survey in Progress through March 16

Release Date: 02/24/2014

Feb. 24, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is surveying dove hunters across the state to share their experiences and opinions about dove hunting.  Topics include season dates, hunting activities, hunting success, ammunition used, as well as demographic variables.

To participate in this on-line survey visit the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting  and follow the link provided. Interested hunters will have until March 16, 2014 to participate in the survey.  The full survey consists of 13 questions and an additional section provides space for comments. The survey can be taken by anyone, but LDWF is interested in the opinions of dove hunters.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeff Duguay, LDWF Wildlife Division, at jduguay@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2353.

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.
 

L.D.W.F. Public Meetings Begin Feb. 25 to Present 2014-16 Hunting Seasons, 2014-15 W.M.A. Rules for Public Comment

Release Date: 02/20/2014

Feb. 20, 2014 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will host seven public meetings beginning Feb. 25 to present details on the proposed 2014-16 hunting seasons and the 2014-15 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) general rules and regulations.
 
LDWF’s Wildlife Division will accept public comment that will be reported to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission prior to final approval of seasonal dates, rules and regulations at their April 3, 2014 meeting.
 
Public meeting dates and locations are:
 

  • Feb. 25 beginning at 6:00 p.m., LDWF Minden Office, 9961 Highway 80, Minden
  • Feb. 25 beginning at 6:00 p.m., USGS National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette
  • Feb. 26 beginning at 6:00 p.m., LDWF Headquarters Building Louisiana Room, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge
  • Feb. 27 beginning at 6:00 p.m., LSU Ag Center (next to Burton Coliseum), 7101 Gulf Highway, Lake Charles
  • Feb. 27 beginning at 6:00 p.m., Alexandria Convention Hall, 915 3rd Street, Alexandria
  • March 1 beginning at 2:00 p.m., LDWF Monroe Office, 368 Centurylink Drive, Monroe
  • March 1 beginning at 2:00 p.m., Slidell Municipal Auditorium, 2056 2nd Street, Slidell

 
Some of the proposed changes include:
 

  • Allowing small game hunters to carry buckshot and/or slug while small game hunting on private lands.
  • Modification of a portion of Iberville Parish from Deer Area 9 to Area 6.
  • Modification of a portion of St. Mary Parish from Deer Area 7 to Area 9.
  • Modification of a portion of Iberville Parish within Deer Area 9 from gun with dogs to still hunt only.
  • Elimination of requirement for an annual military permit on Camp Beauregard, Fort Polk, and Peason Ridge WMAs.
  • Addition of general turkey lottery hunt on Pearl River WMA.
  • Addition of youth turkey lottery hunt on Richard K. Yancey WMA.
  • Implementation of a Self-Clearing Permit requirement for turkey hunters on Catahoula and Red Dirt National Wildlife Management Preserves within Kisatchie National Forest.
  • Expansion of deer hunting opportunities on Lake Boeuf WMA.
  • Addition of a youth shotgun deer season on Pass-a-Loutre WMA.
  • Expansion of fishing opportunities on Pointe-aux-Chenes WMA.

 
For more information, contact Steve Smith at 225-765-2359 or ssmith@wlf.la.gov.
 

Record Number of Competitors Registered for the 2014 Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) State Tournament Set for March 1, Volunteers Needed

Release Date: 02/20/2014

Feb. 20, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Archery in Louisiana Schools Program (ALAS), a member of the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), announced that a record setting 721 archers will compete at the 2014 ALAS State Tournament on March 1 in Alexandria.
 
Students will compete for awards and prizes at the state level, and the opportunity to compete in the NASP National Tournament. Two archers will receive $1,250 scholarships provided by Central Louisiana QDMA.
 
Only students who have participated in the ALAS program as part of their in-school curriculum during the current school year are eligible to participate. Teams and individuals compete in one of three divisions that include 4th and 5th grades, 6th through 8th grades, and 9th through 12th grades.
 
Volunteers are needed to assist with the March 1 tournament competition which will be held at the LSU AgCenter Storm Shelter, 8125 Hwy. 71 in Alexandria. Call 318-484-2276 to sign up as a volunteer. All volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, and will receive a state tournament t-shirt and lunch on the day of the competition.
 
The ALAS state tournament is conducted using National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) rules. Those rules can be found at www.nasparchery.com . Awards will be presented to the top three teams in each division and the top five individuals in each division. The state archery competition allows Louisiana archers to qualify for NASP national and world tournament competitions.
 
For more information, contact Robert Stroede, ALAS program coordinator, at 318-484-2276 or rstroede@wlf.la.gov .

Surviving Whooping Crane Euthanized Due to Deteriorating Condition

Release Date: 02/19/2014

(Baton Rouge, La.)  – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that the male whooping crane found wounded on Feb. 7 in Jefferson Davis Parish was humanely euthanized at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine this morning, Feb. 19.

LDWF agents believe the male crane, along with a female, were shot on Feb. 6.  The female crane was found dead at the scene. The whooping cranes were found near the corner of Compton Road and Radio Tower Road just north of Roanoke, about five miles north of Interstate 10 on Feb. 7.

The male whooping crane was brought to the LSU SVM’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital by LDWF staff on Feb. 8. LSU SVM’s staff determined a humerus and radius fracture through radiographs taken at that time. The bird underwent surgery on Feb. 9. There was a high risk of infection because the fractures were open, but the bird initially recovered well from surgery.

The crane’s condition began to deteriorate on Feb. 18 and had weakened to the point that any efforts to try to revive him would have exacerbated his condition.  The bird was humanely euthanized at the LSU SVM this morning.

Veterinarians at LSU SVM and LDWF worked together on the bird’s recovery and will continue to work together to save Louisiana’s wildlife.

A $15,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting the two whooping cranes. Anyone with information on this incident can contact LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using the tip411 program.

To learn more about LDWF’s whooping crane re-population project, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes .

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov or Ginger Guttner at 225-578-9922 or gguttner@lsu.edu.  Photos of the cranes are available upon request.

State and Federal Employees Receive 2013 NWTF Awards

Release Date: 02/18/2014

NWTF-LA Chapter 2013 Agent of the Year Sgt. Billy Shoemaker
NWTF-LA Chapter 2013 Biologist of the Year Jarrod Hughes (left)
NWTF-LA Chapter 2013 Wildlife Technician of the Year Charles Boles (left).

Feb. 18, 2014 -- Two Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) employees and a USDA Forest Service employee were recognized for outstanding service at the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Awards Banquet on Jan. 25 in Marksville.

In addition to local NWTF chapter awards, awards were presented for “Agent of the Year”, “Biologist of the Year”, and “Wildlife Technician of the Year”.

Sgt. Billy Shoemaker of Marthaville in Natchitoches Parish received the 2013 Agent of the Year.  Sgt. Shoemaker is a 12-year veteran with LDWF’s Enforcement Division.  He made the most turkey cases in 2013 for Region 3 where his duties include looking for bait before and during the turkey season.

Jarrod Hughes of Haughton, a nine-year LDWF Wildlife Division employee, received the 2013 Biologist of the Year for habitat work on Bodcau WMA that included native warm season grass planting, fall food plot planting, and understory brush control.

Charles Boles of Kisatchie was named the 2013 Wildlife Technician of the Year. A 30-year USDA Forest Service employee, Boles received his award for wild turkey project assistance on Kisatchie Ranger District involving a cooperative four-year gobbler banding study with LDWF. 

For more information, contact Jimmy Stafford at 225-765-2361 or jstafford@wlf.la.gov .

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.

 

Louisiana Opens 2014 Recreational Red Snapper Season in State Waters

Release Date: 02/17/2014

Season Opens Early with a Two Fish Possession Limit

(Feb. 17, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the Louisiana weekend-only red snapper season will open on Friday, February 21, 2014, at 12:01 a.m. until further notice.

The “Louisiana-only” season

A weekend is defined as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of Memorial Day and Labor Day, when Monday will be classified as a weekend day as well.

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

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

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 it is fully expected that federal agents will continue to enforce federal law.  Until the time when 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.  Permit renewals can be completed 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 provides real-time data collection and the best data available to fishery managers, we encourage anglers to verify and update their license database information. 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.

 

LDWF Reports Record Low for Boating Fatalities in 2013

Release Date: 02/13/2014

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division’s Boating Safety Program is reporting a record low of 13 boating fatalities for Louisiana in 2013.

The previous low for boating fatalities was 19 in 1992 with a high of 79 in 1974, which was the first year boating incident statistics were recorded.  Louisiana averaged 69 boating fatalities a year from 1974 to 1979, 52 a year from 1980-1989, 32 a year from 1990-1999, 37 a year from 2000 to 2009.  Since 2010 Louisiana has averaged 25 boating fatalities a year including 30 in 2012, 36 in 2011 and 21 in 2010.

“While we are always striving for lower boating incidents and fatalities, we are happy to report this record low for boating fatalities for 2013,” said Col. Jeff Mayne, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “It shows that some of our boating safety initiatives are working and that boaters are doing a great job of adhering to our safe boating regulations.”

LDWF contributes the drop in boating fatalities to the mandatory boating education class, stricter driving or operating a vessel while under the influence (DWI) enforcement and introducing new regulations for wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

The LDWF Boating Safety Program began instituting mandatory boating safety education in 2003 for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1988 who operates a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.  In 2010, LDWF worked with the state legislature to make the boating education course mandatory for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984.  Since 2003 LDWF has certified over 50,000 boaters statewide.

“The mandatory boating education course has proven in other states and this one that over time we will have fewer boating crash incidents and fatalities,” said Capt. Rachel Zechenelly, Louisiana’s Boating Law Administrator.  “We will eventually reach a point of saturation and every boater in the state will be boating education certified, which can only increase the safety of our waterways.”

Studies have shown that states with a mandatory boating education program have fewer boating fatalities than states without one.  States with a boating education program for more than 20 years had 3.67 fatalities per 100,000 registered boats, and states with no boating education program had 6.61 fatalities per 100,000 boats.

To take a free LDWF approved boating education course please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/boatingcourses.

LDWF has upped their DWI enforcement on the water and have worked with the state legislature in the recent past to make DWI laws on the water the same as on the road.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver's license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case.  Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.  In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher and .02 for anyone under 21 years of age.

LDWF has also introduced a couple of new PFD regulations.  In 2007, LDWF made it mandatory for all on board a recreational vessel less than 16 feet in length that is steered by a hand tiller outboard motor while underway to wear a PFD.  In 2009, LDWF required anyone 16 years of age or younger to wear a PFD while onboard a vessel that is less than 26 feet in length.  The law previously stated that anyone under 12 was required to wear a PFD.

Also in 2007, LDWF made it mandatory for an operator of any recreational vessel less than 26 feet in length that already have an existing engine cut-off switch and equipped with a hand tiller outboard motor to use an engine cut-off switch.  The engine cut-off switches on these types of boats have to be attached to the operator via a lanyard.

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

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