LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Postponed Drawdown on Iatt Lake

Release Date: 05/28/2015

(May 28, 2015) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has postponed a scheduled drawdown on Iatt Lake in Grant Parish.   The drawdown has been delayed indefinitely due to the high water level in the Red River, prohibiting the lake from draining. 
 
The Department will continue to monitor the situation and adjust the drawdown schedule as necessary.
 
The intent of the drawdown is to control nuisance aquatic vegetation.
 
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 additional information regarding the drawdown, contact Ricky Moses, LDWF Biologist Manager, at rmoses@wlf.la.gov or (318) 487-5885. 
 
For press inquiries contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.gov or (225) 721-0489.

AGENDA FOR COMMISSION MEETING

Release Date: 05/28/2015

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, June 4, 2015, at the Wildlife and Fisheries Headquarters Building located at 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of April 2 and May 7, 2015

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To hear Enforcement Reports May 2015

5.  To hear an overview of the Private Lands Program

6.  To hear three Request for Proposals (RFP) for funding Breeding Waterfowl Habitat Conservation

7.  To hear an update on the Legislative Session

8.  Set October 2015 Meeting Date

9.  Receive Public Comments

10.  Adjournment

Live streaming available for the June 2015 LWF Commission Meeting through GoToWebinar.com.  To register for streaming, please follow this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1430504576958967041
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issued $9,500 in Rewards At Meeting

Release Date: 05/27/2015

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $9,500 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on May 23 in Woodworth.

The LOGT board reviewed a total of 21 cases that included public tips from 23 informants.  A total of 31 subjects were apprehended and a total of 236 offenses were written in regards to the reviewed cases.  The LOGT has paid out a total of $368,400 since inception in 1984.

The cases reviewed and awarded money to the public for their assistance consisted of 13 deer cases,  four turkey cases, and the illegal cutting of trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area among a few others.

In the Spring Bayou WMA case agents used a public tip to arrest Rick K. Savoy, 48, of Hessmer, on March 6.

Anyone wishing to report wildlife or fisheries violations should anonymously call LDWF’s 24-hour toll free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or utilize LDWF's new tip411 program.  To use the tip411 program, tipsters can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone and Android apps from the iTunes or Google Play store free of charge.  Texting or downloading the app enables the public to send anonymous tips to LDWF and lets LDWF respond back, creating a two-way anonymous “chat”.

Users of the app or texters can also send in photos to help support their claim and be used as evidence.  CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

LOGT was instituted in 1984 and provides cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of violators of fish and wildlife regulations.  Funds are raised through private donations, court directed contributions and through contributions from cooperative endeavor agreements with organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation and Quality Deer Management Association.

To make a donation to the LOGT that can be used for cash rewards, please contact Lt. Will Roberts at wroberts@wlf.la.gov.

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

L.D.W.F. Welcomes Home NASP National Archers

Release Date: 05/22/2015

L.D.W.F. Welcomes Home NASP National Archers
L.D.W.F. Welcomes Home NASP National Archers
L.D.W.F. Welcomes Home NASP National Archers

 May 22, 2015 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) congratulates the 110 students from 17 different Louisiana schools who represented the state at the 2015 National Archery in the Schools Program’s National Tournament in Louisville, Ky., from May 7 to 9. Over 12,000 students from 42 states competed.
 
Benton Middle School placed 3rd in the middle school division and compiled a score of 3,357 -- just one point behind the second place team.  Benton Middle competed against 198 other middle school teams from across the nation.
 
Benton Elementary finished in 4th place at NASP Nationals with a score of 3,219 and was only four points from finishing in the top 3 and a spot on the awards podium.  Last year Benton Elementary placed 8th in the nation and went on to be crowned World Champs at the 2014 NASP World Tournament.  This year’s NASP World Tournament competition will be held this July in Nashville, and Benton will have the opportunity to defend their title.
 
In the individual competition, two Benton Elementary students finished in the top five.  In the Elementary Girls Division, Benton’s Kaitlyn Masters finished 2nd in the nation with a score of 285 and Emma Bunch, also of Benton Elementary, finished 5th in the nation with a score of 284. Their scores placed them at the top of the field of 1,592 competitors from across the country.
 
Nathan Delill of Buckeye High School was Louisiana’s highest scoring shooter at the tournament with a 291, finishing 13th in the Middle School Boys Division.
 
Additional to the traditional NASP bull’s eye tournament, students who qualified for NASP Nationals were also eligible to compete in the 2nd annual NASP/IBO 3-D tournament.  Northwood High School student Thomas Miller, a 5th grader, was one of those who tried his hand at this newer element of NASP.  Thomas finished 10th among all Elementary Division boys.
 
Other Louisiana schools represented at the NASP National Tournament included: Acadiana High School, Alexandria Senior High, Benton High School, Bossier High School, Cope Middle School, Haughton Middle School, Haughton High School, Poland J.H., Tioga High School, W.T. Lewis Elementary, Phoenix Magnet Elementary, J.I. Barron Sr. Elementary and Tioga High School.
 
All of the students and schools that participated at the NASP National Tournament are members of the Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) program which teaches NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) to students in grades 3-12 as part of their in-school curriculum.  All schools in the state of Louisiana are eligible to have the ALAS program.  The ALAS program is facilitated and funded by LDWF.
 
For more information about the ALAS program, contact ALAS State Coordinator Robert Stroede at (318)484-2276 or rstroede@wlf.la.gov , or visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/archery/archery-louisiana-schools-alas .
 
PHOTO 1: Kaitlyn Masters (2nd from left) and Emma Bunch (far right) of Benton Elementary placed 2nd and 5th repectively at the 2015 NASP National Tournament in the Elementary Girls Division.
 
PHOTO 2: Benton Middle School team places 3rd at NASP Nationals.
 
PHOTO 3: Over 12,000 student archers competed at the 2015 NASP National Tournament in Louisville, KY.

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LDWF Agent Shot While On Patrol; Listed In Serious Condition; Suspect Captured

Release Date: 05/21/2015

Sgt. Scott Bullitt

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agent was shot in the line of duty while on patrol on the Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area in Ouachita Parish.

Around 6:40 p.m. Sgt. Scott Bullitt, 32, of Jonesboro, along with another agent stopped a vehicle at the end of Buckley Hill Road near the Wham Break Boat Launch.  Sgt. Bullitt believed the occupants of the vehicle to be impaired and proceeded to go back to the LDWF patrol vehicle.

While walking back to his vehicle, Sgt. Bullitt was shot in the lower back by the passenger of the vehicle, later identified as Luke Jarrod Hust, 29, of Monroe.  The other agent returned fire.  Hust fled the scene into the woods.  It is unknown if Hust was hit.

The unwounded agent was able to call for help and apprehend the driver of the vehicle, whom authorities don’t believe fired any shots at this time.  The driver was subsequently brought in for questioning.

Around 7 p.m. the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene and were able to take Sgt. Bullitt to a local Monroe hospital where he is listed in serious condition.

The LDWF Enforcement Division, State Police, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Monroe Police Dept., and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection set up a perimeter and searched the area for Hust.  At 11 p.m. authorities located and arrested Hust on Timber Lane Drive in Monroe.

“We are praying for the well-being of Sgt. Bullitt and his family,” said LDWF Sec. Robert Barham.  “Also want to give thanks to everyone that helped locate this fugitive so that justice can be served.”

Sgt. Bullitt has been an LDWF agent for over five years and is married with no kids.  He recently received the “Louisiana Highway Safety Commission DWI Award” presented on March 24.  He was selected among statewide agents to receive this award due to his dedication and hard work to make Louisiana waterways and roadways safer for the traveling public by removing impaired drivers.

“This is a sad day for all wildlife and fisheries agents in the country,” said Col. Broussard, head of the LDWF Enforcement Division.  “Our agents travel into remote areas patrolling public lands often and it can be a very dangerous task as we saw tonight.  My thoughts at this time are with Sgt. Bullitt and his family and also the brave men and women that contributed to catching the shooter.”

Louisiana State Police will be the lead investigative agency for this shooting incident.

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

Arnaudville Man Cited for Poisoning Animals

Release Date: 05/21/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited an Arnaudville man on May 6 for allegedly illegally poisoning a coyote, eight vultures and three opossums in St. Martin Parish.

Agents cited Laurant W. Taylor, 71, for intentional concealment of wildlife, taking non-game birds illegally, taking non-game quadrupeds illegally and taking opossums illegally.

Agents began investigating Taylor when they received a complaint about dead birds that appeared to be poisoned along Mike LeBlanc Road.  Upon investigating the complaint agents noticed pig parts spread on the road and shoulder that had a white residue coating the surface.  Agents also located five dead vultures and two dead opossums a short distance from the pig parts.

After collecting the dead animals and pig parts for evidence, agents came into contact with Taylor who was driving his vehicle on the road.  Agents found out that Taylor farmed and hunted most of the surrounding areas.

On April 4 agents returned to the scene and found another three dead vultures, two dead opossums and another site of pig parts.  On April 7 agents learned that the chemical coating on the pig parts and dead animals was carbofuran.

On April 23 agents approached Taylor with the new found evidence of carbofuran.  Taylor admitted to lacing the pig parts with the chemical and spreading the parts out on the road to kill coyotes on March 29.  He said the area where he spread the pig parts was where he commonly hunted rabbits.  Taylor also admitted to finding and removing a dead coyote near the poisoned pig parts on April 1.

After obtaining all evidence, agents cited Taylor for the wildlife violations on May 6.

Intentional concealment of wildlife brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Illegally taking non-game quadrupeds and non-game birds each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days for each offense.  Illegally taking opossums brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Taylor also faces a total of $139.28 in civil restitution for the illegally killed animals.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Ryan Faul, Sgt. Brian Theriot, Senior Agent Cullom Schexnyder, Senior Agent Jason Sanchez and Agent Andrew Arton.

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

Secretary Jewell, Governor Jindal Announce Proposal to Remove Louisiana Black Bear from Endangered Species List

Release Date: 05/20/2015

Secretary Jewell, Governor Jindal Announce Proposal to Remove Louisiana Black Bear from Endangered Species List

BATON ROUGE, La. (May 20, 2015)  – Thanks to a highly successful public-private partnership spanning more than two decades, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the Louisiana black bear – the inspiration for the “Teddy Bear” – from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
 
“The Louisiana black bear symbolizes how the Endangered Species Act can be a remarkably effective tool to protect and recover threatened and endangered species when we work in close partnership with states and other stakeholders,” Jewell said. “Across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we have worked together with our partners to protect and restore habitat, reintroduce populations and reduce the threats to the bear. Today’s recovery of the bear is yet another success story of the Endangered Species Act.”
 
The Endangered Species Act has been a critical safety net for imperiled plants and wildlife for more than four decades, preventing more than 99 percent of the species listed from going extinct. In addition, the Act has helped to move many species from the brink of extinction to the path to recovery, including the American alligator, Florida panther, bald eagle, brown pelican and gray whale. The Obama Administration has removed from the endangered species list due to recovery more species than any prior administration.
 
“Today, after more than 20 years of collaborative research and recovery efforts, I’m proud to finally announce the recovery of the Louisiana black bear,” said Governor Jindal. “With today’s announcement, we will finally start the process of removing the Louisiana black bear from the United States Threatened and Endangered Species List. This great announcement highlights the vital steps we’ve taken to protect such an iconic symbol of our great state, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done together to get here.”
 
The Louisiana black bear is a subspecies of black bear unique to Louisiana, western Mississippi and eastern Texas. In 1902, it became part of American culture when, during a hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi, President Theodore Roosevelt spared one from his trophy collection. An editorial cartoon in The Washington Post relayed the story, sparking an idea from a Brooklyn candy store owner to create the “Teddy Bear.”
 
When the Louisiana black bear was listed under the ESA in 1992 due to habitat loss, reduced quality of remaining habitat and human-related mortality, the three known remaining breeding subpopulations were confined to the bottomland hardwood forests of Louisiana in the Tensas and Upper and Lower Atchafalaya River basins. Today, those subpopulations have all increased in number and have stable to increasing growth rates. Additional breeding subpopulations are forming in Louisiana and Mississippi, providing a healthy long-term outlook for the species.
 
For more than 20 years, the Service has partnered with the Louisi­ana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Resources Conserva­tion Service, University of Tennessee, private landowners and others to address the threat of habitat loss in the bear’s range. This includes researching the status of the existing populations, establishing additional subpopulations, and protecting or restoring more than 750,000 acres of habitat. A large proportion of habitat supporting and connecting breeding subpopulations has been protected and restored voluntarily through private landowner restoration efforts.
 
“This announcement demonstrates once again that the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act make a difference, giving the Service and its partners time to recover imperiled species,” said Service Deputy Director Steve Guertin, who announced the proposed delisting at an event hosted by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge. “An America without the Louisiana black bear would be an America that has deprived its children of a key piece of their wildlife heritage.”
 
“The department has an established track record of successfully recovering species, including the American alligator, the Brown pelican and the Bald eagle,” said Robert Barham, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. “We look forward to adding the Louisiana black bear to that distinguished list.”
 
“This event marks a successful effort mounted by a collection of conservation partners including the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Black Bear Conservation Coalition, to list a few,” said Theodore Roosevelt IV. “It is clear to me that when we work cooperatively, we can achieve great things. It is my sincere hope that we can replicate this type of collaboration in other parts of the country so that our nation’s wildlife resources can flourish. I particularly want to salute the local landowners who made changes in their land management practices to provide the necessary habitat for black bears.”
 
Long-term habitat protection is defined as having sufficient assurances that degradation is not likely to occur for at least 100 years. These assurances rest heavily on voluntary conservation agreements with private landowners and public conservation agencies in the Tensas and Atchafalaya River basins. The ESA stipulates delisted species require monitoring for a minimum of five years. The post-delisting monitoring plan unveiled by the Service will ensure the population continues to thrive into the future under state management.
 
Through the public comment period, which ends on July 20, 2015, the Service is seeking additional biological data and information regarding threats to the Louisiana black bear. The agency is seeking information on the extent of federal and state protection and management provided to the bear as a delisted species, and current or planned activities that may impact or benefit the bear.
 
The Service will hold public hearings on the proposed rule, and the public is encouraged to submit comments through http://www.regulations.gov. For more information about the proposed delisting of the Louisiana black bear, please visit the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/lafayette or http://www.fws.gov/southeast/.
 
[Attached photo provided courtesy of John Flores]
Contacts for more information:
Jessica Kershaw (Interior), Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov
Tom MacKenzie (FWS), tom_mackenzie@fws.gov, 404-679-7291, M: 678-296-6400
Shannon Bates (Governor’s Office), shannon.bates@la.gov, 225-342-8006
Bo Boehringer (LADWF), bboehringer@wlf.la.gov, 225-765-5115
 
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Three Men Cited For Oyster Violations In Plaquemines Parish

Release Date: 05/20/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged oyster violations in the Empire area of Plaquemines Parish on May 19.

Agents cited Diego Gonzalez, 21, of Bacliff, Texas, Jose Bocanegra, 45, of St. Bernard, and Khal Kim, 23, of Empire, for harvesting oysters from vessels in violation of the state’s oyster harvesting health code.

Agents found Gonzalez harvesting oysters from a vessel without the required tarp to protect oysters from sun and other adverse conditions.  Agents then found Bocanegra harvesting oysters from a vessel that was not following refrigeration requirements for oysters intended for raw consumption.  Finally Kim was caught harvesting oysters without the required Department of Health and Hospitals logbook.

Failing to follow refrigeration requirements for oysters brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Harvesting oysters without the required logbook and tarp in adverse conditions each carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense.

Agents seized a total of 161 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.

Agents participating in case are Sgt. Adam Young, and Agents Travis Bartlett, and Blaine Wagner.

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

Five Subjects Cited For Illegal Oyster Harvest in Sister Lake

Release Date: 05/19/2015

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited five subjects for alleged oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish on May 7.

Agents cited Brent M. Leboeuf, 23; Amberlly C. Leboeuf, 28; and Armando Brunet, 28, all from Houma, Jose Duron, 20, and Tito Bermudez, 22, both from New Orleans, for taking oysters during a closed season.

While on patrol agents observed an oyster vessel enter Sister Lake near dusk.  Due to the numerous complaints of illegal activity on Sister Lake, agents set up surveillance and observed the vessel being used to harvest oysters on the closed seed ground.  The Sister Lake public grounds did not open for the 2014-2015 oyster season.

Agents returned 20 sacks of oysters to the water and seized two dredges and the vessel.

Taking oysters during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Any person convicted of this violation may only harvest oysters from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system monitored by LDWF for a period of one year.

Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Bryan Marie and Richard Purvis.

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

Three Men Convicted for Oyster Violations in Terrebonne Parish

Release Date: 05/19/2015

Three Houma men were found guilty of oyster violations in Terrebonne Parish Division E Court on May 18.

Judge Randy Bethancourt sentenced Samuel Dobson, 35, the captain of the oyster vessel, to pay $1,654.50 in fines, to forfeit his commercial fishing license for 10 years, 120 hours of community service in a litter abatement program and one year of supervised probation.  Judge Bethancourt ordered John Parker III, 25, to pay a $2,629.50 fine and Dylan Parker, 21, to pay a $2,679.50 fine.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested the men for oyster harvesting violations on Dec. 18 in Terrebonne Parish.  Agents arrested the men for taking oysters during a closed season on the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation, taking oysters from a polluted area, taking oysters during illegal hours, taking oysters without commercial gear and vessel licenses, and violating the sanitation code (log book).

On Dec. 18 around 8:30 p.m., LDWF agents were patrolling the Sister Lake Seed Reservation when they observed a vessel in the open water of Sister Lake dredging for oysters.  Agents stopped the vessel and found the three men in possession of two sacks of oysters.

Agents seized the vessel, two oyster dredges and returned the oysters to the water.  The men were booked into the Terrebonne Parish Jail.

The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation is closed for the 2014/15 season.

Agents participating in this care were Sgt. Thomas Dewitt, Sgt. Brian Marie, Senior Agent Jamie Folse, Agent Richard Bean and Agent Lucas Hidalgo.  Assistant District Attorney Chris Erny prosecuted the case.

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

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