LDWF News

LDWF News Release

Venice Set to Host 2012 LASS Redfish Championship this Weekend

Release Date: 10/03/2012

(Oct. 3, 2012)– Going into the final tournament of the season, 46 teams are still alive in the 2012 Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Series championship race.  The championship is a two-day tournament, with a two-fish total weight per day to determine the 2012 champion. 

The event will be based at Venice Marina on Friday, October 5 through Saturday, October 6. 

The 100 percent payout tournament has dished out nearly $60,000 in its third year.  Since the tournament’s inception in 2010, 1,915 fish have been tagged as part of the department’s Louisiana Cooperative Marine Sport Fish Tagging Program, and 102 have been recaptured.

“With the best payouts and even better anglers, the competition intensifies and top anglers are rewarded for their talent, hard work, and bit of luck,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

While anglers are fishing the area’s bountiful waters, friends, family and fishing fans are urged to come out and enjoy music and delicious food provided by Drago’s Seafood Restaurant and Venice Marina while cheering on the competitors to see who takes home bragging rights for next year.  The scales open each day at 1 p.m.

For more information and a schedule of weekend events, visit www.lasaltwaterseries.com.

 The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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

 

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Hunter Tips: Sharing Habitat with Bears in the Fall

Release Date: 10/03/2012

Oct. 3, 2012 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reminds hunters as they head into the woods this fall that bears are actively foraging at this time of year in preparation for the winter.  Louisiana black bear populations throughout the state are growing and their ranges are expanding, as noted in record numbers of trail camera photos capturing bear activity at deer feeders.

Bears are foraging more actively at this time of year in order to gain the body weight necessary to survive food shortages during winter.  Corn is a bear favorite and when placed in areas inhabited by bears it will attract them.

MINIMIZE ATTRACTING BEARS BY:

  • Planting food plots instead of feeding corn.  For those hunters that prefer to feed, it is advisable to switch to soybeans.  Switching from corn to soybeans may be enough to drastically decrease the number of visits by bear(s) to a particular site.
  • Hanging your feeder out of reach of bears.  A feeder should be hung at least 8 feet above the ground and 4 feet away from the tree or pole used to suspend the feeder.
  • Using spin-broadcast type feeders.  Bears are less likely to forage for one grain at a time, as dispersed on the ground from a spin-broadcast feeder.  A pile of feed corn or rice bran is more likely to attract bears for repeat feedings.  

HOW TO HANDLE BLACK BEAR ENCOUNTERS

It is important for hunters to educate themselves about bears and bear behavior and   take the proper precautions while in the woods.  Younger hunters should be coached on how to respond to different types of bear encounters and provided with bear spray and taught how to use it.

  • Black bears are extremely inquisitive and will sometimes follow a hunter’s tracks to a deer stand.  It is not uncommon for black bear to place their front feet on the ladder and peer up into the stand in an attempt to discover what’s there.  This situation can usually be resolved by standing and moving about on the stand and speaking to the bear to allow him to see and hear you.  Once their curiosity is satisfied, bears will usually move on. 
  • A hunter moving through thick brush will occasionally come upon a black bear nest.  Female bears readily use ground nests to give birth to their cubs.  This occurs during the den season (late December through April).  Ground nests are most often located in slash piles, felled tree tops, blackberry thickets and thick palmetto.  This type of encounter will usually cause the female to run away from her nest.  The cubs will bawl loudly in protest at being abandoned.  This vocalization will quickly bring the female back as soon as you leave the area.  DO NOT approach or handle the cubs.
  • If you see a black bear in the woods from a distance, detour around the bear.  If necessary, go back the way you came and access your intended destination from another direction.
  • If you encounter a bear at close range, raise your hands above your head to appear larger than you are, speak in a normal voice to allow the bear to identify you as human, and back away slowly until it is safe to turn and walk away -- DO NOT RUN.
  • The best tip for insuring hunter safety and peace of mind in the woods is to carry bear spray. It is readily available for purchase on vendor websites, easy to use, and is the most effective bear deterrent available.  There are several brands available. Be sure to buy a product labeled “bear spray” and keep it readily accessible at all times.  Do not substitute mace or pepper spray intended for humans.  Most brands of bear spray come with a belt holster designed to keep the canister in a convenient location.  Bear spray buried in your backpack does not do you any good.  Another good option for temporarily chasing a bear out of an area is to use specialized pyrotechnics called siren screamer or “screamers”, for short.  They are fired from a hand-held, pistol style launcher and make a high pitched “screaming” noise as they fly through the air. They are available for purchase via vendor websites.
  • In the unlikely event that a black bear attacks, DO NOT PLAY DEAD; that is a technique used for grizzly bear attacks.  Fight back with anything available (sticks, rocks, knives, etc.) as black bear attacks have successfully been stopped when the person fought back violently.

Know your target

Hunters are also reminded that feral hogs and black bears can look very similar, especially in low light conditions.  A hog’s eyes will not reflect light or “shine”, but a bear’s eyes will “shine” when viewed with a flashlight.  It is critical to always know your target and what’s beyond it before pulling the trigger.  Killing a Louisiana black bear is against federal and state law and can result in serious fines, jail time or both.  All Louisiana black bear deaths also hinder LDWF’s progress towards successfully delisting the species.

LIVING WITH BEARS

Increasing numbers of bears and expanding bear range means many more Louisiana hunters will encounter bears while hunting.  For hunters who do not have experience with bears, encounters with bears can result in some anxious moments.  It is important that hunters understand that in most circumstances black bears are not aggressive toward humans.  They are typically curious and will usually move away once they are aware of human presence.

In many areas of the United States, including the southeast, hunters and bears successfully co-exist.  The increasing presence of bears in Louisiana’s wildlife community will require that hunters learn about bear behavior and make some adjustments in the way they feed deer.   Bears are adding a new dimension to the hunting experience and one that will be positive if hunters adapt to their presence.  It is the goal of the department’s black bear program to restore sustainable bear populations and allow regulated hunting of bears in the future.

To report a bear incident or problems with bears call 1-800-442-2511.

For more information, contact Maria Davidson at 225-931-3061 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov.

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Agenda for Commission Meeting

Release Date: 10/01/2012

***NOTE LOCATION CHANGE***

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, October 4, 2012, in the EducationBuilding at the Waddill Outdoor Education Center, 4142 North Flannery, Baton Rouge, LA 70814.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of September 6, 2012

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.   To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/September

5.   Update on Land Acquisition – Wham and Bussey Brake

6.  To receive and consider public comments on the Notice of Intent for 2013 Turkey Areas, Season, and Bag Limits for final Rule

7. To receive and consider public comments on the Notice of Intent for General and WMA Turkey Hunting Regulations for final Rule

8.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Revise Rules Governing Falconry

9. To hear a Report on Assessment of the Impact of Hurricane Isaac to the White-Tailed Deer Herds in Southeast Louisiana; and to consider a Declaration of Emergency to Adjust the 2012-13 Deer Season Rules and Regulations in the Impacted Area

10.To receive and consider public comments on the Notice of Intent on Crappie Regulations in Lake D’Arbonne for final Rule

11.  Set February Commission Meeting Date

12.  Receive Public Comments

13.  Adjournment

Two Montegut Men Arrested for Shrimp and Boating Violations

Release Date: 09/28/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents arrested and cited two men for alleged fishing and boating safety violations on the Pointe-Aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) on Sept. 26.

Agents cited Lance Billiot, 31, and Armando Brunett, 25, both of Montegut, for blocking passages of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear.  Armando Brunett was also cited for not possessing a boat registration certificate, no running lights, failure to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements and no fire extinguisher.

While on patrol on the Pointe-Aux-Chenes WMA and Island Road, agents witnessed a net tied to the bridge just below the surface of the water in front of the water control structure blocking the waterway.  Agents set up surveillance on the net.

A short time later, agents observed two subjects pick up the net from a vessel without lights.  Agents stopped the men and found them to be in possession of the net, which contained 27 pounds of shrimp caught illegally.  Agents placed the men under arrest and booked them into the Terrebonne Parish Correctional Facility.

Blocking the passage of fish and taking shrimp with illegal gear carries a fine from $250 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail for each offense.  Failing to be in possession of a boat registration certificate, no running lights, no fire extinguisher and failing to comply with PFD requirements carry a $50 fine and up 15 days in jail for each offense.

Agents involved in the case were Senior Agent Michael Williams, Senior Agent Nick Guillory and Senior Agent Michael Marques.

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

Three Jefferson Parish Men Caught With 62 Red Drum

Release Date: 09/26/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three men for alleged fishing violations on Sept. 21 in Lafitte.

Agents cited Rickie Thomas, 57, of Westwego, Leon Firven, 56, and Willie Langford, 80, both of Avondale, for taking or possessing over the limit of red drum and possessing undersized red drum.  Additionally Firven was cited for angling without basic and saltwater licenses.

Agents received a complaint about people catching over the limit of red drum in The Pen, which is a body of water east of Lafitte.  The agents stopped the men in their vessel as they were leaving the complaint area returning to the launch and found them in possession of 62 red drum with some of those being undersized.

The regulations for red drum are five per person per day with a 16 inch minimum length of which only one can be over 27 inches long.

Due to the men being 47 red drum over the legal limit, taking or possessing over the limit red drum is elevated to a Class Four violation, which carries a penalty of $400 to- $950 in fines and up to 120 days in jail or both plus court cost and revocation of fishing licenses.

Taking or possessing undersized red drum carries a penalty of $100 to $350 in fines and up to 60 days in jail or both plus court costs.  Angling without a basic license and saltwater license both bring penalties of $50 in fines and up to 15 days in jail or both plus court costs.

In addition to the fines, the men will be charged a civil restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish in the amount of $1,315.60.

Agents involved in the case are Sgt. Tim Fox and Senior Agent Mitchel Saunders.

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

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Oct. 3 Public Meeting in Marksville to Provide Update on LDWF’s Black Bear Program

Release Date: 09/25/2012

Sept. 25, 2012 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold a public meeting in Marksville on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. to present information about black bears in Louisiana. The meeting will be held at the Avoyelles Parish School Board office at 221 Tunica Drive West.

LDWF biologists will present an update on the Louisiana Black Bear Program and discuss various techniques the public can use to avoid contact with bears and prevent property damage.  Methods to prevent bears from gaining access to camps and buildings will be demonstrated and discussed.  Hunter/bear conflicts will be addressed and suggestions to avoid problems will be offered.  The future goals of LDWF bear management and the necessary steps to reach those goals will be presented.

Following the presentation there will be a question and answer period to allow for general discussion about the bears in Louisiana and living with bears.  There will also be examples of various bear deterrent devices on display. For more information contact:  Maria Davidson (337) 948-0255 or mdavidson@wlf.la.gov .

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.

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Authorities Find Body of Missing Boater on Ouachita River

Release Date: 09/22/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies found the body of Charles Trascher, 64, of Monroe, on the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish this morning, Sept. 22.

Trascher was reported missing shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 when he did not return home from a fishing trip according to his family.  Authorities recovered Trascher’s 17-foot aluminum vessel in the Ouachita River near West Monroe during the evening hours of Sept. 20. 

Agents and deputies searched for Trascher throughout the night of Sept. 20 and all day Sept. 21.  Trascher's body was found without a personal flotation device around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 about one mile south from where his vessel was recovered.

LDWF had two sonar units on scene to assist in the search.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

*Amended* Authorities Searching for Missing Boater on Ouachita River

Release Date: 09/21/2012

*Amended*

Search and rescue crews are currently searching for a missing boater on the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents and Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for Charles Trascher, 64, of Monroe, who was reported missing shortly after 6 p.m. on Sept. 20.

According to family, Trascher never returned home yesterday from a fishing trip.  Authorities recovered Trascher’s 17-foot aluminum vessel in the Ouachita River near West Monroe last night, Sept. 20, and searched throughout the night.

LDWF will have two sonar units on scene today to assist in the search.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.

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

Three Avoyelles Men Cited for Wildlife Violations

Release Date: 09/21/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited three Avoyelles Parish men for alleged wildlife violations on Sept. 14 in Avoyelles Parish.

Agents cited Kristopher A. Dugas, 21, of Marksville, and Eric M. Dauzat, 25, of Hessmer, for allegedly taking a six-point buck during a closed season, during illegal hours with artificial light, hunting from a public road and moving vehicle, without basic and big game licenses, and possession of an illegally taken deer.  Kristopher Dugas was also cited for taking deer with an illegal firearm.

Agents also cited Terry A Ducote Jr., 42, of Hessmer, for possession of the illegally taken deer and illegal possession of an alligator.

An LDWF agent received information that Dauzat and Kristopher Dugas killed a buck at night during the month of August.  During questioning, Dauzat admitted that he and Kristopher Dugas killed the buck at around 12:28 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 21 in the Fifth Ward community with a .17 caliber rifle.

The deer’s six-point head still in velvet was at the residence of Terry Ducote Jr.  When the agents went to Terry Ducote’s residence to take possession of the head, they also found an untagged alligator tail.

Taking deer during a closed season and during illegal hours brings a fine of $900 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail for each offense.  Possession of an illegally taken deer carries a fine of $400 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting from a public road and taking a deer with an illegal firearm brings a fine of $100 to $350 or up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a fine of $250 to $500 or up to 90 days in jail.  Hunting without basic and big game licenses brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail for each offense.

Illegal possession of an alligator carries a fine of $400 to $950 or up to 120 days in jail.

Kristopher Dugas and Dauzat may also be held responsible for restitution in the amount of $1,624 for the illegally taken deer.  Terry Ducote may also be held responsible for restitution in the amount of $375.80 for the illegally taken alligator.

The deer and alligator tail were seized and donated to charity.

Agent participating in the case are Sgt. Gabe Guidry, Senior Agent John Volentine, and Senior Agent Doug Anderson Jr.

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

LDWF Moves Forward with VMS Pilot Program for Public Seed Ground Oyster Vessels

Release Date: 09/20/2012

September 12, 2012 – In an effort to better manage the more than 1.6 million acres of public oyster beds, the state has implement the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Pilot Program, which requires oyster vessels fishing on the public seed grounds to have a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries provided VMS.

Data collected through the VMS Pilot Program will allow LDWF to better manage the resources on the public oyster seed grounds.  The department worked closely with oyster industry leaders to create a program that will not be burdensome to harvesters

VMS units will be provided to all oyster permit holders by LDWF. The entire system, service and installation will be provided at no cost to the vessel operator. Participants in the VMS Pilot Program will only be required to minimally maintain care for the units.

LDWF has contracted Pole Star Space Applications through a competitive bidding process to provide the data collection services. Pole Star will provide the VMS monitoring solution, and will coordinate with vessel owners to install the equipment. Pole Star, along with their sub-contractor Radio Holland USA, will be coordinating the installation effort for the entire oyster fleet.

Oyster vessels who harvest on public seed grounds must have a VMS unit installed to remain in compliance with current regulations.  If they do not have a VMS unit currently installed they need to confirm with LDWF that installation has been scheduled.

To schedule a VMS installation, please contact Sam Boyd with Radio Holland USA at LDWF@radiohollandusa.com, or (713) 378-2145

All information collected by LDWF will be considered privileged and confidential and will not be made public. Vessels owners will be allowed to track their own vessels through VMS installed onboard their oyster vessels.

Currently, over 700 vessels are permitted to harvest on public oyster beds. The Louisiana oyster industry provides more than one-third of the nation’s oyster consumption.

During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Louisiana Legislature passed Act 266, giving LDWF the authority to require VMS devices onboard vessels that harvestoysters for commercial purposes on public seed grounds.  This action was taken to enable the department to better manage the public oyster resource.

LDWF is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, and on Facebook at www.facebook.comldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Richard Weiser at rweiser@wlf.louisiana.govor (225) 761-2389 or Jason Froeba jfroeba@wlf.la.gov225-765-0121.  For press inquiries please contact Laura Wooderson at lwooderson@wlf.la.gov or (504) 430-2623.

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