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LDWF News Release

Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council Meeting Set for Oct. 16

Release Date: 10/10/2012

The Hunting and Fishing Advisory Education Council will meet Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters building located at 2000 Quail Drive in Baton Rouge.

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting in the 4th floor conference roomis as follows:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of March 15, 2012 and June 12, 2012

3. Welcome and Opening Comments from Chairman

4. Enforcement Division Report

5. Office of Wildlife: Report on Hurricane Isaac Impacts

6. Office of Fisheries: Report on Aquatic Plant Control Program        

7. Office of Fisheries: Report on Bass Regulations in the Atchafalaya Basin

8. Council Discussion of Stated Mission

9. Set Next Meeting Date

10. Receive Public Comments

11. Adjournment

For more information, contact Bo Boehringer 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.

 

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L.D.W.F. Presents Proposed Falconry Rules and Regulations Changes To Commission

Release Date: 10/09/2012

Oct. 9, 2012  -- The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a notice of intent (NOI) Oct. 4 to amend the rules and regulations governing falconry (hunting with a trained bird of prey such as a hawk).

The NOI presented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) replaces the existing rules for the sport with expanded rules that combine state rules with federal rules.

Currently, falconers are required to obtain a state and federal falconry permit and a Louisiana Game Breeder’s License.  Effective January 1, 2014, the USFWS will no longer issue falconry permits and individual states wishing to retain falconry programs must adopt their own regulations based on minimum criteria set forth by the USFWS.

The NOI provides for three classes of falconers including apprentice, general and master. A permit applicant is required to pass a written exam and serve a two-year apprenticeship with a general or master falconer. LDWF will also establish an electronic reporting system for falconers, replacing the current paper system.

To view the full notice of intent, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at any monthly LWFC meeting through Dec. 6, 2012 or can be submitted to Kenny Ribbeck, LDWF Wildlife Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, or kribbeck@wlf.la.gov through Dec. 5, 2012.

For more information, contact Jimmy Ernst at 985-543-4777 or jernst@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.

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Louisiana Saltwater Series Goes Out With a Bang at Its 2012 Redfish Championship

Release Date: 10/08/2012

LASS 2012 Redfish Champions Luke Landry and Nash Roberts
LASS 2012 Youth of the Year Christopher McElveen
LASS 2012 Team of the Year Sean O’Connell and Joshua Romig

Oct. 8, 2012 The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Championship held on Oct. 5 and 6, came to an exciting finale with awards going to the Team of the Year, Youth of the Year and Tournament Champions.

In their third year competing in the LASS, Luke Landry and Nash Roberts, both of the New Orleans area, took home top honors with a four-fish total weight of 31.96 pounds.   After fishing the sand bars on both days, Landry and Roberts landed their trophy-winning fish in deep water.  “Due to the wind Friday, the sand bars had dirty water, so we turned to the deep water fish,” explained Landry.  “On day two, we returned to the deep water fish.  The bite was slower, but two large reds sealed the deal.” 

The LASS continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to Florida and beyond, offering two-angler teams the opportunity to compete in six regular season events.  Low entry fees for the one-day, regular season tournaments allows anglers to fish close to home and minimize expenses, while still being part of a premier inshore, catch and release redfish tournament organization.

“We’ve created a fun, competitive tournament circuit that’s affordable for the weekend fisherman.  The format is one-day and the local stops make it feasible for any Louisiana angler to make the tournaments without investing a lot of time and money,” explained LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina.

Teams fishing any four of the LASS’s six regular-season events or finishing within payout are automatically qualified for the no-entry championship event, pitting qualifiers for a combined payout of over $6,000 in cash and prizes.

As the tournament continues to grow, the series becomes more and more lucrative with each year, with a possible $73,000 in payouts over the course of the series. 

Tournament anglers weren’t the only ones to win big this season.  The Department tagged and released over 1,000 redfish throughout 2012 series, tagging 208 in the championship event alone, the largest single-event total thus far. 

The Department has been tagging fish for years as part of the Louisiana Cooperative Sport Fish Tagging Program.  Through the program, volunteer anglers provide information that is difficult, often impossible, and expensive to obtain by other means.  The impact the LASS tournament series has made on the program is astonishing, with the annual number of tagged fish nearly tripling since 2010. 

The duo of Kim Norton and Charlie Howell were honored at the championship for their tagging efforts with a total of 29 tagged redfish during the 2012 series.

Taking home the Team of the Year Award were the familiar faces of Sean O’Connell and Joshua Roming, who went home with cash in their pockets nearly every tournament this year. 

Christopher McElveen proves that tournament fishing isn’t just for the old folks, going home with the Youth of the Year Award.   Even at his young age, his 9.3 pound catch blew many of the adult competitors out of the water.  Also competing in the youth division was Kendall Gibbs with an 8.21 pound fish.   

The conservation-based tournament also offers multiple ways to win including awards for the most extra fish brought in for tagging and the lightest stringer.

Information on the 2013 Louisiana Saltwater Series will soon be available at lasaltwaterseries.com.

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LDWF Releases Report on the 14” Minimum Length Limit for Largemouth Bass in the Atchafalaya Basin

Release Date: 10/08/2012

(Oct. 8, 2012)– The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries today released a comprehensive report analyzing the 14” minimum length limit for largemouth bass in the Atchafalaya Basin and surrounding waters. 

The report examines the effectiveness of the regulation as a management tool.  Findings show the Atchafalaya Basin largemouth bass population does not exhibit necessary criteria for which a 14” minimum length limit would produce larger bass.  The study indicates that the basin bass population is more heavily influenced by environmental factors than anglers.

“The Atchafalaya Basin bass population will continue to produce the same number of nice size bass, with or without the 14” length limit,” explained LDWF Director of Inland Fisheries Mike Wood. 

Wood further explains the history behind the regulation as well as provides a detailed description of the study and results in his letter to basin anglers found on the LDWF website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/ldwf-releases-report-14-minimum-length-limit-largemouth-bass-atchafalaya-basin.   The link can also be used to access the full technical report.

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/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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

 

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Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. Issues $4,400 In Rewards To Tipsters

Release Date: 10/05/2012

Louisiana Operation Game Thief, Inc. (LOGT), a Louisiana wildlife crime-stoppers program, awarded $4,400 to diligent citizens statewide at their quarterly meeting on Oct. 3 in Mansura.

The group approved and dispensed cash reward amounts for tipsters who reported wildlife violations that led to 21 subjects being apprehended in wildlife cases.  There were a total of 12 cases presented and 46 offenses associated with those cases.

Louisiana Department Wildlife Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement LOGT Coordinator Lt. Will Roberts provided LOGT members with information on each case and a recommendation for reward amounts.

“We depend on Operation Game Thief and these public tips to help break a lot of cases that might have otherwise gone unsolved,” Roberts said.

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, citizens can anonymously text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" iPhone app from the Apple iTunes store free of charge.  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.

LOGT meets quarterly throughout the year to review cases and dispense rewards.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

LWFC Approves Revised Harvest for 2012-13 Deer Season Due to Hurricane Isaac Impacts

Release Date: 10/04/2012

Maurepas Basin Deer 2012-2013 Season Changes
Plaquemines/St. Bernard Parishes 2012-2013 Deer Season Changes


View Maurepas Basin Defined Area in a larger map

St. Bernard and Plaquemines


View 2012-2013 Deer Season Changes in a larger map

 

Oct. 4, 2012 –The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved recommendations made today by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to revise hunting rules/regulations for the 2012-13 deer season. LDWF’s Wildlife Division recommended the changes following deer herd assessments made to determine the impact of Hurricane Isaac on the deer populations in parishes flooded by the storm.

In a presentation to the Commission, Wildlife Division Administrator Kenny Ribbeck outlined major areas of concern that included the Lake Maurepas Basin, and Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes. He noted that those areas had historically lower deer densities and poorer habitat quality compared to other areas around the state.

Assessment methods utilized included biologists on the ground and in boats, as well as aerial reconnaissance. LDWF staff interviewed hunters, landowners, and LDWF Enforcement Division agents and included reports from the general public.

In the Lake Maurepas Basin, storm surge pushed water levels five to six feet above normal, major flooding lasted four days in some areas, encompassing an estimated 391,000 acres. The assessment noted light to moderate adult deer mortality, but high fawn mortality estimated at nearly 90 percent.

RECOMMENDATIONS / APPROVED for Maurepas Basin Defined Area: Portions of St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Livingston, Ascension, St. James, St. John and St. Charles parishes; beginning west of the Tchefuncte River from Lake Pontchartrain to LA 22; also south and east of LA 22 to LA 70, and east of LA 70 to LA 3125; and north and east of LA 3125 to LA 641; and west of LA 641 to US 61; then north of US 61 to the Jefferson Parish line.

·         Archery Season - no change

·         Youth, Bucks only, still: Oct. 27-28 (2 days)

·         Bucks only, still: Nov. 23 - Dec. 2 (10 days)

·         Bucks only, with or without dogs: Dec. 8 - 30 (23 days)

·         Bucks only, primitive: Jan. 19 - 27 (9 days)

 

RECOMMENDATIONS / APPROVED for Wildlife Management Areas:

*Biloxi WMA - Archery Season - no change

*Joyce WMA – same as Lake Maurepas Basin Defined Area, except still hunt only

*Manchac WMA - Archery Season - no change

*Maurepas Swamp WMA –

·         Archery Season - no change

·         Youth, Bucks only: Nov. 3-4 (2 days)

·         Bucks only, modern firearms, mandatory check: Nov. 23 (1 day)

·         Bucks only, modern firearms: Nov. 24 – 25 (2 days)

·         Bucks only, modern firearms: Dec. 22 – 28 (7 days)

·         Bucks only, primitive: Jan. 14 – 20 (7 days)

*Pass-a-Loutre WMA –

·         Archery Season - no change

·         Bucks only shotgun - no change

 

Severe flooding conditions in Plaquemines Parish, where protection levees were over-topped and the lower east bank was hit by a 14-foot storm surge, produced moderate adult deer mortality and high fawn mortality.  Severe habitat degradation was noted as the result of salt water shock and debris deposited by storm surge.

In those portions of St. Bernard, mainly areas outside the flood wall, lower marshlands that were severely flooded led to high fawn mortality and light adult deer mortality.

RECOMMENDATIONS / APPROVED for Plaquemines Parish and St. Bernard, outside the major flood wall.

·         Archery Season - no change

·         Youth, Bucks only, still: Oct. 27-28 (2 days)

·         Bucks only, still: Nov. 23 - 25 (3 days)

·         Bucks only, with or without dogs: Dec. 22 – Jan. 6 (16 days)

·         Bucks only, primitive: Jan. 19 - 27 (9 days)

 

For more information, contact Kenny Ribbeck 225-765-2942 or kribbeck@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.

LWF Commission Modifies Creel Limit on D’Arbonne Lake

Release Date: 10/04/2012

Oct. 4, 2012 – Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission took final action to decrease the daily creel limit for crappie in D'Arbonne Lake from 50 to 25.  The change is in response to concerns of overfishing that some anglers have expressed.   

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 press inquiries please contact Ashley Wethey at awethey@wlf.la.govor (225) 765-2396.

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

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