LDWF News Release

Agenda for January 2015 LWF Regular Commission Meeting

Release Date: 12/31/2014

The next regular LWF Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, January 8, 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 December 4, 2014
3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege
4. To Hear Enforcement Reports December 2014
5. To Consider a Resolution to consolidate the Ouachita Wildlife Management Area (WMA) into the Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
6. To Consider a Declaration of Emergency to set the 2015-2016 Commercial King Mackerel Season
7. To Consider final approval of the Notice of Intent for the Catch and Cook program
8. To Consider a Notice of Intent  for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 General and WMA Hunting Seasons and Rules and Regulations
9. To Consider a Notice of Intent for Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) rule change
10. To Hear a status on the Big Exotic Cat Regulation and cases including Michael Sandlin et al v. LDWF et al, No. C608,050, Div. D, 19th JDC, Parish of East Baton Rouge and USZA et al v. LDWF et al, No. 632,770, Sec. 26, 19th JDC, Parish of East Baton Rouge, and Triche, et al. v. State of Louisiana, Docket No. 631535, Div. 23, 19th JDC.
11. Set May 2015 Meeting Date
12. Receive Public Comments
13. Adjournment
Live audio stream of the January 2015 LWF Commission meeting is available through GoToWebinar.com.  To listen live on the day of the meeting, please register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7070782620396542466

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Four Men Cited for Migratory Game Bird Violations

Release Date: 12/31/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited four Louisiana residents for alleged migratory game bird violations on Dec. 29 in Acadia Parish.

Agents cited August Guillory, 30, of Morse, Tyler Boone, 21, of Mermentau, Jason Myers, 35, of Morse,and Trevor Myers, 21, of Morse, with hunting across a public road, wanton waste and intentional concealment of wildlife.  Jason and Trevor Myers were also cited for hunting without a residence license.

On the evening of Dec. 29, agents received a complaint about shots being fired near a residential area in Morse.  Senior Agent Derek Logan responded to the scene and observed Boone and Guillory on an all-terrain vehicle in a field with four wounded light geese.

The men said they had left other birds and their licenses at their house. When the agent went with the men to retrieve their licenses there were five more light geese at the camp.

Upon further investigation, the Guillory and Boone admitted that Jason and Trevor Myers were hunting from across a subdivision road earlier in the evening.  Agent Logan and the men were able to retrieve an addition two birds from the field the men had been hunting.

Intentional concealment of wildlife evidence and wanton waste each brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Hunting without a license brings up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.  Hunting across a public road brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

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

LDWF Cites Two Men for Operating Vessel with Suspended Driver’s License

Release Date: 12/31/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents made two alleged operating a vessel with a suspended driving license during the past month in Jefferson and Orleans Parish.

On Dec. 7 at 8:50 p.m. in Bayou Segnette agents cited Derrick J. Margiotta, 25, of Westwego for operating a vessel with a suspended driving license, no running lights, no possession of a mandatory boating safety education card, expired vessel registration, and failing to change ownership of the vessel to himself within 45 days of purchase.

On Nov. 24, agents cited Patrick C. Seiner, 23, of Baton Rouge, in Chef Menteur Pass for operating a vessel with a suspended driving license.

Both Seiner and Margiotta had their driving privileges suspended for previous Driving While Under the Influence (DWI) convictions.

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.

The LDWF Boating Safety Program teaches a mandatory boating safety education course for anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 who operates a vessel in excess of 10 horsepower.  For a schedule of courses, visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating.

Operating a vessel while under license suspension brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Operating a vessel at night with no running lights, no possession of the boating education card, expired vessel registration and failing to change ownership of the vessel each carry up to a $50 fine and 15 days in jail.

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

LDWF Enforcement Division Academy to Enroll Up to 24 Cadets for Training

Release Date: 12/31/2014

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) Law Enforcement Division will begin training up to 24 cadets in May of 2015 to bolster the ranks of agents in the field.

The cadets will train at the department’s training facility housed within the Waddill Outdoor Education Center in Baton Rouge. Successful completion of six months of intensive physical and academic training is required to graduate.

The opening date for the “Wildlife Cadet” position will be from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, 2015.

“An LDWF enforcement agent has a tremendous responsibility, protecting Louisiana’s rich natural resources, and those who enjoy those resources, whether in the field or on the water,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “And those responsibilities extend to response efforts during natural disasters when citizens need assistance in impacted areas.”

At the academy, cadets train to enforce the state's recreational boating laws, the state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws, and general law enforcement work on the state's many wildlife management areas.  The academy also covers general law enforcement training required for all state law enforcement officers.

Agents are additionally trained for search and rescue and serve as the lead responders in search and rescue coordination under the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

This class of graduating agents will fill field office vacancies around the state.  Each cadet is assigned to a parish and must reside in that parish upon completion of the academy.

Interested applicants can apply online through the Department of Civil Service website and must complete the LEAPS test to qualify for consideration. Please visit the civil service website at http://www.civilservice.louisiana.gov/ for “Wildlife Enforcement Cadet” and LEAPS testing application information.

For more information including a video about becoming an LDWF agent, please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/enforcement/becoming-agent.

LDWF is charged with managing, conserving, and promoting wise utilization of Louisiana's renewable fish and wildlife resources and their supporting habitats through replenishment, protection, enhancement, research, development, and education for the social and economic benefit of current and future generations; to provide opportunities for knowledge of and use and enjoyment of these resources; and to promote a safe and healthy environment for the users of the resources.

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


Three Men Found Harvesting Oysters in Closed Area

Release Date: 12/30/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents arrested three men for alleged oyster harvesting violations on Dec. 18 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agents arrested Samuel Dobson, 35, Dylan Parker, 21, and John Parker III, 25, all of Houma, 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, and taking oysters without commercial gear and vessel licenses.

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 60 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.

Taking oysters during illegal hours and from a polluted area each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail.  Taking oysters without a commercial gear or vessel license each brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Taking oysters during a closed season carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Agents participating in this care are Sgt. Thomas Dewitt, Senior Agent Jamie Folse, Agent Richard Bean and Agent Lucas Hidalgo.

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

Juvenile Whooping Cranes Released Into the Marsh at White Lake WCA

Release Date: 12/30/2014

crane in flight
crane in marsh

Dec. 30, 2014 – Fourteen juvenile whooping cranes were released into the wild Monday at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WCA) in Gueydan. The juvenile cranes join 26 adults that are part of an experimental population being monitored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
The cranes were delivered to southwest Louisiana on Dec. 4 from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.  LDWF is working cooperatively with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the International Crane Foundation to establish a non-migratory population in the state.
The whooping crane is protected under the federal Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts and by state law. Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance.
Whooping cranes are large-bodied, white birds similar to white ibis, white pelicans, and wood storks, all of which must be distinguished from legally-hunted snow geese.  However, a red head and black facial markings along with a height of five feet and a wingspan of 7-8 feet make them very distinctive.  In flight, whooping cranes display black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail.
Juvenile whooping cranes are primarily white with some cinnamon-brown feathers remaining on their body, primarily on their head and neck. Their wing tips are black like an adult, but they lack the red head.
Anyone witnessing suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to report that information to LDWF’s Enforcement Division by calling 1-800-442-2511 or using the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can 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. 
Additional information on LDWF’s whooping crane project is available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes. For more information, contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-9400, ext. 4.

$7,000 Reward Offered in Black Bear Death

Release Date: 12/23/2014

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Enforcement Division agents are seeking leads for an illegally killed black bear who was found in Avoyelles Parish.

A combined reward of $7,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of this bear. LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are each offering a reward of $1,000 for a total of $2,000. Additionally, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward up to $5,000.

A citizen alerted authorities on Dec. 5, 2014 about a dead black bear lying in the woods on Lake Ophelia National Wildlife Refuge. The bear was collected by LDWF and USFWS agents.

A necropsy revealed that the bear was shot with a bullet that went through the abdomen and was likely dead for about 10 to 14 days before he was found. The length, weight and teeth wear of the bear suggest that the animal was a juvenile. The bear weighed approximately 70 pounds.

Anyone with information regarding this illegal killing should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF’s tip411 program. Information can also be provided to USFWS Federal Wildlife Officers at the Central Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex by calling 318-253-4238.

To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” iPhone and Android app from the Apple App Store or Google Play free of charge.

The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day. Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.

The Louisiana black bear has been listed by the federal Endangered Species Act as a threatened species since 1992. Citizens are reminded that killing a Louisiana black bear is a violation of both State and Federal laws. Violators are subject to penalties up to $50,000 and six months in jail. In addition, a restitution fine of $10,000 for the bear may be imposed.

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

Montegut Man Cited for Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Violations

Release Date: 12/22/2014

A Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Southern Strikeforce agent cited a Montegut man for alleged spotted sea trout fishing violations on Dec. 17 in Terrebonne Parish.

Agent Lucas Hidalgo cited Mark J. Trahan, 42, for possession of 35 undersized spotted sea trout and possessing over the limit of spotted sea trout.

Agent Hidalgo stopped Trahan in Robinson Canal in Chauvin to conduct a boaters safety inspection.  During the inspection, Agent Hidalgo found Trahan in possession of 49 spotted sea trout of which 35 were undersized.  The daily limit for spotted sea trout is 25 per person and the minimum legal length is 12 inches.

Possessing over the limit of spotted sea trout and possessing undersized spotted sea trout each carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail for each offense.  Trahan may also face a civil restitution charge of $1,013.95 for the 35 undersized spotted sea trout.

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

LDWF Offering Certification Course for Aquatic Education Instructors

Release Date: 12/22/2014

Dec. 22, 2014 -- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is looking for volunteers who want to share their dedication to the sport of fishing.

A certification course for Aquatic Education Instructors is being offered on the weekend of January 23-25, 2015 at the department’s education facility located in Woodworth, south of Alexandria.  The course is provided at no cost to participants who will be given the information and tools to help them organize free fishing education programs in their communities.

LDWF’s education section is seeking outgoing and responsible adults who are interested in passing on their enthusiasm for fishing to children and novice adults, to serve as volunteer instructors. LDWF provides overnight accommodations on Friday and Saturday for course volunteers.  All Saturday meals and breakfast and a sack lunch on Sunday will be provided.  Check-in time is 6:30 p.m. on Friday and instruction begins at 7 p.m. The course will conclude at 11 a.m. on Sunday.  Class size is limited to 25 volunteers.

For more information, or to register, contact Theresa Cross at tcross@wlf.la.gov or ph. 337-491-2575, ext. 3009.


Louisiana Recreational Red Snapper Season to Close December 31, 2014

Release Date: 12/18/2014


Louisiana Recreational Red Snapper Season to Close December 31, 2014
(Dec. 18, 2014) – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the state recreational red snapper season will remain open through the rest of December and will close at 11:59 pm on December 31, 2014. Using real-time data from LA Creel, our recreational landings monitoring program, we have determined that Louisiana anglers have not yet landed our state’s historic and projected share of the total Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper harvest (14 percent, or 754,000 pounds). The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission previously opened a state waters season for red snapper to extend Louisiana’s season from the nine-day federal waters season originally proposed by NOAA. NOAA based this short season on imprecise estimates of recreational red snapper landings from their Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP); with LA Creel’s more precise estimates, Louisiana officials knew that nine days would not allow our anglers sufficient opportunity to catch their share.  
On January 1, 2014, the Department withdrew from MRIP and replaced it with LA Creel due to MRIP’s history of providing poor data and its inability to monitor landings in real-time. Had the Department accepted MRIP’s estimates and the subsequent nine-day season, Louisiana anglers would have only been able to land about 150,000 pounds of red snapper—far short of Louisiana’s historic landings. Through the extended state waters season, Louisiana anglers have landed about 605,000 pounds of red snapper to date, which is why the season can remain open through the rest of the year. Thanks to tremendous angler support of LA Creel and a recent saltwater license fee increase to continue to fund the program, the Department has the necessary tools to precisely monitor our recreational red snapper landings, flexibly manage the fishery, and maximize our anglers’ opportunities to fish red snapper.
The Department has continued negotiations with NOAA to recognize the validity of LA Creel and recently reached an agreement to “benchmark” LA Creel and officially establish it as a replacement for MRIP. Through the benchmarking process, the Department will run the MRIP survey side-by-side with LA Creel for the 2015 recreational fishing season. NOAA will compare the results from both surveys and adjust historic recreational landings estimates accordingly. Once LA Creel is benchmarked, Louisiana will no longer run MRIP, and officials hope that NOAA will support LA Creel and use its more precise results to conduct future stock assessments. This process paves the way for other Gulf states to adopt their own recreational angler survey programs, improves data collection, and helps move management of the recreational red snapper fishery forward.   
Beginning in January 2015, Louisiana anglers can expect to see an increased survey presence as Department personnel conduct both surveys statewide throughout the calendar year. “Our anglers have always been incredibly patient and helpful with our biologists, whether at the dock, over the phone, or via email,” said Department Secretary Robert Barham. “We ask for and greatly appreciate their continued cooperation as we take this important step in our quest towards regional management.” Secretary Barham recently testified on the benefits of Louisiana’s enhanced data collection in support of state management of red snapper during the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs hearing on H.R. 3099—the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Conservation Act of 2013.
The Commission will determine Louisiana’s 2015 recreational red snapper season in their early 2015 meetings. For the latest updates on Commission meetings and actions, sign up for Department meeting alerts and/or news releases.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
For press inquiries, contact Rene LeBreton at rlebreton@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-8745.

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