LDWF News Release

Missing Boater’s Body Found in Lake Maurepas

Release Date: 06/26/2012


The deceased body of a missing boater was found on Lake Maurepas on Monday, June 25 around 8 p.m.

A passing boater found the body of Daniel Mitchell, 51, of Springfield, about 2 miles south on Lake Maurepas in Tangipahoa Parish from where his unmanned vessel was found.  The boater notified officials who then recovered Mitchell’s body.

Search crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the Killian Dive Team have been searching for Mitchell since Saturday, June 23 around 5:30 p.m.

Officials responded to a report of an unmanned 18-foot lake skiff circling near the mouth of the Tickfaw River on Lake Maurepas.  After boarding the circling vessel, LDWF agents were able to match the boater’s registration to Mitchell.  A search of the area was immediately started.

Mitchell’s body was transferred to the Tangipahoa Parish Coroner’s Office.  Mitchell was not wearing a personal flotation device.  It is unknown at this time how Mitchell was ejected from the vessel.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-354-9517 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

L.D.W.F. Public Education Campaign Focuses on Whooping Crane Awareness

Release Date: 06/25/2012

June 25, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is launching a multi-faceted public education campaign designed to increase public awareness of the presence of whooping cranes in the state.

The non-migratory population, currently numbering 16 cranes, has been in southwest Louisiana since 2011 and has moved beyond the boundaries of White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area where the cranes were first released.

“The department wants the public to know that this species repopulation project is underway and care should be taken if these birds are encountered,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We greatly appreciate the funding support provided by Chevron to educate the public about the work being done.”

Utilizing a grant provided by Chevron, LDWF will distribute a teaching module recently developed that specifically addresses this new non-migratory flock of whooping cranes. Eight engaging, GLE- aligned lessons covering topics such as taxonomy, bird reproduction, ecosystems, adaptation, and endangered species will be distributed to Louisiana educators via day-long workshops to be held at four locations throughout the state. Geared toward teachers of middle and high school students and informal educators, these workshops will explain the complexities and challenges of the reintroduction program, demonstrate the new classroom lesson activities, and engage participants in field work related to habitat identification using GPS units.

“Chevron is pleased to partner with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,” said Warner Williams, Chevron North America Gulf of Mexico Vice President. “We recognize the important role education plays in protecting the rich biodiversity of Louisiana for future generations to enjoy.”

Workshop participants will receive a $75 stipend, a handheld GPS unit for classroom use, the lesson series, and other related items. The first workshop will be held at LDWF’s White Lake facility south of Gueydan on August 2, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration information can be found on the website at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/eec  or by contacting Venise Ortego at vortego@wlf.la.gov.

LDWF’s public awareness efforts will include billboards and radio announcements that alert citizens that the cranes are here and the public has a role in helping the department restore a Louisiana treasure.

Additionally, the Chevron funds cover the costs of tracking devices that provide biologists data on the cranes’ location several times per day. This information tells biologists what types of habitat the cranes are using throughout the day and provides the opportunity for observations of individual birds to assess their health and well-being.  

The whooping cranes now in the state were raised at the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and transported to Vermilion Parish.  Movement of the birds has been traced to Avoyelles, West Feliciana, Evangeline, Allen, Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, St. Martin, Iberia, Cameron and Vermilion parishes in the months since their arrival. The two groups of birds delivered in 2011 will be supplemented by additional deliveries over the next several years.

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 to avoid disturbing it.

The species is large-bodied and adults are white with black wing tips, similar to white ibis, white pelicans and wood storks, all of which must be distinguished from the much smaller and legally-hunted snow geese.  Mature whooping cranes are easily identifiable as they stand five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet. Characteristics of whooping cranes in flight include black wing tips and fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail.

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. 

For more information on the re-introduction of whooping cranes to Louisiana, please visit www.wlf.la.gov; or contact Sara Zimorski at szimorski@wlf.la.gov or 337-536-7292. News media outlets interested in visiting the White Lake WCA facility can contact Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115. For photos, video footage and research documentation please visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

LASS Breaks Records in Delacroix

Release Date: 06/25/2012

Brothers Kyle and Kevin Lawrence of Gonzales took home first place with a two-fish total weight of 17.25 pounds.

(June 25, 2012) - Despite high winds and water, the Louisiana Saltwater Series broke records this weekend, with the largest participation in tournament history with 66 registered boats. 

Taking home first place were brothers Kyle and Kevin Lawrence, who are no strangers to the LASS and have been with the tournament since its inception. 

“We found three ponds that we liked that held good fish and good water, and hit those three on Saturday,” explained Kyle.  “We hit the best pond that morning and caught the big fish before 7:30 a.m.  We struggled a little during the day to get the next big fish onboard the boat.  Around 1:00 p.m., after a few tense moments of chasing our second fish around the boat, we got it in the net and onto the measuring board.”

One of the tournament’s primary objectives is to tag fish to collect scientific data.  Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries staff successfully tagged 140 fish at Saturday’s tournament, bringing the grand total of fish tagged during the 2012 redfish series to 554.

The top finishing teams, taking home over $12,000 in cash and prizes, include: 2nd place, Sean O’Connell and Joshua Romig; 3rd place, Bobby Monsted and Aaron Gelfand; 4th place, Britt Ordes and Steve Wicks; 5th place, Scott Ritter and Bobby Abruscato; 6th place, Tripp Dargie and Shannon Thomas; 7th place, Michael McElveen and Rob Folsom; 8th place, Ray Reiser and Larry Kirby; 9th place, Kris Robert and Benny Sanchez; and 10th place, Skip Floyd and Joey Babineaux; 11th place, Miles LaRose and Damian Mason; 12th place, Kyle Rodrigue and Jeremy Mouch; 13th place Tony Grose and Christine May.   The team of James H. Craft and James T. Craft brought in the lightest stringer, weighing 5.09 pounds, earning them a $260 prize. 

Ben Bird took home first place in the tournament’s youth division.

For redfish tournaments, teams may consist of one, two, three or four members.  For teams consisting of three or more members, only two of the members may be 16 or older.  There is a $200 entry fee per team for each event.  There is a 90 percent payout for the first six events with 10 percent retained for the championship. Payout is determined separately for each event based upon the total number of boats entered. 

The next redfish tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 14 in Slidell at Rigolets Marina.  For complete information, including rules, regulations and registration go to 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 www.wlf.louisiana.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

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


Agenda for Commission Meeting

Release Date: 06/25/2012

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Monday, July 2, 2012, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1.  Roll Call

2.  Approval of Minutes of June 7, 2012

3.  Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4.  To hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/June

5.   To receive and consider Notices of Intent for the 2013 Spring Wild Turkey Seasons

6.   Declaration of Emergency for Early Season Migratory Bird Hunting regulations, and proposed season dates the 2012 waterfowl season

7.  To hear Evaluation of 3 Proposals for Waterfowl Breeding Grounds Funding

8.  To hear Presentation on Whooping Crane Public Education Campaign

9.  To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to revise the rules for Calcasieu Lake Oyster  Harvester Permit

10. To receive and consider a Declaration of Emergency for the Closure of the Recreational Season for Gray Triggerfish

11. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Offshore Landing Permit Rules to Include Reef Fish Species

12. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Modify the Reef Fish Rules to Require Reporting of Recreationally Harvested Species – Red Snapper, Greater Amberjack, Shallow-Water Groupers

13. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Establish Rules for Charter Boat Fishing Guides and Operations – Liability Insurance Requirements per Act 844, 2012 Regular Legislative Session

14.  Set November 2012 Meeting Date

15.  Receive Public Comments

16.   Adjournment


LDWF Agents Make Five DWIs Over Operation Dry Water Weekend

Release Date: 06/25/2012

In support of Operation Dry Water, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) arrested five boaters statewide for driving or operating a vessel while intoxicated (DWI) from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24.

LDWF agents issued DWIs to Joshua Fortenberry, 23, of Watson, Ark., on Moon Lake in Ouachita Parish, on June 23; Thurman Hitchcock, 65, of West Monroe, on the Ouachita River in Quachita Parish on June 24; Kayward Hebert, 61, of Kaplan, on Henderson Bay in St. Martin Parish on June 23; Nelson Navarre, 54, of Vinton, on the Sabine River in Calcasiue River on June 23; and James Walker Jr., 37, of Baton Rouge, on the Diversion Canal in Livingston Parish on June 24.

"We take DWI enforcement on the water very serious since the leading cause of boating fatalities is alcohol," said Lt. Col. Jeff Mayne, the state's boating law administrator.  "We want everybody on the water to have a good time, but to keep in mind that they need a designated driver just like on land."

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.  It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.  Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Louisiana had 36 fatalities from boating crash incidents in 2011 with five of those listing alcohol as a primary cause.  Nationwide, statistics from 2011 reveal that 16 percent of all boat incident fatalities were a direct result of alcohol or drug use.

LDWF agents issued 108 DWI citations to boat operators in 2011 with 10 of those occurring over the Operation Dry Water weekend.

In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

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.  First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Second offense DWI brings a $750 to $1,000 fine and between 30 days and six months in jail.  Third offense DWI carries a $5,000 fine and between one and five years in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard.  More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org.

Agents making the DWI arrests this weekend were Senior Scott Bullitt, Sgt. Duane Taylor, Senior Agent Bear Fletcher, Senior Agent Jones, Senior Agent Bourdreaux, Senior Agent Beau Robertson, Sgt. Aaron Herpin and Sgt. Randy Lanoux.

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

Alligator Guide Receives a Six Month Sentence

Release Date: 06/22/2012

The U.S. District Court Judge in Baton Rouge sentenced a Plaquemine man to six months in a Federal Jail on June 21 for alligator violations.

Judge Brian Jackson also ordered Gregory Dupont, 38, to pay a $3,000 fine, serve four months in a halfway house and two years of probation.  Dupont’s sentencing was the first ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators.

On Feb. 10, 2012 Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents wrapped up a five and a half year investigation into the illegal taking of alligators when Dupont pled guilty to one felony Lacey Act violation.  Dupont was the sole owner and operator of an alligator guide and outfitting business known as Louisiana Hunters Inc.  The Lacey Act is the federal wildlife statute that makes it illegal to transport, sell, receive, acquire or purchase illegally taken wildlife.

The investigation uncovered that between 2006 and 2011 Dupont and six other individuals took at least 26 alligators illegally while guiding non-resident alligator sport hunters.  The majority of the illegal alligators taken were between 10 to 12.5 feet in length with an estimated value of $143,000 to the guide.

In September of 2006, Dupont guided his clients to an area that was unapproved, which is an area for that he did not have the required alligator tags.  During this illegal hunt, one of his clients killed an American alligator.  Dupont tagged the alligator illegally with a tag for another property.

Past convictions and penalties associated with this case are as follows:

Travis Dardenne and Jeffrey Brown, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced on Feb. 4, 2010 and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve one year of probation for violations of the Lacey Act.  Dardenne and Brown had connections to Dupont’s guiding services.  As part of their punishment, they are prohibited from hunting or guiding anywhere in the world during their probation.

On Sept. 8, 2006, Dardenne, a licensed alligator hunter, and Brown, a licensed alligator helper, guided an out-of-state alligator sport hunter to an area for which Dardenne and Brown did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt. The sport hunter killed a trophy-sized alligator in the unapproved area.

On Sept. 13, 2011 Clint Martinez and Michael Martinez, both of Plaquemine, were sentenced to serve a three year term of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  In addition, each defendant will pay a $5,000 fine and serve 200 hours of community service.

The Martinez brothers guided out-of-state alligator sport hunters who were clients of Dupont’s, to areas for which they did not have appropriate state authorization to hunt.  In October 2005, the clients killed a 10 foot, two-inch trophy-sized alligator.  In September 2006, clients killed a 10 foot and a 12 foot, six-inch trophy-sized alligators.

On Aug. 10, 2011 Larry Dees Sr., and Larry Dees Jr., both of Maringuoin, were sentenced to three years of probation during which they will be prohibited from hunting as follows: for one year of the probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all hunting activities, including guiding, with any kind of weapon; for the remaining two years of probation the defendants will be prohibited from engaging worldwide in all commercial alligator hunting activities, including guiding.  Dees Sr. was also fined $3,000.

The father and son guided out-of-state alligator hunters who were Dupont’s clients to unapproved areas on Sept. 10 and 24-25 of 2009.  On Sept. 10, 2009, the clients killed a 9 foot 4 inch trophy-sized alligator.

The Dupont case was prosecuted by Shennie Patel and Susan L. Park of the Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice.

Participating in the case were LDWF case agents Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, Lt. Darryl Moore, Sgt. Ronald Hebert and Senior Agent Jerry Stassi.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Philip Siragusa and LDWF’s Noel Kinler and Lance Campbell in the LDWF Alligator program also assisted in the case.

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

Elm Grove Man Sentenced to Two Years in Jail for Illegal Silencer Possession

Release Date: 06/21/2012

June 21, 2012 - After a two and a half year investigation, an Elm Grove man was sentenced on June 20 in Federal Court in Shreveport to two years in a federal penitentiary for illegal possession of a silencer.

Senior Judge Tom Stagg of the U.S. Western District Court accepted Brett Roberts’, 52, guilty plea to the federal charge of possessing a homemade silencer and sentenced him to two years in a federal jail and three years of supervised probation.

LDWF Enforcement Division agents initiated the investigation in November of 2009 after receiving multiple tips that Roberts was illegally night hunting in the Bossier and Webster parish areas.  LDWF undercover agents were able to make contact with Roberts and tag along during some of his illegal hunts and witnessed other illegal activities.

LDWF undercover agents discovered that Roberts was using a homemade silencer on a .22 caliber rifle to kill deer at night and out of season.  Undercover agents witnessed Roberts hunt from a public road from his vehicle and sell deer meat.  Undercover agents also purchased methamphetamines, a stolen boat motor and a rifle silencer from Roberts.

On Jan. 31, 2011, LDWF and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents executed a search warrant of Roberts’ residence and charged Roberts with 228 counts of illegal activities.  Roberts was subsequently booked into the Bossier Max Detention Center in Bossier Parish and the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center in Webster Parish.

On July 12, 2011, Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Bossier Parish; illegal possession of stolen things, possession of drug paraphernalia, hunting with an illegal firearm, hunting deer with illegal methods, hunting and taking deer during illegal hours and hunting from a public road.  Judge Ford Stinson of the 26th District Court sentenced Roberts to serve six months in jail in the Bossier Parish Jail with three months suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300, two years of supervised probation and a five year hunting ban.

On Aug. 5, 2011 Roberts pled guilty to the following state charges in Webster Parish; possession of drug paraphernalia, taking deer during illegal hours, possession of untagged deer, failing to maintain sex identification of deer, failing to tag deer and possession of illegally taken deer.  Judge Bruce Bolin of the 26th District Court in Benton, La. Sentenced Roberts to 18 months in the Webster Parish Jail of which six months were suspended, a $3,000 fine, restitution of $5,300 and two years of supervised probation.  Roberts must also forfeit his hunting privileges.

The jail, probation and restitution charges for each parish run concurrently bringing the total state punishment for Roberts to 12 months of jail, a $6,000 fine, a $5,300 restitution charge and two years of probation.

LDWF agents assisting undercover agents in the case were Senior Agents Jared McIver, Cullom Schexnyder, Wesley Duck, Bryant Coburn, Michael Dunn and Joey Melton; Sgts. Mike Kelley and Ryan Brashier; and Lt. Kenny Balkom.

Prosecuting the state charges were Assistant District Attorneys Sherb Sentell for Webster Parish and Santi Parks for Bossier Parish.  U.S. Assistant District Attorney Robert France prosecuted the federal charge.

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

Commercial Fishing for Gray Triggerfish to Close in Louisiana Waters

Release Date: 06/21/2012

June 21, 2012 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced commercial fishing for gray triggerfish will close in Louisiana waters on June 30, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. and will remain closed until January 1, 2013.

The closure was made by LDWF Secretary Robert Barham under authority given by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, which allows the Secretary to declare a closed season.  NOAA Fisheries will also close the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico at the same time.

Each year, a commercial quota is established for gray triggerfish.  Based on current landings, the 2012 commercial quota of 60,900 pounds is projected to be harvested by July 1, 2012.

During the closed season, all commercial harvest, possession, purchase, exchange, barter or sale or attempt to purchase, exchange, barter, trade or sell gray triggerfish is prohibited.  This does not apply to fish harvested, landed ashore and sold prior to the effective closure date and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor with appropriate records.

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.govon Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffbor follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, contact Jason Adriance at (504) 284-2032 or jadriance @wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.






Reported Injuries Prompt Community Meeting to Discuss Human-Dolphin Interactions

Release Date: 06/20/2012

Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and NOAA Fisheries Service Conducts Community Meeting

(June 20, 2012)- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, in coordination with NOAA Fisheries Service, will conduct a community meeting in Slidell, La., to discuss concerns regarding a wild dolphin living in the area.

The dolphin resides within the Lakeshore Estates neighborhood located in Slidell. Several residents have reported being bitten by what they believe to be and describe as the same dolphin.

During a community meeting to be held on June 25 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Northshore Harbor Center, biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and NOAA Fisheries Service will give a brief overview of the situation, provide solutions and answer questions.

The Northshore Harbor Center is located at 100 Harbor Center Blvd. in Slidell, La.

For more information please contact Mandy Tumlin, LDWF, 225-765-2377 or Allison Garrett, NOAA Fisheries Service, 727-330-0309.


LDWF to Host Series of Outreach Workshops Targeting Oyster Industry Representatives

Release Date: 06/20/2012

(June 20, 2012)- The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, in coordination with the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, will begin a series of public meetings next week to provide critical information on current rules that will affect the oyster harvesting, dealing and processing communities in Louisiana. 

Oyster fishermen, dealers and processors, along with anyone who has an interest in the oyster industry are encouraged to attend these free workshops. 

Training topics include harvesting tags and requirements, refrigeration and cooler information, and enforcement policies and procedures regarding these requirements. 

The training dates, times and venues are as follows:


Tuesday, June 26, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

HoumaMunicipal Auditorium

800 Verret Street

Houma, La 70360

*Spanish translator provided

Belle Chasse

Wednesday, June 27, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Belle Chasse Auditorium

8442 Highway 23

Belle Chasse, La 70037

*Vietnamese translator provided

For more information please contact Darren Bourgeois at (504) 284-2033 or dbourgeois@wlf.la.gov.  For press inquiries, contact Ashley Wethey at (225) 765-2396 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.


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