Outdoor Journal – Summer 2012
National Hunting and Fishing Day – September 22, 2012
This year the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will host National Hunting and Fishing Day in four areas throughout the state. The event is free to the public and a great way to experience aspects of the outdoors first hand. The day includes activities ranging from canoeing to archery and fly-casting to falconry lessons. All activities are free to the public and food is served at certain venues. Check with the location nearest you for more information.
Locations listed below:
Waddill Wildlife Refuge
4142 North Flannery Rd.
Baton Rouge, La
Bodcau Wildlife Management Area
1700 Bodcau Dam Rd.
Haughton, LA. 71037
LDWF District 2 Office
368 Centurylink Dr.
Monroe, LA. 71203
Woodworth Outdoor Education Center
661 Robinson Bridge Rd.
Woodworth, LA. 71485
Biloxi WMA Lease Renewed for Additional 25 Years
Outdoor enthusiasts that are currently utilizing the Biloxi Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be elated to know that they will continue to have access to the site for an additional 25 years following the renewal of a lease between the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation. LDWF announced the renewal on May 3 at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meeting.
“This long standing partnership with Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation has provided for public access to this excellent fish and wildlife habitat for 55 years, and we are pleased that arrangements have been made to extend that access at no cost to the department,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.
Biloxi WMA is located in upper St. Bernard Parish, approximately 40 miles east of New Orleans. It is accessible only by boat via commercial launches at Hopedale and Shell Beach. The 35,644-acre tract has been leased to LDWF by the corporation since 1957.
“Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation is very proud of the fact that it has been able to provide over 35,000 acres of its property for public recreation for more than 50 years and with the recent renewal of the lease agreement we will continue to provide an expansive area for public use for the next 25 years,” said William Rudolf, Biloxi Marsh Lands Corporation president.
A number of bayous, sloughs and potholes make the Biloxi tract an excellent producer of fish, shrimp, crabs, waterfowl and furbearers. There are a few canal spoil banks and ridges scattered throughout the marsh that provide escapes for birds and mammals from rising water levels during storms or high tides.
Game species hunted on the area include rabbits, rails, gallinules, snipe, ducks, and geese. Ducks present in winter months include lesser scaup, teal, widgeon, gadwall, shoveler, and mottled duck, with lesser concentrations of pintail and mallard. Blue and snow geese are normally found on the WMA, although not in large numbers. Furbearing animals present include nutria, muskrat, mink, raccoon, otter and opossum. Alligators are also found on the property.
Fish species that are common in the area include speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, and croaker.
For more information on Biloxi WMA, visit the LDWF website at www.wlf.louisiana.gov or contact Shane Granier at 504-284-5269 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Louisiana Shrimpers Encouraged to Report Asian Tiger Prawn Catches
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) is aware of and constantly monitoring the appearance of an increased number of Asian tiger prawns, a non-native species, in Louisiana waters. LDWF officials are asking that local shrimp harvesters report catches of tiger prawns to the Department.
While there is little known at this time about the impact tiger prawns have on indigenous Louisiana shrimp, reports are key in helping LDWF biologists monitor the distribution and relative abundance of these prawns and in determining the possible presence of spawning populations.
To report catches of Asian tiger prawns please contact Robert Bourgeois at email@example.com or (225) 765-0765 or Marty Bourgeois at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 765-2401 with the date, location and size of capture. Pictures are encouraged. Tiger prawns are easily identifiable by their large size, dark body color and white banding found along the head and between segments of the tail. LDWF officials ask that harvesters retain the tiger prawns by freezing and contact a biologist listed above.
History of incidence in Gulf of Mexico
It is unknown when and how tiger prawns were first introduced into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1988, a portion of a population of reared tiger prawns escaped from a facility on the east coast. Approximately 1,000 adults were later recaptured as far south as Cape Canaveral, Fla. In September 2006, a single adult male was captured by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Mississippi Sound near Dauphin Island, Ala., and reports from Alabama and Mississippi have been increasing since the incident.
LDWF first documented the occurrence of Asian tiger prawns in Louisiana in August 2007, when a single specimen was taken by a commercial shrimp fisherman in Vermilion Bay. Prior to the 2011 fall inshore shrimp season, reported captures in Louisiana waters numbered fewer than 25 with none taken any farther westward than Vermilion Bay. However, since the fall season began, reported captures have dramatically increased with approximately 80 new reports received. One fisherman alone reported catching as many as 13 individuals over a three-day shrimping trip in Lake Pontchartrain. A Dulac shrimp dock has reported fishermen capturing in excess of 100 tiger prawns following the 2011 fall season opening. Most recently, there have also been incident reports west of Vermilion Bay.
About the species
Asian tiger prawns are native to the Indo-Pacific rim and are both harvested in the wild and extensively farmed in a number of countries.
Although tiger prawns belong to the same family (Penaeidae) as our native brown, white and pink shrimp, they are non-indigenous to our waters. The life history of tiger prawns is also similar to that of brown and white shrimp with spawning and mating occurring in nearshore oceanic waters. One notable difference in tiger prawns and Louisiana shrimp is size, as the research suggests tiger prawns may reach a maximum length of 14 inches and weigh as much as 23 ounces.
At this time, there is no evidence that tiger prawns feed on native Louisiana shrimp. Any potential impacts over competition for food and resources remain unknown. Tiger prawns as well as our native brown and white shrimp adopt different diets as they grow and mature and may become more predatory as body size increases.
LDWD Issues Reminder to Leave Young Deer (Fawns) Undisturbed
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) feels the need to remind those who encounter that what appears to be abandoned young deer, or fawns, should be left undisturbed.
Each year the department receives calls from concerned citizens who discover what they believe to be “abandoned” fawns. These well intentioned, caring citizens may bring fawns home and then solicit help from the department to retrieve and raise the animal.
LDWF is alerting the public that it is in fact against the law to capture young deer or any other wild animal. If one is caught transporting or possessing wild deer without a permit, well meaning individuals may be subject to citations and fines.
“Picking up fawns seriously diminishes their chance to live a normal and healthy life,” said Emile Leblanc, LDWF Wildlife Division biologist. “When a fawn is born it is weak, awkward and unable to move well enough to feed and escape predators. However, the newborn fawn has a coat of light brown hair liberally covered with white spots that provides excellent camouflage against predators. The mother doe will remain in the area to feed and nurture the fawn. When the young deer gets older and stronger it will be able to forage for food with its mother.”
If you encounter a fawn in the wild, simply leave them untouched and depart quietly from the area. This action will provide the young deer its best chance to survive in the wild and prevent a possible citation for a concerned outdoorsman.