Outdoors News

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 16, 2002

Poacher receives hefty sentence

Donavan F. Varnado, 29, of New Iberia recently received a sentence of stiff fines, suspended jail time, probation and community service for three counts of hunting deer during illegal hours.

Varnado was arrested on Dec. 6, 2001, in Iberia Parish.

He recently entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced by Judge Don Hernandez to 100 hours of community service and a fine of $950. Additionally, he was placed on supervised probation for two years with his hunting rights suspended for one year and he received a one-year suspended jail sentence.

Agents catch crab thief

Enforcement agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries recently arrested Edward Ken Prevost, 65, of Hammond for removing contents of legal crab traps belonging to other fishermen.

The suspect was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Prison and his boat was seized.

As part of a continuing crack down on crab theft in Lake Maurepas and western Lake Pontchartrain, agents working undercover witnessed the subject running a number of traps which were not his.

The penalty for stealing crabs is a fine of up to $750, up to 120 days in jail, or both. Equipment used in the crime may also be forfeited.

Commission enforces excise tax

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission accepted a declaration of emergency and a notice of intent to begin the enforcement and collection of the new shrimp excise tax.

The tax was enacted by Act 75 of the 2002 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. It will be collected on shrimp harvested in Louisiana waters as well as shrimp imported into Louisiana from foreign countries or other states.

The tax will not be an added burden to Louisiana shrimpers because it will simply replace a prior tax that was assessed. The non-Louisiana shrimp, however, are the targets of the tax.

Recognizing the threat of foreign shrimp on the Louisiana shrimping industry, the legislature passed the excise tax that will help create revenue to regulate and monitor the importation of shrimp. The revenue will also assist in the testing of foreign shrimp for antibiotics such as chloramphenicol.

Chloramphenicol is used by other countries but has been banned by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use in animals raised for human consumption. Act 75 gave the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries the responsibility to collect the excise tax and report imported shrimp.

The commission accepted the declaration of emergency in order for the department to comply with the Act that officially went into effect July 1. Accompanying the declaration of emergency was a notice of intent to make the action permanent.

The new tax will be assessed at the rate of 15 cents per barrel of 210 pounds. For heads-off shrimp, the rate will be 15 cents per 125 pound barrel. For peeled shrimp, the tax will be computed at 15 cents per 75 pound barrel.

National hunting day set

The LWFC officially announced Louisiana National Hunting and Fishing Day by recognizing a proclamation signed by Gov. Mike Foster that designated September 28, for the annual celebration. National Hunting and Fishing Day is held across the country to showcase outdoor activities.

In Louisiana, at each event, several activities are planned. Among them are canoeing, fishing clinics, target shooting, duck calling contests and various expert demonstrations. Louisiana game and seafood dishes will be available for sampling, along with other free food and drinks. Admission is free, and families are encouraged to attend.

In Baton Rouge, the event will be held at Waddill Outdoor Education Center, beginning at 9 a.m. The public is encouraged to be on the lookout for more information in their area as the day approaches.

Wild quadruped rules adopted

The LWFC recently approved a resolution regarding the control of nuisance wild quadrupeds.

The commission voted to adopt regulations which would enable homeowners to remove coyote, armadillo, nutria, beaver, skunks and opossums without permit year-round during daylight hours when they are conclusively proven to be creating a nuisance or causing damage to property.

Squirrels, rabbits, foxes, bobcats, mink, otter, muskrat, raccoons and any of the species listed above may be trapped alive and relocated to suitable habitat without permit.

Relocation can occur only with consent of the owner of the land on which the animal will be placed, and with humane treatment of the animal to be moved, according to an LWFC spokesperson.