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Full text of "Louisiana Conservationist"

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Louisiana Conservationist 
ISSN 0024-6778 
Volume 56, No.2 
Baton Rouge, LA 70808 



Comments 



Dwight Landreneau 
Secretary 



I'm really excited to take 
my new post here at the 
Department of Wildlife 
and Fisheries. It gives me 
great pleasure to serve a group with such commitment to 
Louisiana's natural heritage. When Governor Blanco asked me to 
be the Secretary, I agreed without hesitation. 

My career in outdoors and conservation began nearly 27 years 
ago when I went to work for the LSU Ag Center as the St. Landry 
Parish 4-H Agent. I became a County Agent in 1982; and in 1985 
I became a fisheries agent. I hunted and fished throughout my 
youth and have always been interested in outdoor issues. As 
many of you may know, I was the Assistant Secretary at the 
Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism for more than six 
years, and now I have a chance to work with new people on new 
projects and effect positive changes for the state of Louisiana. 

Here at LDWF, I plan to bring a balanced approach to conserva- 
tion. We are lucky to have an able, highly trained staff of biolo- 
gists, enforcement agents and educators who represent the depart- 
ment well. Their work is the basis of the management plans 
implemented by the department and the Louisiana Wildlife and 
Fisheries Commission. Throughout my tenure, I plan to get 
involved and visit with the men and women in the field who col- 
lect data, manage lands, teach hunter safety and enforce our 
wildlife and fisheries laws. 

My experiences with the LSU Ag Center and Culture, 
Recreation and Tourism have resulted in great working relation- 
ships with other agencies around the state. I intend to make the 
most of my associations with LSU, Southern University, the 
Department of Agriculture and all other agencies with a stake in 
our wildlife and fish. They will also find my door open. 

Of course the reason for all of the work we do here at LDWF is 
the benefit to you, the hunters, anglers, commercial fishermen and 
outdoors-people of Louisiana. Customer service will be among the 
highest priorities for the department under my administration. 
My experience has taught me, too, that it is possible to balance the 
needs of user groups with the integrity of the environment. While 
at CRT, I led initiatives in low-impact construction that did not 
interfere with the natural habitat, but still allowed people to inter- 
act with nature. It is important to conserve and preserve the 
wealth of our assets, but there is no reason to do so unless people 
can use them. 

I look forward to serving you, our great state and the abundant 
resources we all share. 



Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Governor 
Dwight Landreneau, Secretary 
Janice W. Lansing, Undersecretary 
Phil Bowman, Asst. Secretanj 
John Roussel, Asst. Secretary 



Wildlife and Fisheries Commissioners 

Bill Busbice Jr., Chairman, Lafayette 
Wayne J. Sagrera, Vice Chairman, Abbeville 
Terry D. Denmon, Monroe 
Billy Broussard, Pecan Island 
Henry M. Mouton, Lafayette 
Jerry Stone, M.D., Baton Rouge 



Division Administrators 

Bennie Fontenot, Inland Fisheries 
Karen Foote, Marine Fisheries 
Tommy Prickett, Wildlife 
Brandt Savoie, Fur/Refuge 
Col. Winton Vidrine, Enforcement 

Magazine Staff 

Marianne Burke, Information Director 

Janice Collins, Editor 

Thomas Gresham, News/Media Relations Manager 

Linda Allen, Circulation Manager 

Joel Courtney, Audio/Visual Manager 

JeffDeGraff, Public Information Officer 

Jill Wilson, Public Information Officer 

Copyright 2004 by the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries. This publication is not responsible 
for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or other 
materials. 

The Louisiana Conservationist (USPS #320-300) is 
published bimonthly by the Louisiana Departmeitt of 
Wildlife and Fisheries, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, 
LA 70808, 225/765-2918. Periodical postage paid at 
Baton Rouge, LA and additional mailing offices. 
POSTMASTER: send address changes to Louisiana 
Conservationist, P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 
70898. 

Regulations of the U.S. Department of the Interior 
strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination in departmental 
federally assisted programs on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, age or handicap. Any person who believes 
he or she has been discriminated against in any program, 
activity or facility operated b\j a recipient of federal 
assistance should ivrite to: Director, Office for Equal 
Opportunity. U.S. Department of the Interior, 
Washington, D.C. 20240. 



This public document was published at an average cost of $51 ,751 .60. 
Approximately 22.000 copies of this document -were published at an 
average printing cost of $23,91 0.44. The total cost of all printing of this 
document averages $23,910.44. This document was published for 
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2000 Quail Drive. Baton Rouge, 
Louisiana, 70808, by LSU Graphic Services, to provide information on 
outdoor opportunities in Louisiana. This material was printed in accor- 
dance with the standards for printing by state agencies established pur- 
suant to R.S. 43:31 . Printing of this material was purchased in accor- 
dance with the provisions of Title 43 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. 








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8 




Special Spring Arrivals 

Experience the spectacular migration of neotropical songbirds along Louisiana's coast. 
By jimmy Ernst & Nancy Higginbotham 

Just Around the Corner 

A turkey season forecast with tips on bagging a gobbler this year. 
By Fred Kimmel 

Families Hooked on Fishing 

Take your children fishing for a "reel" good time. 
By Jill Wilson 

Spanish Lake 

A history of this scenic and recreational mecca. 
By Marty Cannon 

Pen-reared Game Birds: Panacea or Problem? 

Insight into the controversial issue of releasing pen-raised quail, turkey and ducks. 
By Fred Kimmel 

Our Turn to Learn 

An insider's look at LDWF's "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop. 
By Janet Abbott 



Jellyfish in Your Favorite Bass Hole? 

By Jim Hyde 



Bridge Lighting at Lake D'Arbonne 



DEPARTMENTS 

on Lawlines 

*-'*' Boating Safety for the Future 
By Major Keith LaCaze 

O'l Species Profile 

Orange Falcate Butterfly 

^ Conservation Notes 

^^ LDWF news briefs 

A Along the Way 

A column by Pete Cooper Jr. 

1C LA Cuisine 

^ *-* Chef Holly Clegg shares recipes from Trim & Terrific: 
Entertaining the Easy Way. 



Published by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the interest of conservation of Louisiana natural resources. 




Front Cover 
Northern Oriole 

PI w to by Joint R. Ford 

Back Cover 
Largemouth Bass 

Photo by Doug Stamm 



BY 

JIMMY ERNST 

& NANCY 

HIGGINBOTHAM 



Louisiana is not often described as a 
wealthy state. However, most 

Louisianians would agree that we are 
indeed rich. Not necessarily in dollars and 
cents, but in just about everything else. 
Our wealth comes in various forms: our 
unique heritage and culture, our food and 
festivals, and especially our highly diverse 
flora and fauna which gave rise to the 
state's nickname, the Sportsman's 
Paradise. In terms of bird diversity, 
Louisiana is among the richest in the 
nation. 

Louisiana has a tremendous variety of 
wildlife habitats throughout the state. The 
piney woods occur in the north, west and 
central parts of the state as well as in the 
Florida parishes. Bottomland hardwoods 
can be found along the major river 
drainages including the Red, Ouachita and 
Atchafalaya rivers as well as the mighty 
Mississippi. In the southwestern part of 
the state are prairies and coastal cheniers 
and, along the coast, the marshes. All of 
these different habitat types provide a wide 
range of conditions that attract numerous 
bird species. 

Due to Louisiana's geographic location, 
the state witnesses a spectacular event that 
occurs twice a year. Many birds that 
migrate to Central and South America for 
the winter pass through Louisiana, situated 
at the southern end of the Mississippi 
Flyway, on their way south in the fall and 
again on their return trip in the spring. 
There have been 457 different species of 
birds recorded in Louisiana. Only two 
other states, Texas and California, have 
recorded significantly higher numbers of 
bird species. During spring and fall 
migrations, numerous bird species that are 
only here for a brief time can be seen along 
the coast. Fall is a good time to look for 
these birds when the summer temperatures 
begin to moderate and those first cool 
fronts make their way into the state. Some 
may be seen at feeders, but the majority are 
neotropical migrants, which tend to be 
insectivorous birds that do not frequent 
bird feeders. To see those, birders must 
venture into wooded areas. Local parks, 
nature centers and even that little patch of 
woods in the back of the subdivision are 
good places to look for migrant species. 

Springtime, however, is by far the best 
time to see migrant species in Louisiana. 
Thousands of spectators visit southwest 
Louisiana in the spring to see the birds 




when they return from their wintering 
grounds. The birds have to cross the Gulf 
of Mexico and Louisiana is the first land 
they come to after the long trip. If the 
birds are lucky, they will ride in on a south- 
ern tailwind which helps to carry them 
inland. If the bird watchers are lucky, 
there will be a north wind making it diffi- 
cult for the birds to make good headway. 
In this case, the birds usually land the first 
chance they get to rest and feed. These 
events are referred to as "fall-outs" when 
the birds are literally falling out of the sky. 
It is possible to see incredible numbers of 



4 Louisiana Conservationist 




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March/April 2004 5 



Lucky birders 

may catch a 

glimpse of the 

Blackburnian 

Warbler (right) or 

Rose-breasted 

Grosbeak (below). 




Photo by John R. Ford 



birds perched in the trees and shrubs along 
the coast and especially in the cheniers. 
Cheniers are ridges that parallel the coast 
and rise a toot or two above sea level and 
usually support thick stands of live oak and 
other trees. These provide the only forest- 
ed habitat for many miles, so many of the 
migrant species congregate in these areas 
while they regain their strength for the rest 
of the journey 

BIRDING ALONG THE COAST 

Shorebirds, gulls and terns can be seen 
along the beaches, while long-legged wad- 
ing birds and secretive marsh birds are 
found in the marshes, and lots of warblers, 
thrushes, vireos, tanagers, orioles and other 
land birds prefer the forested areas. 
Exceptional birds seen along coastal 




Louisiana include Reddish Egrets, Roseate 
Spoonbills or even a Peregrine Falcon. 
Some of the more colorful birds that may 
be seen are the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 
Northern Oriole, Northern Parula, 
Blackburnian Warbler, Hooded Warbler, 
Yellow-throated Vireo, Magnolia Warbler, 
Scarlet Tanager and the American Redstart 
just to name a few. Often a bird rarely 
seen in Louisiana will show up on the coast 
during a "fall-out." This might be a west- 
ern species that was headed for Texas and 
was blown off course by a storm during its 
flight and may include species such as the 
Northern Wheatear and the Yellow-headed 
Cowbird. These exceptional sightings are 
special occasions for the serious birder. 
Sighting one of these rare species generates 
as much excitement for an avid birder as 
when a hunter bags a trophy buck. 

WHERE TO GO 

These birds will be passing through 
Louisiana beginning in March and lasting 
into June, with the bird sightings peaking 
from mid-April to mid-May There are 
many locations accessible to the public to 
help you catch a glimpse of some of them. 
The primary locations or "hot spots" are 
the southwestern coastal areas in Cameron 
Parish. National wildlife refuges includ- 
ing Sabine, Cameron Prairie and Lacassine 
offer trails and viewing areas and in some 
cases elevated viewing platforms. 
Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge on the 
eastern end of Cameron Parish includes 
some excellent viewing from Price Lake 
Road through the marsh and visitors can 
see many bird species from their vehicles. 
Highway 82 along the coast near Holly 
Beach is an excellent location to see shore- 



6 Louisiana Conservationist 



birds, gulls and terns. The 
Hollyman-Sheely Songbird 
Sanctuary, about a ten-acre 
tract of wooded chenier off 
of Highway 82, is another 
choice site for spring migra- 
tion birding. Other loca- 
tions to see gulls and terns 
are near the Calcasieu River 
Ship Channel ferry and the 
jetties at the mouth of the 
channel. 

WHAT TO BRING 

For optimal birdwatching, 
two pieces of equipment are 
essential. One is a good pair 
of binoculars and the other is 
a good field guide. Binoculars are critical 
to give you a close-up look at the birds, and 
the field guide is necessary for identifica- 
tion. Many of the birds likely to be seen 
will be unfamiliar to most and since many 
species appear similar, it takes a good ref- 
erence book for identification. For more 
information on this, see "Birding Basics" 
in the March/April 2003 issue of the 
Louisiana Conservationist. 

Other essential equipment includes the 
right clothing. The weather on the coast 
is unpredictable at this time of year but it 
is certain to be windy. Whether you face 
a cold wind from the north or a warm, 
moist wind off the gulf, you will likely 
need a jacket and a hat. Sunglasses are a 
good idea, too. 

Few other places in the world offer this 
type of opportunity. If you have any 
interest in birds, make the drive to the 
coast and experience this remarkable nat- 
ural event at least once in your life. See 
how many different birds you can find 
and remind yourself of the wealth 
Louisiana has to offer. I'll bet you can 
even find a good place to eat along the 




The Indigo Bunting 
(left) is often seen at 
backyard feeders and 
along brushy edges 
of wooded areas 
throughout spring 
and summer. 



way. 



i 



Jimmy Ernst is a Biologist Supervisor in the 
LDWF Fur and Refuge Division. He has been 
employed with LDWF for 11 years. Nancy 
Higginbotham is a Non-game Biologist 
Supervisor also in the Fur and Refuge 
Division. 



The Reddish Egret 
(below) is a species 
of concern in 
Louisiana. Along 
coastal tidal flats 
and salt marshes, 
it is a rare and 
treasured sight. 









Photo by James C. Leupold/USFWS 








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March /ArRiL 2004 7 













2004 Turk 



n Forecast 



Many hunters consider the Eastern wild turkey to be among North America's 
most challenging game animals. Hearing the excited gobble of an adult torn 
on a beautiful spring day is the pinnacle of the hunting experience for dedi- 
cated turkey hunters. This spring, some 25,000 Louisiana hunters will take to 
the field with dreams of bagging a gobbler. Abundant turkey populations in 
many regions of the state will make those dreams a reality for hunters with 
the right combination of luck and skill. 



The general turkey season opens on the 
fourth Saturday in March in Louisiana's 
three turkey hunting areas. This year the 
specific dates are as follows: Area A, from 
March 27 to April 25; Area B, from March 
27 to April 14; and Area C, from March 27 
to March 31. Dates for the Kisatchie 
National Forest, national wildlife refuges 
and wildlife management areas may vary 
from these statewide dates, so hunters 
should check the 2004 Turkey Hunting 
Regulations pamphlet for specific informa- 
tion on public lands. 

For the first time in Louisiana, the 2004 
turkey season will feature a youth-only 
hunt the weekend before the regular sea- 
son opens. This hunt is restricted to private 
land located in Areas A, B and C. During 
this special youth hunt, hunters must be 
under 16 years old and accompanied by an 
adult. However, only the youth may hunt. 
Youth hunters participating in this special 
hunt must possess a hunter safety certifi- 
cate or proof of successful completion of 
the hunter safety course. If the accompa- 
nying adult possesses a hunter safety cer- 
tificate, this requirement for the youth is 
waived. Hunters planning to participate 
in this youth hunt should consult the 2004 
Turkey Hunting Regulations pamphlet for 
a complete description of the youth hunt 
regulations. 

If the weather cooperates, most hunters 
will have an excellent opportunity to bag a 
gobbler this spring. Probably the most 
important predictor of hunter success is the 
number of two-year-old gobblers in the 
population. Based on the results of the 
department's 2002 production survey, gob- 
blers in this age class should be abundant 
in the northern, central and western 
regions of the state. Production was lower 
in the south-central and southeastern 
regions of Louisiana. While the produc- 
tion survey is a useful tool, it is important 
to remember that it serves as an indicator 
of turkey production over a broad area. 
Turkey populations on any given piece of 
property will be influenced by the quality 
of the habitat and may vary considerably 
from the generalization the survey pro- 
vides. 

Turkey hunting opportunities abound 
on public land in Louisiana. The Kisatchie 
National Forest, Big Lake WMA, Bodcau 
WMA, Ft. Polk WMA, Jackson-Bienville 
WMA, Red River WMA, Sherburne WMA, 
Three Rivers WMA, and Tensas National 



Wildlife Refuge are among some of the bet- 
ter public lands available for turkey hunt- 
ing. Again, be sure to consult the 2004 
Turkey Regulations pamphlet for specific 
seasons and regulations for these public 
areas. 

Regardless of where they hunt, individ- 
uals can improve their chances of bagging 
a gobbler by devoting a little time to 
improving their skills and preparing for the 
hunt. Hunters will be more successful if 
they do some pre-season scouting to locate 
and pattern gobbling birds. While it is not 
necessary to be a champion caller, a turkey 
hunter should be proficient at making a 
couple of basic calls. Perhaps one of the 
most overlooked qualities successful 
turkey hunters have is patience. Modern 
hunters often have a hard time putting 
away their watches. Remember that wild 
animals do not consult the clock as they go 
about their daily activities, so hunters 
should be patient and let things develop as 
the turkeys' schedules dictate. Weather 
will also play a role in hunter success. 
Clear, calm, warm days are the turkey 
hunter's best friend. 

In many respects, these are the "good 
old days" for turkey hunters in Louisiana. 
Restoration, management and protection 
efforts of the department and private land 
managers over the past 40 years have 
resulted in healthy and expanding turkey 
populations. Louisiana has come a long 
way since 1947 when only six parishes con- 
tained ten or more flocks of wild turkeys 
and the extinction of wild turkeys in 
Louisiana was a distinct possibility. The 
restoration of wild turkeys is an accom- 
plishment all conservationists can be proud 
of. However, the job is not done. 
Maintaining healthy wild turkey popula- 
tions for the future requires an ongoing 
commitment to manage and protect our 
wild turkeys and the habitat they require. * 



Fred Kimmel is the Upland Game Program 
Manager for the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries and a frequent contribu- 
tor to Louisiana Conservationist. 



March/April 2004 9 



Families Hooked^n Fishing 




Photo courtesy of Water Works Wonc 



BY 
JILL WILSON 



When I was a youngster, my papaw taught me how to 
fish. He delighted in taking me, my sisters and my par- 
ents on frequent fishing trips. Of course, "fishing" meant 
digging up worms (and getting as dirty as I wanted), cul- 
tivating an interest in nature, and occasionally plopping a 
cane pole into the water. I never caught a whole lot more 
than those bees that swam in my grape Shasta, but it was 
time well-spent. Ask anyone who went fishing as a child 
and you'll find similar memories. Studies indicate that 
initiation into fishing occurs most often through familial 
ties, and few would disagree that fishing with family is 
not so much about fishing, but about family and the qual- 
ity time spent together. 



10 Louisiana Conservationist 



Back then, I don't remember feeling the 
tug between the natural world outside and 
video games inside. Barbie and Atari could 
never contend with the world of fun wait- 
ing for me outdoors. But children today 
have endless indoor-oriented distractions 
and options. Countless video games, com- 
puter programs, movies and television 
shows bombard the senses. 

The days when children spent the bulk 
of their free time playing outdoors con- 
trasts sharply with the present. Many of 
today's youth commonly opt to sit in front 
of computers or televisions for fun. And 
though technology is often blamed for this 
evident shift, we should remember that 
advances in technology have also helped us 
develop more efficient means to catch fish 
of higher quality and quantity and also 
ensure the protection of the natural aquatic 
resources in our world. 

Nowadays, most of us would find it dif- 
ficult indeed to replace a child's video 
games with a sand box or swingset. Rather, 
how about reincorporating some of the fun 
that fishing has to offer into your ever 
shrinking family time! Taking children 
fishing is an excellent way to teach them 
about nature and encourage outdoor stew- 
ardship. Other benefits are the very quali- 
ties many anglers cite as reasons they enjoy 
fishing: a sense of challenge and accom- 
plishment, an opportunity to connect to 
nature and others and the peaceful, relax- 
ing feeling derived from a relatively simple 
endeavor. 

So how do you get your children or 
grandchildren involved in the recreational 
and educational opportunities available 
through fishing? The answer may be as 
simple as merely asking them to come 
along. 

A 2003 survey conducted by the nation- 
ally recognized research firm Responsive 
Management of Harrisonburg, Virginia, 
uncovered many interesting factors related 
to fishing participation among our nation's 
youth, particularly those aged eight to 18. 
According to the survey, 50 percent of 
youth surveyed were very interested in 
going fishing, and an additional 35 percent 
were a little interested in going fishing. 
Among youth who had fished in the previ- 
ous year, 45 percent said that they would 
like to fish a lot more than they currently 
do. 

Of those who were interested in going 
fishing, a large majority said that being 



asked by their father or mother would 
encourage them to go fishing. Highest- 
ranking answers for this multiple-response 
question, "Whom would you most like to 
go fishing with?", were friend (80%), father 
(78%), another family member (75%) and 
mother (72%). 

While kids seem eager to go fishing with 
their families, other studies suggest that 
parents and grandparents as well would 
respond with delight to an invitation from 
a child to go fishing. However, common 
constraints such as time, energy and lack of 
fishing holes nearby are often cited by 
adults and children alike. For tips on com- 
batting these and other challenges, there 
are numerous fishing organizations, many 
with internet sites, that provide a wealth of 
resources. For example, the Recreational 
Boating and Fishing Foundation offers the 
following suggestions for getting your chil- 
dren "hooked" on fishing. 

Most adult anglers fish for relaxation, to 
be with friends and family and for the 
sport, but kids want action! The primary 
motivation for them is the simple joy of 
catching fish. So the best way to make sure 
your kids enjoy their next fishing trip with 
you is to take them to a spot where there 




Taking children 
fishing is an 
excellent way to 
teach them about 
nature and 
encourage outdoor 
stewardship. 



March /April 2004 11 



Whether fishing by 

land or by boat, 

children should always 

wear well-fitted life 

jackets and use 

appropriate-sized gear. 



are plenty of fish just waiting to be caught, 
especially fish that bite often and are easy 
to reel in. 

First outings with children should be to 
places where there is a guarantee of catch- 
ing a lot of fish, but, of course, you should 
teach them not to take more than they can 
use or exceed the legal limit. These lessons 
will reinforce respect for other living 
things as well as emphasize the impor- 
tance of resource management. Make 
your children part of the preparation: look- 
ing at maps, digging worms and picking 
out bait or snacks will give them a sense of 
anticipation and some control regarding 
the outing. 

Fishing with your kids is a great oppor- 
tunity to explain how the food chain works. 
They'll learn, for example, that each type of 
fish has a favorite bug to eat-remember, 
anything "yucky" to a nine-year-old is par- 
ticularly cool-and this will help them learn 
how each lure, fly or type of live bait will 
help them catch a specific type of fish. Bass, 
for example, eat a wide variety of wiggly 
things like crickets and worms, each hav- 
ing its own qualities that elicit kids' giggles 
and crinkled-up noses. 

Take frequent breaks with your 
child-especially if he or she is under the 
age of ten-and make sure you head home 

Photo courtesy 




before the trip becomes a bore. Don't 
expect young children to be able to sit qui- 
etly in a boat or on the dock for hours wait- 
ing for a nibble. You can still use break time 
as a learning experience. Let them relieve 
pent-up energy by allowing them to run 
around chasing butterflies or catching tad- 
poles. Bring a clear jar to catch ladybugs or 
minnows and after a short observation 
time learning to appreciate little creepy- 
crawlies, help your kids return them to the 
place they found them. Getting your chil- 
dren to appreciate nature will help them 
grow to become responsible outdoor 
lovers. 

Don't expect to do any serious fishing 
yourself when you take your children for 
their first experience. Your role is teacher 
and helper as your kids enjoy the thrill of 
their first catch. After their first few trips, 
they will probably want to do most things 
themselves, and you will have plenty of 
opportunity to fish yourself. Parents who 
focus on helping children first are sure to 
have a successful first outing. 

Fishing from a boat can be a particularly 
enjoyable experience, but one that requires 
an additional lesson on boating safety. 

Lots of kids today believe that dinner 
comes in a nicely wrapped, colorful pack- 
age from the fast food joint around the cor- 

of Water Works Wonders ner - But if Y OU let them 

help you cook your catch 
after an outing on the lake 
or at the beach, they'll 
understand where our 
food comes from. As they 
prepare and serve your 
feast, their pride will 
show on their faces as the 
family enjoys the meal the 
kids helped bring to the 
table. 

Remember, the most 
important goals when tak- 
ing your kids fishing are 
to have fun and spend 
family time together. 
And by participating, you 
and other anglers provide 
vital funding and play an 
indispensible role in sus- 
taining resources and pro- 
moting safe and responsi- 
ble use of our nation's 
waters. According to the 
Recreational Boating and 
Fishing Foundation, on 



average, 83 percent of state fish and 
wildlife agencies' total freshwater fish- 
eries/aquatic resource management budg- 
et is supported by fishing license sales and 
Sport Fish Restoration funds. These funds 
are derived from motorboat fuel taxes and 
a special excise tax on fishing tackle and 
equipment. Sport Fish Restoration funds 
also support boater education and safety 
programs around the country. 

Based on current Louisiana regulations, 
residents and nonresidents younger than 
16 years of age and residents who have 
reached 60 years of age prior to June 1, 
2000, and have lived in the state for two 
years prior to application are not required 
to obtain licenses. Proof of age must be 
carried on person. Don't forget to look for 
free fishing days and the numerous fishing, 
boating and aquatic stewardship events 
that happen throughout the year, many of 
which occur during National Fishing and 
Boating Week, June 5-13, 2004. For more 
information, please contact the Louisiana 
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at 
225/765-2800 or visit our website at 
www.ivlf.state.la.us. % 



/;'// Wilson is an LDWF Public Information 
Officer and Louisiana Conservationist staff 
writer. 




Take your kids to a spot with plenty of fish just 
waiting to be caught. Like Colby Vidrine, above, they 
will thank you with a smile from ear to ear. 



RELATED ORGANIZATIONS, PROGRAMS, SITES AND RESOURCES: 

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (unmii.rbff.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase partic- 
ipation in recreational angling and boating and thereby increase public awareness and appreciation of the need for protecting, 
conserving and restoring this nation's aquatic natural resources. 

Water Works Wonders (umnv.umterworkswonders.org) provides information on fishing, boating and caring for the water. Their 
website is packed with useful, localized information. Get out on the water and see where it takes you. 

FishingWorks.com (www.FishingWorks.com) strives to connect the world's fishermen, including the 40+ million licensed anglers 
in the United States, with the over 45,000 providers of fishing-related products and services on the Internet. 

The Future Fisherman Foundation (www.futurepshennan.org) is the non-profit educational arm of the American Sportfishing 
Association. Its purpose is to improve the quality of human life by teaching people to fish, and by promoting stewardship of 
aquatic resources. 

Reel Kids Fishing Club (mgfx.com/fishing/nssocs/ReelKids/) is a club and magazine devoted to teaching kids about angling. "Reel 
Kids Get Hooked for Life!" 

The Step Outside program (www.stepoutside.org) is a resource for current target shooters, archers, hunters and anglers. Here 
you can learn how to share your favorite activity with friends or family members who have never had an opportunity to try 
traditional outdoor sports. 



March/April 2004 13 




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STORY BY 
MARTY CANNON 

PHOTOS BY 
ANN MCMAHON 



"Urban sprawl" is a phrase that seems 
more applicable to Los Angeles spilling 
over into the southern California country- 
side or New York City spreading out in the 
Northeast. Unfortunately it happens here 
in Louisiana too and to some of the most 
pristine lands in the nation. 

Just south of Baton Rouge, not far off of 
Interstate 10 near Prairieville lies an entire 
ecosystem ripe with life and history over- 
shadowed by the growth of the state's capi- 
tol city. Spanish Lake has for ages provid- 
ed a flourishing habitat for humans and 
animals alike. Its seeming demise over the 
past few decades has been vanquished 
thanks to energetic and passionate souls 
that find a different type of "life" from its 
black waters and diverse systems. 

The 13,000-acre backwater swamp has 
been a catch basin for Baton Rouge's rain 
runoff for thousands of years. When Bayou 
Manchac caught a portion of the 
Mississippi River before the intense levying 
of the past century it forced river water 



into the dark cypress swamp, pushing 
water into nearby forests and smaller 
waterways like Bayou Paul in St. Gabriel. 
The waters that brought life to so much of 
Louisiana created a sanctuary for wildlife 
so grand that generations of man have 
reaped its bounty. 

For thousands of years, native Indians 
used the Mississippi and Manchac (Mobile 
Indian derivation of Imashaka for "rear 
entrance") as a short cut between Baton 
Rouge and New Orleans via the Amite 
River, Pass Manchac and into Lake 
Pontchartrain and its multitude of water 
passages. The coursing Mississippi poured 
silt into the surrounding lands building up 
areas like Highland Road which runs near 
LSU and lesser-known spots with names 
like Flag Prairie and Bluff Swamp. 

just before the dawn of the 18th century, 
a Frenchman named Pierre Le Moyne, 
Sieur dTberville, navigated up the 
Mississippi River and used the east pas- 
sage of Bayou Manchac to head back to his 



14 Louisiana Conservationist 



home base in New Orleans. Iberville was 
exploring routes for the growing French 
presence in the southern stretch of the New 
World. He passed, and even rested, at the 
mouth of Alligator Bayou, the entrance to 
Spanish Lake. 

Over the course of the 18th and 19th cen- 
turies, European settlements slowly started 
to form along the Mississippi River. The 
Catholic French, and then Spanish, crowns 
saw the Manchac/ Spanish Lake area as an 
opportunistic settlement that would buffer 
the growing English presence in Baton 
Rouge. 

Then came the Acadians. The odds were 
against these people with origins in 
Canada, but their strength forged a culture 
unique in its own. Again, Spanish Lake 
provided. 

Over time, the rich lands of Manchac 
and Spanish Lake became a haven for other 
ethnic groups like the Africans, Scotch, 
Dutch, Irish, Acadians, British, French and 
Spanish. Though economically poor, these 
immigrants were in a land that provided 
plenty. 

While today the hunting and fishing of 
Alligator Bayou and Spanish Lake are for 
sport, during the Depression-era, they 
were a means of survival. 

L.J. Harelson was a product of the 
Depression and lived a life of hardship and 
happiness on Spanish Lake. He has lived 
for over seventy years in St. Gabriel along 
the banks of Bayou Paul and some of his 
more memorable years were during the 
Depression when he was molded into the 
man he is today. Recently, he began writ- 
ing his memoirs about his family and this 
way of life long gone. 

"We used to put in behind Murphy's 
when the flood waters came up," he 
recalled one afternoon not long ago over a 
cup of coffee. "Grandpa Boss would trap 
mink and coons back there and we'd collect 
moss from the trees to sell. Grandpa Boss 
used to get twenty to twenty-five dollars 
for mink pelts back then. That was good 
money." 

"We fished too. Me and Sonny Boy 
would run trot lines back there. We used 
copper wire for the lines. We would use 
P&G soap and sawyer worms. Those were 
big white worms we would get out of rot- 
ting trees because they stayed on so long. 
We also used chicken guts. We used to 
catch a bunch of catfish out of there." 

"When the backwater was in the 



Spanish Lake swamp," Harelson wrote in 
his memoirs, "we would set bush lines in 
the woods for catfish or trot lines in 
Alligator Bayou at Spanish Lake. One time 
Uncle Vince and Daddv had set a line at the 
mouth of Alligator Bayou. Daddy, Webb 
(Harelson's brother) and I went to check 
and re-bait the lines. As we started down 
the line we found just the heads of catfish 
on some of the hooks. As we went further 
(we) felt something pulling very hard on 
the line. It was a huge loggerhead turtle 
tangled up in the line. I guess it was eating 
the fish and got hooked up in the line. 
Daddy managed to get the turtle in the 
boat and killed it with the hatchet. When 
we got the turtle home Daddy weighed it 
on the pecan scale. It weighed eighty-three 
pounds. We ate turtle for a long time." 

Like most game animals found around 
the lake, turtles were highly prized for 
their meat since store bought meat was so 
rare in rural areas. Harelson told of times 
when they would wade next to a flat boat 
near old, rotting trees in the lake. Stepping 
around and on the backs of hibernating 
loggerhead or alligator snapping turtles, 
they would then reach down and grab 
their tails and hoist them into the boat. 
How they knew which end was the tail is 
still a mystery. 

And the ducks that could be taken can 
only be glimpsed through the words 
Harelson wrote about those days as well. 
"Ducks were plentiful in winter. We would 
hunt them in the woods during the day 
and shoot them when they came in to 
roost. Grand Prairie was a favorite roost- 



Looking south across 
Spanish Lake to the 
Mississippi River 
beyond, it is hard to 
imagine that the 
Baton Rouge metro 
area exists 
just northeast of 
this wilderness area. 




March/April 2004 15 



For years various 

organizations have 

worked to preserve 

the Spanish Lake 

area. Alligator 

Bayou Tours has 

secured a portion of 

the property for 

touring, preservation 

and educational use. 



ing place. I've seen the sky black with 
clucks coming in to roost just before sunset. 
Daddy was a very good shot on flying birds 
and always used his 12-gauge Remington 
automatic shotgun." 

Spanish moss also graced most South 
Louisiana swamps. In Harelson's youth, 
the moss was used to fill beds and pillows. 
"That was a messy job," Harelson said of 
the work in curing moss to sell. "First of all 
you had to pick the green moss. We used a 
stick or long pole with a notch or nail at the 
end. You'd stick it up in the moss and twist 
it pulling down the moss. You had to wet 
the moss and leave it out so the outer layer 
would rot off, then you'd let it dry." 

Crawfish had not yet been recognized as 
an epicurean specialty, but for the people of 
the swamp, the little crustaceans were 
another source of sustenance. The 
Harelsons boiled what they caught on the 
stove in salty water. Complex seasoning 
packages came later. Whether it was tur- 
tles, rabbits, ducks or crawfish, the people 
that settled near Spanish Lake might have 
struggled but they never went without. 

Today people can venture into the beau- 
tiful swamp by canoe, boats or Alligator 




Bayou Swamp Tours and hear Jim Ragland 
tell how he and Frank Bonifay organized 
the development of the Bluff Swamp 
Wildlife Refuge and Botanical Gardens to 
ward off lumbering in the lake area. 

The Alligator Bayou Tour hosts a large 
tour boat for excursions into the swamp, 
Acadian-style lodging for visitors that 
want to get close to nature and educational 
programs that support research and learn- 
ing. 

And the tradition of hunting? It has 
hardly faded from the cultural landscape. 
The majority of land around Spanish Lake 
is owned by private individuals or hunting 
clubs. Deer is the major big game item for 
these people. The past 50 years have seen 
an increase in deer populations due to the 
growth of urban areas all around the basin 
area. Waterfowl continue to frequent the 
swamp, though not in the large numbers 
that Harelson described. Wood Ducks and 
coots make up a majority of the migratory 
wild fowl there. However, the turkey pop- 
ulation is making a comeback after its rein- 
trod uction by the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries back in the 1990s. 
Above all, squirrel and rabbits are probably 
the most sought after game in the 
area. 

So the ecotourism industry and 
sportsmen alike have temporarily 
saved the Spanish Lake basin 
from ever being lost. It will take a 
continual awareness of the pre- 
cious state of this tremendous 
resource, but as environmental 
and habitat awareness continue to 
be a focus of these people, there 
will always be the life-giving 
water called Spanish Lake. 

Spanish Lake can be accessed 
through Alligator Bayou and can 
be found by taking Exit 166 off of 
1-10 at Highland Road. Follow 
the signs to the gravel Alligator 
Bayou Road. * 



Marty Cannon is a junior high 
teacher in Lafayette. His lave of 
hunting and fishing prompted him to 
write about his outdoor passions and 
pursuits. 



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1 



Pen-reare 

Panacea m Problem 







>?&3?EBHBP 



Birds 



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Photo by Dave Moreland 

One of the most persistent issues in the 
world of game bird management is that of 
releasing pen-reared birds into the wild. 
On the surface, it would seem that supple- 
menting the wild population of quail, 
ducks or turkeys would be a good idea. 
However, the simplest solution is not 
always the best. 

The idea of releasing pen-reared birds to 
increase wild populations is not new. For 
many years wildlife agencies, including 
the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries (LDWF), operated hatcheries for 
raising and releasing game birds into the 
wild. Most of these hatchery programs 
were abandoned as evidence of their inef- 
fectiveness mounted. In addition, con- 
cerns arose regarding impacts pen-reared 
bird releases could have on wild birds. 

In response to these concerns, regula- 
tions were adopted to protect wild birds 
from the potential negative impacts of pen- 
reared bird releases. In Louisiana, pen- 
reared birds may be released only on 
licensed hunting preserves and under field 
trial or dog training permits. Even in these 
circumstances there are health standards 
the pen-reared birds must meet and restric- 



tions on the types of birds that may be 
released. Methods of release are also regu- 
lated. Bobwhite quail, turkeys and mal- 
lards are the species most often involved in 
release activities in Louisiana. 

During the 1940s and early 1950s LDWF 
operated at least three quail hatcheries. 
Bobwhite quail raised in these hatcheries 
were released throughout Louisiana. 
During this period two studies were con- 
ducted to monitor the impact of the pro- 
gram. Both studies concluded that few 
birds survived long enough to contribute 
to the breeding population and the impact 
of releases on hunter success was insignifi- 
cant. These results led the department to 
end the quail stocking program in 1952. 

As wild quail populations have 
declined in Louisiana and across the 
nation, interest in releasing pen-reared 
birds has resurfaced. In response, several 
studies in recent years have been conduct- 
ed to assess the survival of pen-reared 
birds. Not surprisingly, the results are 
very similar to what investigators ascer- 
tained over 50 years earlier. In Louisiana, 
radio-telemetry was used to track the sur- 
vival of 33 pen-reared female bobwhites 



STORY BY 
FRED KIMMEL 



March /April 2004 17 




Data indicate that 

long-term survival of 

pen-reared 

mallards is low 

compared to 

wild ducks. 



released on Sandy Hollow Wildlife 
Management Area in 1995. Within three 
days of release, 52 percent of the birds were 
dead and all but one was dead within 32 
days. A similar study was conducted in 
Virginia to test the effectiveness of a com- 
mercially available bobwhite release sys- 
tem. The average survival of pen-reared 
birds of game farm origin was 1.6 days 
when released in the fall and 3.8 days when 
released in spring. In both of these recent 
studies, nearly all of the mortality was due 
to predation. 

These results should not be surprising 
when you consider that even wild bob- 
whites have a tough time surviving for 
long. About 75 percent of the wild bob- 
whites that hatch will die within one vear. 
Annual survival of the wild bobwhites that 
manage to live through the critical first few 
weeks may be as low as 50 percent. When 
it comes to survival in the wild, wild bob- 
whites have advantages their pen-reared 
kin lack. Wild bobwhites have learned 
predator avoidance from wild parents and 
they have genes derived from generations 
of natural selection. It should come as no 
surprise that quail hatched and raised in 
pens, then released into foreign environ- 
ments, do not live long. 

Some quail hunting plantations and 
hunting preserves have had success in 
developing methods of raising and releas- 
ing quail that improve survival during the 
hunting season. Extensive feeding pro- 
grams are often an important component 
of these programs. Additional birds are 
released at the beginning of each hunting 
season or periodically throughout the sea- 



son. However, available information sug- 
gests that these releases do not make a sig- 
nificant contribution to the breeding popu- 
lation. 

Experience with pen-reared wild 
turkeys is very similar to that of pen-reared 
bobwhite quail. During the 1940s and 
1950s many wildlife agencies, including 
LDWF, attempted to restore wild turkey 
populations by releasing wild turkeys 
raised on game farms. It soon became 
apparent that these game farm wild 
turkeys were not the answer to restoring 
wild turkey populations. The very charac- 
teristics that allowed these game farm 
birds to be successfully raised in captivity, 
such as lack of wildness, kept these birds 
from prospering in the wild. 

In some states mallards are released into 
waterfowl habitat to supplement wild 
waterfowl populations, but Louisiana does 
not allow releases of this type. The mis- 
guided goal of these releases is to provide 
more ducks for hunters and augment wild 
breeding populations. Available data indi- 
cates that long-term survival of pen-reared 
mallards is low compared to wild ducks. 

Why then do many biologists have con- 
cerns about releasing pen-reared game 
birds? After all most of the birds don't live 
long, so what could it harm? The spread 
of disease from pen-reared birds to wild 
birds is one area of concern. When birds 
are released, it is not just the bird that is 
turned loose into the environment, but all 
the organisms the bird carries are released 
as well. Typically, captive birds are raised 
in crowded conditions, creating ideal con- 
ditions for transmission of parasites, bacte- 



18 Louisiana Conservationist 



ria and viruses. Not only are birds exposed 
to the disease agents carried by the birds 
sharing the pen with them, in some cases 
disease agents from birds long gone remain 
in the soil or in the cages. 

A number of factors can influence the 
impact disease from pen-reared birds can 
have on wild birds. The number and 
health of the released birds, the extent of 
their contact with wild birds and the densi- 
ty of wild birds in the release area are some 
of the factors that can influence the poten- 
tial for disease transmission. 

Disease in wild game birds can be very 
difficult to detect. In most cases, determin- 
ing if pen-reared birds are the source of 
disease in wild birds can be even more dif- 
ficult, if not impossible. Often birds afflict- 
ed with disease do not die from the disease 
per se. Rather they are weakened and suc- 
cumb to predation before the disease kills 
them directly. Other times disease may not 
kill a bird, but the stress on its system will 
result in low reproductive success. When 
birds die from disease, their carcasses are 
usually scavenged and disappear within a 
few hours. As a result disease outbreaks in 
game birds and other wildlife often go 
undetected. 

Advocates of game bird releases some- 
times point to the lack of evidence that 
pen-reared birds spread disease to wild 
birds as proof that it does not happen. Yet 
it has been documented that pen-reared 
birds can harbor diseases and parasites 
that can be lethal to wild birds. Diseases 
such as histomoniasis (blackhead), avian 
pox, Mycoplasma infections and ulcerative 
enteritis (quail disease) are known to occur 
in pen-reared quail, pheasants and/or 
turkeys. Duck virus enteritis (duck plague) 
can be common in pen-reared ducks. 
Evidence suggests that pen-reared birds 
have at times been the source of disease in 
wild waterfowl, wild turkeys and wild 
quail. In light of this information, most 
biologists take a cautious approach and 
advocate measures to protect wild game 
birds from diseases that may be introduced 
by pen-reared birds. After all, virtually no 
reputable commercial poultry producer 
would allow the introduction of birds into 
his flock from a source whose health status 
was questionable. Our wild game birds 
should at least have the same protection. 

Another area of concern relates to pre- 
dation and whether the presence of large 
numbers of pen-reared birds can affect pre- 



dation rates on wild birds. In other words, 
are predators attracted to an area that has 
unusually high numbers of easily caught 
pen-reared birds available? If so, the con- 
centration of predators to a local area and 
conditioning of these predators to seek out 
pen-reared birds might spill over and result 
in higher predation rates on wild birds as 
well. Studies in Texas and Georgia suggest 
that this may happen. Both studies found 
that wild bobwhite survival was lower on 
sites where large numbers of pen-reared 
quail were released than on control areas 
where there were no pen-reared birds. 

Genetic impacts are a third area of con- 
cern. Wild birds have adapted so that their 
chances of surviving and reproducing are 
maximized. Their physical characteristics, 
breedmg/nestmg/brooding behavior, breeding 
chronology and predator avoidance behav- 
ior are among the crucial genetic traits to 
reproductive success and survival in the 
wild. Interbreeding between pen-reared 
and wild birds is thought to occur, but the 
impact of such interbreeding is not well 
understood. Intuitively, it would seem that 



Many hunting 
preserves supplement 
their quail with 
pen-raised birds, 
though these releases 
do not make a 
significant 
contribution to the 
breeding population. 







i 




1 


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, 




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March /April 2004 19 



Habitat preservation 

and improvement are 

the only long-term 

solutions for 

protecting the wild 

turkey population. 



such interbreeding would be detrimental 
to the population by lowering nest success 
and survival of offspring. 

In addition to the potential negative 
impacts on reproduction and survival, 
interbreeding has been documented to 
actually threaten the viability of some 
species of ducks. Interbreeding and 
hybridization with released pen-reared 
mallards have nearly eliminated the Grey 
Duck of New Zealand and the Hawaiian 
Duck. Mallard genes can now be detected 
in Florida's mottled ducks and biologists 
are concerned that hybridization with mal- 
lards of pen-reared origin will result in 
elimination of mottled ducks as a distinct 
species in Florida. The same could happen 
to Louisiana mottled ducks. 

Besides the biological concerns raised by 
pen-reared bird releases, there are also 
legal issues to consider. This is especially 
true when mallard releases occur in areas 
used for wild waterfowl hunting. Conflicts 
with federal waterfowl hunting regula- 
tions, particularly those concerning the use 
of live decoys and baiting, can occur. 

LDWF has developed regulations to 
accommodate the needs of hunting pre- 
serves, field trial organizations and bird 
dog trainers to release pen-reared birds 
and at the same time protect our wild game 
birds. These regulations impose limita- 
tions on the species of birds that may be 
released, how they may be released, and 




mandate certain bird health requirements. 
Licensed hunting preserves must obtain 
birds from a producer participating in the 
National Poultry Improvement Plan 
(NPIP). The NPIP is a USD A program that 
involves testing and certification to ensure 
that birds are free of certain diseases. Field 
trial organizations that release birds on 
wildlife management areas for field trials 
must submit a sample of their birds for dis- 
ease testing prior to approval to hold the 
field trial. Hunting preserves that use pen- 
reared mallards can only operate north of I- 
10 and in areas where there will not be sig- 
nificant interaction with wild waterfowl. 
Pen-reared mallards must be released in a 
controlled fashion and any surviving 
ducks must be recaptured each day. 
Pheasants may carry blackhead, a disease 
that can cause significant wild turkey mor- 
tality. Therefore, hunting preserves are not 
allowed to release pheasants in areas with 
significant wild turkey populations or 
areas where the wild turkey population is 
expected to grow. Pen-reared wild turkeys 
cannot be released or possessed in 
Louisiana under any circumstances. 

There is a legitimate role for the use of 
pen-reared birds for recreation and dog 
training, provided that releases are con- 
ducted in accordance with the applicable 
regulations. However, pen-reared birds 
should not be viewed as means to restore 
wild game bird populations. In most 
instances, a lack of wild 
game birds indicates habitat 
deficiencies. The only long- 
term solution is to engage in 
the difficult but rewarding 
work of habitat improve- 
ment. For information 
regarding game bird habitat 
management and improve- 
ment, contact the 
Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries, Wildlife Division 
at 225/765-2350. i 



Fred Kimmel is the Upland 
Game Program Manager for 
the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries and a 
frequent contributor to 
Louisiana Conservationist. 



20 Louisiana Conservationist 




Becoming an Outdoors Woman... the title 
says it all. A weekend for women to learn 
about the out-of-doors, commune with the 
wild and match wits with nature, the ele- 
ments and one another. A chance to learn 
canoeing, firearms safety, shooting basics, 
photography, archery, camp cooking, boat 
trailering... the list goes on and on. 
Registering for the Becoming an Outdoors 
Woman (BOW) weekend sponsored by the 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries was something I had to do! 

Did I believe I would become Grizzlette 
Adams or Wilhemenia Tell in one week- 
end? Would I return home with the ability 
to track down and kill large game, or small 
game for that matter, with only a sharp 
stick and a rock? Not a chance. But in the 
classes I'd signed up for, I knew I would 
learn the basics of handguns, outdoor pho- 
tography, canoeing and muzzleloading all 
in one weekend. 

Armed with a list of suggested items to 
take to camp, I went shopping. Flashlight, 
check. Water bottle, check. Rain poncho... 
rain? Missing from my list were some 
essential survival items - my make-up, a 
curling iron. How would I survive? Did I 
have the strength to cut the cord to my 
blow dryer? I would soon find out! 

The flat land of southern Louisiana 
turned into gently rolling hills dotted with 
pine trees, making the drive from Baton 
Rouge to Camp Grant Walker a pleasant 



one. The campground was easy to find and 
after checking in, I found my assigned 
dorm, unpacked and got ready for my first 
class. 

I'd never been to camp as a child so this 
was a first for me. Bedding was bunk bed 
style and it was suggested that I store my 
clothing, towels and other items on an 
upper bunk and sleep on the bottom. As I 
unpacked my bag, laying out my clothes 
and towels, my weekend comrades began 
to trickle in, carrying bags and suitcases of 
all shapes and sizes. I watched out of the 
corners of my eyes as they began to 
unpack. Soon I was openly staring. Small 
coffee pots, blow dryers and a large array 
of other items began to appear, spreading 
out on the shelf surrounding the big mirror 
in the center of the room. A small ice chest 
found its way to the foot of a bed several 
bunks down and a bag of Easter candy lay 
on the top bunk. Chocolate?! Why hadn't 
I thought of that? 

I headed back to the cafeteria for lunch 
and assembly. General ground rules of 
Camp Grant Walker were laid out for us: 
what to do in case of an emergency, assem- 
bly after each meal, Saturday night festivi- 
ties. Then we were turned loose to attend 
our classes. 

A basic handguns class was first on my 
list. I own a handgun, which I'd never 
fired, so this class promised to be the per- 
fect opportunity to get a feel for my own 



STORY BY 
JANET ABBOTT 

PHOTOS BY 
TODD BUFFINGTON 



March /April 2004 21 




A participant in the 

horseback riding class 

(above) learns how to 

mount, dismount and 

ride into the sunset. 



The author makes her 

own decoy in a Wood 

Duck carving class 

(right). 



weapon. I'd already taken a firearms safe- 
ty course, a pre-requisite for the basic 
handguns class, so I made my way to the 
firing range. There were nine other ladies 
present, an eclectic group of housewives, 
secretaries, doctors and lawyers. A few 
had their own pistols and one or two had 
even fired them before, but most of us were 
beginners. After the instructors explained 
firing line safety and the basics of loading 
and unloading our weapons, we donned 
eye and ear protection and began to shoot. 
The kick of that first recoil was jarring, not 
to mention scary, but it didn't take long to 
get used to the feel of the pistol in my 
hands and to eventually do as the instruc- 
tors advised and squeeze the trigger in an 
easy, fluid controlled movement. Annie 
Oakley I'm not, but I did manage to hit the 
target a few times. 

After our Friday afternoon class, we had 
dinner then assembled for announcements. 
Afterward, mini-classes in knife sharpen- 
ing and night sounds were offered, as well 
as a night hike to Stuart Lake. Many ladies 
used this time to get reacquainted and 
renew old friendships formed at previous 
BOW camps. 

Not much of a late-night person, I was 
yawning by 10:00 p.m. Back at the dorm, I 
grabbed my toiletries and a towel and 
headed for the bathhouse. After a quick 
shower and even quicker trot back to the 
dorm in the brisk March night air, I crawled 
into my bunk and was asleep in no time. 

My first full day of activities dawned 
bright and dry... and early! After breakfast, 
I was off to my second class, outdoor pho- 
tography. The course description had 



advised bringing a manual camera if one 
was available, so I'd borrowed my brother- 
in-law's for the occasion. The classroom 
portion of the class was relatively short, 
but informative, and in no time we were on 
our way to Stuart Lake in Kisatchie 
National Forest to put our newfound 
knowledge to the test. 

The lake and surrounding park were 
beautiful, the weather nice and cool. We 
each went in our own directions, taking 
photographs of whatever our budding 
artistic visions prompted us to aim our 
view finders at. Before we knew it, our 
time at the lake was up and we headed 
back to camp. We gave our film to the 
instructor for one-hour processing so that 
our photos could be displayed at that 
night's assembly. 




After lunch and noon assembly, I was off 
to the camp's swimming pool for some 
pointers on basic canoeing. I'd never been 
in a canoe in my life, so I watched and lis- 
tened intently, making sure I could handle 
anything that came my way while on Big 
Creek. The teachers discussed canoes, 
paddles and other equipment, as well as 
paddling techniques, including different 
strokes and tips important to safe canoe- 
ing. When all of our questions were 
answered, we headed for the water. 

Once at Big Creek the class was divided 
into pairs, fitted for life jackets and let loose 



22 Louisiana Conservationist 



on the water. Unfortunately, I didn't find 
out until later that my partner had never 
been in a canoe in her life either! The over- 
hanging branches and other growth along 
the banks of the creek shaded us, making 
the day a bit cooler. The water wasn't too 
deep and the current wasn't too fast, just 
enough to help move us along at a steady 
pace. We paddled and maneuvered 
around fallen limbs and trees in the water, 
ducking under those that seemingly barred 
our progress. Then the gauntlet appeared 
before us, a right angle curve in the creek 
where the current picked up a bit and the 
water was criss-crossed by tree branches 
and trunks, both above and below the sur- 
face. It was to be our downfall. I don't 
know if we zigged when we should have 
zagged or the distribution of our weight in 
the canoe shifted too far in one direction at 
one time, but we earned the distinction of 
being the only canoe to tip over that year! 

Saturday night assembly was an experi- 
ence in itself. After dinner everyone gath- 
ered in the conference room for a night of 
entertainment, including a fashion show, 
contests, skits and even impromptu stand- 
up comedy. We learned what the well- 
dressed female hunter would be wearing 
that year, judged a turkey calling contest 
performed by the Talking Turkey class, 
then laughed till our sides hurt at the antics 
of our dorm-mates and the amateur stand- 
up comedians. 

When the laughter died down, we 
moved outside for the Saturday night bon- 
fire. A light chill hung in the March night 
air, making it perfect bonfire weather. By 
the time we gathered our sodas, snacks and 
folding chairs and made our way to the 
clearing where logs and sticks had been 
piled earlier in the day, the fire was roaring. 
Orange and yellow flames licked the dark 
background of the nighttime sky, casting 
long shadows over the area and warming 
our faces and hands. We laughed and 
shared our experiences of the day. Around 
midnight, I realized that if I was going to 
get up in time for my last class, it was time 
to hit the sack. 

Sunday was another pretty day. After 
breakfast I headed to the firing range for 
muzzleloading. The instructors were wait- 
ing with ancient-looking yet modern rifles. 
As with handguns, we spent some time 
getting familiar with our weapons-the 
strength of the black powder, how to load 
and prime the rifle and how to clean it after 



each shot. It was a lot to remember, more 
than just putting a bullet into a gun and 
pulling the trigger, but it wasn't long before 
I had the hang of it. I soon became com- 
fortable with the recoil of the rifle and even 
moved up to a few more grains of powder. 
Before the class was over, I'd made satisfy- 
ing contact with several different targets 
that had been set up for us. 

All too soon my weekend was over, and 
it was time to go home. After the muzzle- 
loading class, I returned to the dorm, 
packed my things and loaded them into my 
car. As I made the drive back to Baton 
Rouge, I went over my weekend experi- 
ences in my mind, coming to the conclu- 
sion that all of the classes had been inter- 
esting, informative and fun. Later I bought 
a camera of my own and have since used 
the skills I learned at BOW to take wonder- 
ful pictures. 

Although the title of the program is 
Becoming an Outdoors Woman, there are 
more than just outdoor skills to be learned. 
I wasn't exactly raised a "city girl" but I 
learned many new things about myself and 
realized that with a little direction, I can do 
anything. That knowledge will last me a 
lifetime. * 



Janet Abbott is an Administrative Specialist II 
in tlie LDWF Enforcement Division. A depart- 
ment employee of 22 years, Janet has attended 
B.O.W. five times. 



Always a popular 
course, Campfire 
Cuisine provides 
instruction on 
various styles of 
outdoor cooking. 




,.~S2r3i 



March/April 2004 23 



Jellyfish in 
Your Favorite 
Bass Hole? 



BY 
JIM HYDE 




LDWF File Photo 



Are you one of the lucky few who has spotted these ethereal creatures in a body of fresh water? Few fishermen are 
mentally prepared for them, and if reported to fishing buddies, a sighting may be considered just another "fish story." 

This was my father's reaction when I first saw jellyfish in Toledo Bend Reservoir. He just chuckled and said, "Yeah, 
sure!" When I finally prevailed on him to take a look, he did a double-take, rubbed his eyes and said that we must 
both be crazy. 

How could jellyfish be in a freshwater lake? One possible explanation was that juveniles might have been brought 
in by seabirds, which frequent the reservoir during winter months, and that they might then have grown for a time in 
the plankton-rich waters. The second possibility was that freshwater jellyfish actually exist. Why not? 

A recent article in Aquatics by Robert Korth from the University of Wisconsin reported the presence of jellyfish in a 
quarry lake in central Wisconsin. He was able to collect some samples and positively identify them in a university lab- 
oratory as Craspedecusta sowerbii, the only freshwater jellyfish known to North America. They are rarely observed, even 
by limnologists, but, as with other organisms such as mushrooms, algae and insects, they may suddenly appear in 
quantity when conditions become favorable and then disappear for years. 

C. sowerbii differs from saltwater jellyfish in that it possesses a "velum," a thin membrane extending inward from 
the edge (ring canal) of the umbrella-shaped medusa to the centrally located mouth (manubrium). These parts are 
nearly devoid of color, and the little jellyfish would be virtually invisible were it not for the large sex organs (gonads) 
that hang from its underside. It is very small, ranging in size from barely visible to about that of a quarter. Like its 
marine cousins, it has many tentacles with thousands of cells possessing stinging structures (nematocysts) to stun its 
planktonic prey. However, the nematocysts are unable to penetrate human skin. 

This jellyfish reproduces both asexually and sexually, although some populations may be all male or all female. 
Fertilized eggs fall to the bottom as larvae which develop into polyps. These may bud and branch to form colonies of 
polyps, which in turn may further bud to form the medusa, or jellyfish as we know it. Buds may also become "frus- 
tules," minute larvae that break off, crawl away from the parent polyp and start a new polyp colony. During winter 
the medusae ball up to form "podocysts," which may be transported by birds and other wildlife. 

Are these fascinating creatures new to Louisiana? They are native to the Yangtze River system and were not report- 
ed outside China until 1880, when they were found in London. They are believed to have also entered the United States 
in the 1880s and have now been recorded in 46 states, most recently by Nebraska. 

There are four known sightings in Louisiana, the first of which was in 1936: two in southeastern Louisiana, one in a 
gravel pit near Shreveport and now Toledo Bend Reservoir. Thus Craspedecusta sowerbii is yet another example of a for- 
eign, invasive species, although it seems to pose no threat. 

If you spot one of these, please report it to Jim Hyde, Sabine River Authority, at (800)259-LAKE. ^ 



Jim Hyde is a Sanitarian /Biologist 
with the Sabine River Authority, Toledo Bend. 



24 Louisiana Conservationist 




Photo by Ryan Daniel/Mike Wood 



In December 2003, the D'Arbonne Lake 
Commission completed a unique bridge 
lighting project, which promises to increase 
fishing success at the lake and boost rev- 
enue in the surrounding area. Lake 
D'Arbonne, a man-made lake of 16,000 
acres, is located in the town of Farmerville 
in Union Parish. The lake is already known 
for producing some of the largest crappie 
in the nation, but the new lighting project 
will help fishermen take advantage of a 
bumper crop of white perch in the lake this 
year and years to come. 

The lighting project, which will encour- 
age and facilitate night fishing at 
D'Arbonne, was achieved by installing 
twelve high-intensity street lamps under 
each bay of the Highway 33 overpass 
bridge. The lights along this stretch pro- 
vide a well-lit, sheltered area for night fish- 
ing. Fishing for crappie is usually done at 
night with a lantern; minnows are attracted 
to the lights shining into the water and they 
in turn attract crappie and other fish. The 
newly-lighted area is protected from wind 



and rain and allows room for up to 100 
hundred boats to safely share the site. 

Some fishing piers in Louisiana are 
lighted, but from above, not below like the 
D'Arbonne Lake bridge. These lights actu- 
ally shine into the water. Since the project 
is an original one, work on it was specially 
designed and had to be done from a barge. 
The $22,000 project was funded by the 
D'Arbonne Lake Commission and super- 
vised by the Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the 
Department of Transportation and 
Development (DOTD). Electricity is being 
provided by the Union Parish Chamber of 
Commerce. 

The D'Arbonne Lake Commission 
invites you to take advantage of this spe- 
cial project, which is just one of many 
attractions on this beautiful and bountiful 
lake. It's sure to shed some light on your 
next fishing expedition. For more informa- 
tion about the recently completed 
D'Arbonne Lake Bridge Lighting Project, 
contact Larry Turner at 318/397-5774. ^ 



March/April 2004 25 




Loggy Bayou 




Loggy Bayou Wildlife 
Management Area is located 
in the southernmost part of 
Bossier Parish, approximately 20 
miles southeast of Bossier City. Its 
4,211 acres, owned by the Louisiana 
Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries, are easily reached by 
automobile via U.S. Highway 71. 
An all-weather road, constructed by 
LDWF, crosses the interior, and the 
northern portion is accessible by 
boat and automobile. 

Loggy Bayou is one of the few 
remaining bottomland hardwood 
tracts in northwest Louisiana. 
Dominant tree species are hackber- 
ry, ash, elm, honey locust and native 
wild pecan. Overcup oak, 
water oak, willow oak and 
striped oak are sparsely scat- 
tered throughout the forest 
area. Several hundred acres . .„■•■ 
of the open fields have been ,:."\ij' 
planted to native pecan, .'*?-' 
striped oak, water oak and ^S^ 
Cherrybark oak seedlings. 
Some underplanting of the 
same seedlings has been 
accomplished in the forested 
areas. 

The understory consists of 
dense stands of red haws, rat- 
tan, trumpet vine, dewberry, 
poison ivy and seedlings of 
dominant forest types. Each 
summer approximately 40 
acres are planted in food 
plots. 

The flat terrain, typical of 
the alluvial flood plain of the 
Red River, is subject to annual 
flooding from backwaters of 

26 Louisiana Conservationist 



the Red River. The water regime of 
the area creates an ideal situation 
for a number of reptile and amphib- 
ian species. 

Common wildlife species in the 
area include beavers, Wood Ducks, 
Great Blue Herons, Barred Owls, 
Red-shouldered Hawks, gray squir- 
rels and white-tailed deer. 
Numerous species of both transient 
and resident birds use the area dur- 
ing the year. The Prothonotary 
Warbler, White-Eyed Vireo and 
Great Crested Flycatcher are com- 
mon summer residents. Winter 
sparrows include the White-throat- 
ed, Song and Swamp sparrows. 

Photo courtesy of T. Buffington/S. Hebert 




An active beaver lodge is visible 
from the bridge, which is a good 
viewing site for aquatic wildlife 
species. The nature trail receives 
public use from bird watchers and 
nature study groups. Early spring 
viewing offers the greatest opportu- 
nities, particularly for wood war- 
blers. A public boat launching ramp 
and greentree reservoir have been 
constructed and are used by 
hunters and fishermen. Overnight 
camping is allowed throughout the 
entire year on designated camping 
areas. 

The area is open to public hunt- 
ing for deer, doves, quail, rabbits, 
squirrels, ducks and other game 
species. Rules, regulations 
and season dates can be 
found in the hunting regula- 
tions pamphlet available 
from the department or 
. license vendors. Maps are 
available at the local region 
offices and on the internet at 
www.wlf.state.la.us. 

To reach Loggy Bayou 
I WMA from Ringgold, LA, 
travel west on La. Hwy 154 
for approximately nine miles 
to the east end of the Lake 
Bistineau Spillway. Turn 
south on Bienville Parish 
Road 511 for 0.5 miles to the 
Loggy Bayou boundary sign. 
Turn west on the bridge. 
Additional information may 
be obtained by contacting the 
LDWF Minden office at P.O. 
Box 915, Minden; Louisiana 
71055 or by phone at 
318/371-3050. 



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MANAGING 
WHITE-TAILS 
IN LOUISIANA 




Building and Maintaining Nest Boxes 

Compiled by LDWF's Natural Heritage section, this 
book includes easy to follow instructions and blue- 
prints for nest boxes to house dozens of species. 
Great craft ideas for scouts, students or anyone who 
wants to bring outdoor wildlife to their backyard. 



LOUISWHJIS 
WlLI>LI« 



0. ;,..-,.*! tl MIMIlb M< g[ 




Louisiana's Wildlife Worth Watching 
Managing Whitetails in Louisiana 



$5 



$2.50 







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lines 



BY MAJ. KEITH LACAZE 

Boating Safety For The Future 

As the more than 330,000 
recreational boats registered 
in Louisiana are launched this 
spring, two significant additions to 
existing boating safety regulations 
will be in effect. Both will result in 
safer waterways for all boaters and 
enhance the wildlife enforcement 
agent's ability to effectively enforce 
safety regulations and educational 
requirements. The Boating Safety 
Rules of the Road for Vessels were 
adopted by the Louisiana Wildlife 
and Fisheries Commission in 
September of 2003. The Rules of 
the Road for Vessels or Navigation 
Rules, which set a standard of oper- 
ation for vessels on the water, are 
not new. They have been estab- 
lished, listed and included in boat- 
ing education courses for quite 
some time. But up to this point they 
have not carried the force of law in 
Louisiana. 

Wildlife enforcement agents 
investigating boating accidents fre- 
quently determine that many boat- 
ing accidents and the resulting 
injuries and deaths are caused by 
failure to adhere to these simple and 
common sense rules. Many colli- 
sions between vessels could have 
been avoided if the operators had 
known and been in compliance with 
the rules. 

There are 20 listed Rules of the 
Road for Vessels. The following are 
just three of the rules and are includ- 
ed here only as an example of these 
simple requirements: "1. Vessels 
passing head-on shall each keep to 
their respective right. 3. When ves- 
sels are passing at right angles, the 
vessel on the left will yield right-of- 
way to vessel on the right. 8. Vessels 
will not abruptly change course 
without first determining that it can 
be safely done without risk of colli- 
sion with another vessel." 

A complete listing of all 20 
Navigation Rules may be found in 
30 Louisiana Conservationist 



the boating safety course manual 
entitled "Boat Louisiana, A Course 
On Responsible Boating," or at our 
website www.wlf.state.la.us, in the 
boating section. 

In the past, violations of naviga- 
tional rules had no criminal conse- 
quences unless the enforcement 
agent could determine careless or 
reckless operation of the vessel. 
This is difficult to do unless the 
behavior resulted in an accident and 
could be proved by an accident 
investigation or eye-witness 
accounts. Those responsible for 
accidents resulting in property dam- 
age, death and/or injury frequently 
faced no criminal consequences for 
their actions. In addition, the possi- 
bility of an arrest or citation for vio- 
lation of navigational rules will serve 
as a deterrent to those who think the 
rules don't apply to them. 

While enforcement of boating 
regulations on the water is vitally 
important, equally important is edu- 
cation of the boating public. LDWF 
has offered a National Association 
of State Boating Law Administrators 
(NASBLA) approved boating safety 
class for a number of years. 
Attendance has been recommend- 
ed but not mandatory. This changed 
during the 2003 Regular Session of 
the Louisiana Legislature when 
House Bill No. 560 by 
Representatives Jack Smith (D, 
Franklin) and Wilfred Pierre (D, 
Lafayette) was enrolled as Act 921 
and became law. The act reads in 
part: "A. Except as provided in 
Subsection B of this Section, no 
person born after January 1, 1988, 
shall operate a motorboat powered 
by a motor in excess of ten horse- 
power unless he has successfully 
completed a boating safety class 
approved by the National 
Association of State Boating Law 
Administrators (NASBLA). A person 
who has completed an approved 
boating safety class shall be in pos- 
session of evidence of such com- 
pletion when operating such a boat. 

B. A motorboat may be operated 
if any person on board or participat- 
ing in any boating activity from the 
motorboat is over the age of eight- 
een and, if required to have com- 



pleted a boating safety course 
under the provisions of Subsection 
A of this Section, has completed the 
required boating safety course. 

C. A violation of this Section shall 
be a class one violation subject to 
penalties and enforcement proce- 
dures as set forth in R. S. 56:31, 
except that an offender who com- 
pletes a NASBLA-approved boating 
safety class within one year after 
final adjudication shall not be 
required to pay civil penalty. If not 
fewer than thirty days prior to the 
hearing date for the offense an 
offender provides proof that he has 
completed a class, there shall not be 
a hearing, and the violation shall be 
expunged from the person's record." 

While the boating safety class is 
now required for anyone born after 
January 1, 1988, it is still recom- 
mended for everyone. The class 
offers a great deal of boating infor- 
mation including the navigational 
rules discussed earlier. Anyone who 
spends time in a boat for any pur- 
pose will find the eight hour course 
time well spent. Check the website 
or call your nearest LDWF region 
office for class dates and locations. 

Half of those who die in boating 
accidents are not simply recreation- 
al boat riding or water skiing. So 
those who "only" use a boat to get 
to the hunting or fishing spot and 
back should reconsider the need for 
training and precautions. Eighty-five 
percent of those involved in boating 
accidents who are wearing a per- 
sonal floatation device (PFD) or life 
jacket survive. 

Several of the boating accidents, 
fatal and otherwise, in Louisiana 
during the past year occurred at 
night. If a nighttime boat ride is 
planned, be sure to have a working 
spotlight, running lights and PFDs. 
Nighttime boating should only be 
attempted by an operator who is 
very familiar with the waterway. 

Remember these tips: Take good 
care of the boat. Know the environ- 
ment and how it is affected by 
weather, tide and any other factors. 
Stay sober and alert. Wear a PFD 
anytime the boat is moving. Boat 
smart, boat sober, and keep the 
odds in your favor. 



Svecies Profile 



Falcate Orangetip 

Anthocharis midea 



With a wingspan just over 
an inch, the falcate 
orangetip is a small but- 
terfly typically seen only briefly in 
the early spring. Both sexes have a 
falcate, or hooked forewing, with a 
black dot in the middle and a solid- 
ly marbled hind wing. 
However, the tip of the 
male's forewing is 
orange bordered by 
black, and the female's 
is usually white. 

Falcate orangetips 
are found from 
Massachusetts and 
Connecticut west to 
southern Wisconsin 
and Missouri and 
south to coastal 
Georgia, the northern 
portions of the Gulf 
states and central 
Texas. These little 
butterflies require 
trees nearby and often 
occur in open decidu- 
ous woodlands, pine 
barrens and low-lying 
young woods near 
streams or swamps. 

For many butterfly 
watchers, spotting a 
falcate orangetip sig- 
nals the arrival of 
spring. In Louisiana, 
the species normally 
appears only in early 
to mid-April and only in upland 
oak-hickory forests, such as those in 
the central and northern portions of 
the state. 

Like most butterflies, falcate 
orangetips experience a four-stage 
life cycle. In the spring, females 



deposit orange, conical eggs, usual- 
ly one per host plant. The eggs 
hatch as yellowish-green larvae 
which feed on the host flower and 
develop into blue-green caterpillars 
with lateral white stripes. As they 
reach the end of their larval phase, 




Photo 



the caterpillars change from green 
to brown and must find a place to 
pupate, usually on twigs or the 
branches of small trees. Once situ- 
ated, the caterpillars weave silken 
threads to attach themselves to the 
trees. These encasements, called 



chrysalises, are elongated cone-like 
extensions that resemble thorns. 
Adult butterflies emerge from this 
form the following year. Amazingly, 
falcate orangetips can delay emer- 
gence until conditions are just right 
(even up to two years), an adapta- 
tion with which helps 
them survive dry 
springs. 

The genus name of 
the falcate orangetip is 
derived from the Greek 
antlio, "flower," and 
charts, "favor," mean- 
ing "flower loving." 
As this name suggests, 
falcate orangetips favor 
small, white-flowered 
plants as nectar 
sources. Depending on 
abundance in the area, 
hairy bitter cress, win- 
ter cress and pepper- 
grass are commonly 
visited. 

In 1991, Gary Noel 
Ross, frequent contrib- 
utor to Louisiana 
Conservationist, discov- 
ered a colony of falcate 
orangetips on the che- 
niers in Cameron 
Parish. The colony's 
surprising presence is 
linked to the cattle pas- 
tures and robust 
by Gary Noel Ross Pennsylvania bitter 
cress plants which sprout from hoof 
prints there. Falcate orangetip but- 
terflies have also been sighted in 
Acadia, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, 
Jackson, Lincoln, Livingston, 
Natchitoches, Webster and West 
Feliciana parishes. 

March/April 2004 31 



CONSERVATION 

note* 



AMERICAN PEREGRINE 
FALCON MONITORING PLAN 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
issued its monitoring plan for the 
American peregrine falcon in the 
continental United States. The bird 
was removed from the Federal list 
of threatened and endangered 
species in 1999, and the monitoring 
plan is designed to make sure that 
American peregrine falcons contin- 
ue to thrive without the protection 
of the Endangered Species Act. 

WADDILL REFUGE POND 
RENOVATION PROJECT 

The two 1-1/2-acre ponds at 
LDWF's Waddill Refuge on Flannery 
Road in Baton Rouge are currently 
undergoing renovations in order to 
improve fishing success for the 
numerous visitors who frequent this 
refuge. Fishing success had 
dropped off in recent years due to 
an imbalance in fish populations in 
both ponds. 



The pond, traditionally used for 
National Hunting and Fishing Day 
activities, will be refilled, treated 
with gypsum to clarify the water and 
restocked with channel catfish in 
February. The second pond will be 
stocked with bluegill sunfish and 
largemouth bass after renovations 
are made to allow for more spawn- 
ing areas in this pond. 

LDWF EMPLOYEES HONORED 

Recipients of LDWF 2003 Employee 
Recognition Awards received their 
honors at the December meeting of 
the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries 
Commission. 

This year's Secretary Awards 
went to Janis Landry and Cathy 
Greeson. Customer Service Award 
winners were Deborah Thornton, 
Chris Broussard, Rashita Williams, 
Cindy Harris Kemp, Patricia 
Faulkner, Vince Cefalu and Kristi 
Butler. 

Special Achievement by a Team 
recognition went to Joel Courtney 
and Thomas Gresham; Captain 
Brian Clark, Sergeants Scott Keller, 
Stephen McManus and Bryan Marie 
and Senior Agent Kris Bourgeois; 
James Brooks (deceased), Todd 
Buffington, Jimmy Butcher, Don 
Carpenter, R. Marty Edmunds, 
Jonathan Glasscock, Jeffry 
Johnson, M. Leslie Johnson, N. 
Richard McMullan, Danny Timmer 



and Larry Waldron; and Gil Blalock, 
Tracy Cloud, Scott Delaney and 
Jackie Wise. 

Top honors of the day went to 
Employee of the Year Award winners 
Mary Hebert and Elaine Moore in the 
Administrative Support category, 
and Tammy Calix, Tim Morrison, 
Guthrie Perry and Senior Agent 
Jerry Stassi of Enforcement in the 
Professional category. 



LWFC SALUTES 
LONG-TIME EMPLOYEE 

At their December meeting, the 
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries 
Commission recognized Paul 
Dwight Brasseaux as the employee 
with the longest recorded tenure 
with the state. Brasseaux began 
his career at LDWF on January 1, 
1953, as a Refuge Warden and Boat 
Operator on State Wildlife Refuge. 
In 1975, he was transferred to the 
New Iberia office as a Wildlife 
Specialist. From 1985 through 
1987, he was instrumental in 
restocking the pelican population at 
North Island and Raccoon Island. 
Though he has seen many changes 
in the department and the state as a 
whole, he has remained a constant. 
Brasseaux retired from the depart- 
ment on January 5, 2004. His ded- 
ication and hard work are com- 
mended. 



; '%s 




32 Louisiana Conservationist 



CHANGES TO LWFC 

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries 
Commission elected new officers at 
their December meeting. Bill 
Busbice Jr. was elected to succeed 
Chairman Terry Denmon and 
Wayne Sagrera was elected to 
succeed Vice-Chairman Lee 
Felterman. 

The commission's final meeting 
of 2003 also saw two members 
complete their terms. Lee 

Felterman, exiting Vice-Chairman, 
and Thomas Kelly bid farewell to 
the commission. 

Billy Broussard was introduced 
as the newest member of the com- 
mission at the January meeting. 
Broussard will fill the vacancy cre- 
ated when Thomas Kelly complet- 
ed his term. Other vacancies will 
be filled by appointment from the 
new gubernatorial administration. 



NEW REEF SITE 

Continuing the cooperative effort 
by LDWF and the Lake 
Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to 
construct artificial reefs in Lake 
Pontchartrain, 80 concrete reef 
balls were dropped into the lake on 
January 14. The 1400-pound con- 
crete balls will help promote fishing 
opportunities in the lake. 

The balls are specially designed 
to promote fishery habitat forma- 
tion. They are dome-shaped hollow 
cement structures with large holes 
to allow water to flow through them. 
For more information, contact Rick 
Kasprzak at 225/765-2375. 



2004 LCM CALENDARS 
STILL AVAILABLE 

LDWF's library offers a wide variety 
of posters, books and subscrip- 
tions to the award-winning maga- 
zine that will make any Louisiana 
sportsman happy. They are also 
great ideas for family and friends 
outside of the state. 

The 2004 edition of the Louisiana 
Conservationist calendar, now 
available for $8, pays tribute to the 



many programs maintained by the 
department and highlights many of 
the state's outdoor opportunities. 

LDWF's Library is open Monday 
through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. until 
4:30 p.m. The library is located 
inside LDWF Headquarters at 2000 
Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. It can 
also be reached at 225/765-2934. 

IMPROVEMENTS TO 
TURKEY POPULATION 

A joint effort between LDWF and 
Cleco Corporation will enhance the 
wild turkey population on the West 
Bay Wildlife Management Area and 
help improve maintenance on 
power line rights of way. Food plots 
will be planted along the corridors 
that contain power lines in the WMA 
that will help feed baby turkeys and 
reduce plant and tree overgrowth 
around the lines. 

"The future of wildlife population 
is dependent on the survival of its 
young. This project offers both 
cover and food for the baby turkeys, 
helping to ensure viability of a 
brood," offered LDWF biologist 
Wendell Smit. For more informa- 
tion, contact Tommy Prickett at 
225/765-2348 

NEW WATERFOWL 
PROJECT ANNOUNCED 

LDWF announced the opening of a 
new waterfowl project in the lower 
Atchafalaya Basin, the first water- 
fowl impoundment on Attakapas 
Wildlife Management Area. It is 
located near the end of Crew Boat 
Chute, adjacent to the Atchafalaya 
River, about seven miles northeast 
of Franklin. 

Major contributors to this proj- 
ect, which converted an area of low 
productivity into a highly productive 
waterfowl management unit, are 
LDWF, Hunt Oil Company, Ducks 
Unlimited and the Atchafalaya 
Basin Program within the 
Department of Natural Resources. 

Hunters may hunt the area under 
the same regulations as the remain- 
der of Attakapas WMA. Call Patrick 
Deshotels for further information, 
337/948-0255. 



14. 
15. 



STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT 
AND CIRCULATION 

(Required by 39 U.S.C. 3685) 
Publication title: Louisiana Conservationist 
Publication No.: USPS #320-300 
Filing date: 11/1/03 
Issue frequency: bi-monthly 
No. of issues published annually: 6 
Annual subscription rate: $12 

7. Complete mailing address of known office of 
publication: 2000 Quail Dr.. Baton Rouge, LA 
70808. 

8. Complete mailing address of headquarters of 
general business officer of publisher: 2000 Quail 
Dr.. Baton Rouge, LA 70808. 

9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of 
publisher, editor and managing editor: Publisher, 
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 
2000 Quail Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808: Editor, 
Janice Collins, 2000 Quail Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 
70808: Managing Editor, Marianne Marsh Burke, 
2000 Quail Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70808. 

10. Owner: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and 
Fisheries (nonprofit) 2000 Quail Dr., Baton Rouge, 
LA 70808; mailing address, P.O. Box 98000, 
Baton Rouge, LA 70898; no stockholders. 

11. Known bondholders, mortgagees and other 
security holders owning or holding 1 percent or 
more of total amount of bonds, mortgages or 
other securities: none. 

12. For completion by nonprofit organizations 
authorized to mail at special rates. The purpose, 
function and nonprofit status of this organization 
and the exempt status for federal income tax pur- 
poses: has not changed during the preceding 12 
months. 

13. Publication name: Louisiana Conservationist 
Issue date for circulation data below: 1 1/1/03 
Extent and nature of circulation: 
Average number copies each issue during 
preceding 12 months: 

A. Total no. copies (net press run): 24,500 

B. Paid and/or requested circulation: 

1 . Sales through dealers and carrier, 
street vendors and counter sales 
(not mailed): none 

2. Paid or requested mail subscriptions 
(include advertisers proof 
copies/exchange copies): 24,500 

C. Total paid and/or requested circulation (sum 
of 75b- 7 and 1Sb-2): 24,500 

D. Free distribution by mail (samples, 
complimentary and other free): none 

E. Free distribution outside the mail (carriers or 
other means): none 

F. Total free distribution (sum of 15d and 15e): 
none 

G. Total distribution (sum of 15c and 15f): 
23,980 

H. Copies not distributed: 

1. Office use, leftovers, spoiled: 1,000 

2. Return from news agents: none 
I. Total (sum of 15g, 15h-1 and 15h-2): 24,500 

Percent paid and/or requested 

circulation: 100 
Actual no. copies of single issue published 
nearest to filing date: 

A. Total no. copies (net press run): 24,500 
Paid and/or requested circulation: 

1 . Sales through dealers and carrier, 
street vendors and counter sales 
(not mailed): none 

2. Paid or requested mail subscriptions 
(include advertisers proof copies/ 
exchange copies): 23,980 

Total paid and/or requested circulation (sum 
of 1 Sb-1 and 1 'Sb-2): 23,980 
Free distribution by mail (samples, 
complimentary and other free): none 
Free distribution outside the mail (carriers or 
other means): none 

Total free distribution (sum of 15d and 15e): 
none 

Total distribution (sum of 15c and 15f): 

23,980 

Copies not distributed: 

1. Office use, leftovers, spoiled: 1,000 

2. Return from news agents: none 
Total (sum of 15g, 15h-1 and 15h-2): 24,500 

Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 100 

16. This statement of ownership will be printed in 
the Nov/Dec 2003 issue of this publication. 

17. Signature and title of editor: Janice Collins, 
Editor 

I certify that all information furnished on this form 
is true and complete. I understand that anyone 
who furnishes false or misleading information on 
this form or who omits material or information 
requested on the form may be subject to criminal 
sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) 
and/or civil sanctions (including multiple damages 
and civil penalties). 



B. 



H. 



I. 



March /April 2004 33 



Aloii'j the Way . . . 

The Big BaSS By Pete Cooper Jr. 



Back when only Louisiana 
strain bass inhabited 
Louisiana waters, my father 
promised that he'd mount the first 
one I caught weighing five pounds 
or more. But even the best of inten- 
tions can go awry. 

From age 12 to the time I started 
LSU, I caught a lot of bass. At first 
they came from the bayou that par- 
allels Kings Highway near my home 
in Shreveport. Later my parents 
allowed me to fish Myer's Lake 
across the levee, a remote set of 
ancient Red River channels. Once I 
got my driver's license, I began to 
explore more distant places like 
Wallace Lake, Bistineau and Bayou 
Dorcheat. Three-pounders became 
fairly common, but I can't recall 
even hooking one of mounting size. 

During my senior year in high 
school my friend Scott introduced 
me to a lure that has become a life- 
long favorite. It was created by bit- 
ing about a half-inch off the head of 
a six-inch purple plastic worm and 
threading it onto the single hook of a 
#1 Barracuda Spoon. A slow, steady 
retrieve made it wiggle like a little 
snake. My first four-pounder fell to it 
that spring. 

While returning to Baton Rouge 
after the Easter holidays of my 
sophomore year at LSU, and always 
traveling with at least a casting rod, 
a friend and I decided to make a few 
casts in a bar-pit alongside the old 
highway in the West Atchafalaya 
Floodway. While walking along the 
pit's bank, we quickly caught three 
nice largemouths. Upon exploring 
the area, we discovered Two 
O'Clock Bayou and the bar-pits that 
surrounded much of it. 

Back then, Two O'Clock was 
almost wild, and only small boats 
with small outboards or paddles 
could access it, so few people 
fished there. 

Created from excavations of dirt 
34 Louisiana Conservationist 



needed to form the base of US 190, 
most of the pits were small. Some 
were deep, but they were all full of 
bass. 

My friend and I rented a wooden 
skiff from the camp on the east side 
of the bayou, paddled south 
beneath the old highway and finally 
entered a pit just to the west of the 
bayou. There, my companion 
caught the biggest spotted bass I 
had ever seen: 4 3/4 pounds on 
commercial fish-house scales in 
Krotz Springs. We later discovered it 
was awfully close to being the 
largest spot ever caught in 
Louisiana, but at the time we didn't 
know that and ate it. 

Friends and I later fished the 
bayou and its bar-pits from my 11 - 
foot duck-boat. One of them was 
Scott, and it came to pass that on 
March 9, 1967, he rang my phone, 
claiming he had a surprise for me. 

I was a senior by then, sharing an 
apartment with Allain, a long-time 
hunting and fishing buddy. I had 
also met my future wife Barbara and 
to top it off, I was doing relatively 
well with the books, though not well 
enough to make up for a poor 
beginning in my parents' eyes. 
Therefore I did not discuss my hunt- 
ing and fishing activities with them. 

When Scott arrived at the apart- 
ment, he opened the trunk of his car 
and proudly revealed a Wizard out- 
board motor, circa 1950 and some- 
thing less than 10 horsepower. It 
cost him 20 dollars. Deciding to skip 
my one-thirty class, I gathered my 
fishing tackle and off we went 
toward Two O'Clock Bayou. 

Our destination was the big north 
pit, its eastern end pocked with 
small, willow-clad islands. We rent- 
ed a skiff, fired up the outboard and 
putt-putted our way up the bayou to 
the pit. We began to work the edges 
of the little islands, me with the 
BS&W. I caught the first fish, a year- 



ling. Scott got the next one, a three- 
pounder, and later, having cast at a 
cluster of submerged willows at the 
edge of one of those islands, I got 
the big one.. 

For the rest of that 
afternoon-and for the only time I can 
remember-l lost interest in fishing, 
spending most of the time simply 
gawking at that great bass. That 
evening at the same commercial 
fish-house in Krotz Springs where 
the big spot had been weighed, we 
discovered it weighed six pounds 
even-one for the wall. 

But how could I tell my father 
that I caught it when I was supposed 
to have been in class? Even if I fab- 
ricated a tale, he would eventually 
find out the truth (as parents do). 

Back at the apartment, I put the 
fish in the fridge, cleaned up, then I 
picked up Barbara for the weekly 
bridge game, arriving back at the 
apartment to find Allain and his date. 

At that time he owned one of the 
original Polaroid cameras, and I had 
been thinking that since the fish 
would not be mounted, I might at 
least get some pictures of it. 
Unfortunately, the camera was with 
his parents. Not willing to give up, I 
recalled that sometimes Baton 
Rouge's "Morning Advocate" would 
run a picture of a noteworthy catch. 
I wrapped my fish in newspaper, and 
Barbara and I got into the car and 
headed to the newspaper office. 

Two blocks from the apartment 
another student ran his car through 
a yield sign and hit mine, smashing 
the radiator and the fan. 

I took the bass from the car just 
before the wrecker towed it away. 
The investigating police officer was 
quite sympathetic and, after seeing 
the fish, noted what a really nice one 
it was-definitely newsworthy. Then 
Barb and I walked back to the apart- 
ment where I cleaned the fish and 
we subsequently ate it-no mount, 
no picture, only the memory of the 
way it all happened. 

I would shortly earn my degree, 
get a good job in the oil field, marry, 
and become the father of my par- 
ents' first grandchild. But ten years 
passed before I told them about the 
big bass. 




THE LOUISIANA KITCHEN 

Banana Cheesecake with 
Caramel Sauce and Walnuts 

1 c. reduced fat vanilla wafer crumbs 

2 Tbsp. margarine, melted 

2 (8 oz.) pkgs reduced-fat cream 
cheese, softened 

1 c. sugar 

2 Tbsp. cornstarch 
2 eggs 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 



egg white 

1/2 c. mashed bananas 

c. fat-free sour cream 

Tbsp. lemon juice 

tsp. vanilla extract 

tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, toasted 
2 bananas, sliced 
1 (12.25-ounce) jar caramel 
topping, warmed 



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch 
springform pan with nonstick cooking 
spray. In a small bowl, mix vanilla 
wafer crumbs and margarine and pat 
the mixture into the bottom and up the 
sides of the prepared springform pan. 

In another mixing bowl, beat cream 
cheese, sugar and cornstarch until 
creamy. Add the eggs and egg white, 
one at a time, beating after each addition 
just until blended. Add the mashed 
bananas, sour cream, lemon juice, vanil- 
la and cinnamon, mixing until com- 
bined. Transfer the filling to the crust- 
lined springform pan. Bake for 1 hour, 
or until the center of the cake is just 
about set. Remove from the oven and 
transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool 
completely at room temperature. 
Refrigerate until well chilled. To serve, 
top the cheesecake with the walnuts and 
sliced bananas and drizzle with the 
caramel sauce. Makes 10 to 12 servings. 

Wild Rice Fruit Pilaf 

1 Tbsp. margarine 
1/2 c. chopped onion 
6 cups canned beef broth 
1 1/4 c. wild rice 




:leQ9 




Great 

Menu 5 



Photo by David Humphreys 



1 1/4 c. brown rice 

1 c. dried cranberries, cherries, 

or a mixture 
1/4 c. sherry 
1 c. sliced green onions 
1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley 
1/3 c. walnut halves, toasted 
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

In a large pot over medium heat, melt 
the margarine. Add the onion and cook, 
stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. 
Add the beef broth, wild rice and brown 
rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the 
heat, cover and simmer until the rice is 
tender, 45 to 60 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the 
dried fruit and sherry, let sit for 10 min- 
utes and drain the fruit. When the rice is 
done, stir in the reserved fruit, green 
onions, parsley, walnuts, thyme, salt and 
pepper. Makes 10 to 12 servings. 



Shrimp Chipotle Cups 

3 doz. won ton wrappers 

1 1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat 

Monterey Jack cheese 
1 c. cooked, peeled and coarsely 

chopped shrimp 
1 c. chopped roasted red peppers, 

drained 
1 c. chipotle salsa 
1/2 c. sliced green onions 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a mini 
muffin pan with nonstick cooking 
spray, and press a won ton wrapper 
into each cup. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or 
until golden brown. 

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the 
cheese, shrimp, roasted red peppers, 
salsa and green onions. Remove the 
cooked won tons, fill each with some of 
the shrimp mixture, and continue bak- 
ing 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is 
melted. Makes 36 cups. 

Recipes from Holly Clegg's 

Trim & Terrific: Entertaining the Easy Way . 

uiww.hollyclegg.com 



gMMM 






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