Groups seek answers about La. birds

Coastal anglers are resting easy after chalking up the first big springtime speckled trout catches, and folks are getting ready for Friday’s opening of the Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo and Saturday’s summer-long run through the S.T.A.R.

So, attention can be shifted to birds, both the state’s largest and a species among the smaller in the coastal parishes.

Enforcement agents from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are seeking information on the person or persons responsible for the fatal shooting of a whooping crane found last week in Red River Parish.

Louisiana’s Operation Game Thief, the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Foundation and the USFWS have pooled funds and are offering a $3,000 reward for “information about this illegal shooting that leads to an arrest,” and ask anyone with that information to call (800) 442-2511.

LDWF agents said they found the crane Thursday on the bank of the Red River northwest of Loggy Bayou.

A necropsy showed the bird was shot with a 6.5 mm bullet.

The crane was fitted with a GPS tracking collar and was part of a joint state-federal program to reintroduce the species to its native range. This hen was part of the March 14, 2011, release of cranes into the White Lake Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish

The program has released 40 whooping cranes since that initial re-stocking and is tracking 25 of those 40. Two other cranes were shot, then found dead in late 2011 in Jefferson David Parish.

Meanwhile, LSU AgCenter researchers Sabrina Taylor and Philip Stouffer are studying the seaside sparrow to determine how it and other coastal birds have, or have not, come through the three years since oil from the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster invaded Louisiana’s marshes.

The LSU AgCenter reported the researchers are studying the species because, Stouffer said, it lives only in the band of salt marshes along the Gulf Coast.

“They seem to be less successful in nesting in the contaminated marsh,” Stouffer said, adding that the research team is examining the birds and looking for a gene, Cytochrome P415, that generates a protein that’s involved in metabolizing a toxic hydrocarbons found in crude oil.

He said the gene is a detoxifier and is found in fish, mammals and birds.

Taylor said the sparrows are important because they don’t swim nor dive and exposure to oil would have to come from shoreline contact or from eating insects and other food exposed to oil or with oil in their systems.

M-S reauthorization

The U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs begins the process Tuesday for the reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

This initial hearing is set to convene at 9:30 a.m. in the Longworth House building in Washington. D.C.

The subcommittee will hear issues concerning data collection related to Magnuson-Stevens.

Several recreation-based groups and the Saving Seafood Alliance have promised to send scientists to refute numbers federal fishery managers have used to continually restrict recreational and commercial access to what an increasing number of biologists believe are species that have recovered and no longer should be considered to be “overfished,” there by no longer protected species.

Bundick drawdown

The LDWF has set a public hearing during the June 4 monthly meeting of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury in DeRidder to take comments and answer questions about a planned post-Labor Day drawdown of Bundick Lake in Beauregard Parish.

The LDWF said the drawdown will allow state and local agencies to perform maintenance work and repairs “on public infrastructure around the lake. The drawdown will also allow lake residents and property owners to conduct shoreline property maintenance.”

The lake will not be closed to fishing during the drawdown.

Fish for Millions

Cabela’s selected four Louisiana lakes and six in Texas for its Fish for Millions contest.

Specially tagged fish of different species have been released into Lake Cataouatche, Chicot Lake, Toledo Bend and Lake D’Arbonne, and lakes Fork, Ray Roberts, Eagle Mountain, Decker, Calaveras and Lewisville in Texas. Lakes in 20 others states are in the contest.

One fish is worth $1 million, which could get to $2 million if the angler uses the Cabela’s app or downloaded Cabela’s Fish Recon.

You must register before you fish. Go to website: