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LA: Wildlife Agents on the lookout for wayward hunters

October 21, 2010

Wildlife Agents on the lookout for wayward hunters

Deridder, La. - Deer season is in full swing, and a few hunters have been dumping animal parts in the city and parish limits.

Last weekend two small deer heads were dumped on Lumas Road, and an evicerated deer carcass with the antlers broken off was dumped on the future site of First Baptist Church on U.S. Hwy. 171 in DeRidder.

Dumping animal carcasses is considered gross littering, and results in fines and community service if caught.

"This is not the proper way to dispose of an animal carcass," said Wendel Vaughn, a Senior Agent with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Vaughn has been working in Beauregard Parish seven years.

"The proper way to dispose of a carcass is to bury it on private property where scavengers can't get to it," said Vaughn. "This is a big problem."

While the majority of hunters are responsible and follow the tenets of 'A Hunter's Pledge,' Vaughn said there are always a few bad apples.

"Another ethics issue is litter in general," said Vaughn. "Hunters bring food and drink containers, and shotgun shells, and leave them in the woods. It takes forever for plastic to biodegrade. This is a major issue."

Vaughn said there have been three serious hunting incidents in Beauregard Parish in the past two years.

One hunter shot himself while getting a loaded firearm out of his vehicle that discharged. Two other hunters shot each other when a deer passed between them

Vaughn said following safety regulations, such as never loading a firearm until it is time to use it, will prevent such incidents.

"Wearing Hunter Orange is a good practice even when it's not required," said Vaughn. "A hunter should wear it anytime they are in the woods with a firearm."

Another good practice is to know what is beyond the target.

"Know your hunting grounds," said Vaughn. "Scout an area before you hunt it. If you don't know what is there, don't take the shot. There may be a deer stand nearby. Hunters can get tunnel vision when they see a deer."

Vaughn said hunters need to keep the tagging system in mind, and remember a deer or turkey need to have the proper tags.

A hunter has to have tags on a deer for either meat processing, or to go to a taxidermist.

Vaughn said there are additional game possession tags printed in the hunting regulations booklet if needed.

"This time of year I focus on three things," said Vaughn, "Hunter Orange, hunting licenses, and night hunting.

"There is no tolerance from the state due to injuries if someone is not wearing Hunter Orange," said Vaughn, "and the fines will escalate."

Hunting is illegal 30 minutes after legal sunset.

Legislation approved in August allows hog, beaver, coyote, and nutria to be hunted at night between the last day of February and Aug. 31 on private land only.

The only firearms allowed are a shotgun, with 10 gauge or smaller buckshot, or a standard rimfire 22 rifle, not a centerfire rifle.

If someone is hunting on a lease, they need written permission from the landowner on their person if questioned by a wildlife agent.

Poaching is killing an animal illegally, and shooting from a vehicle is considered poaching.

Vaughn said hunting regulations change every year, and hunters are responsible for knowing the changes.

Game violations can be reported to Operation Game Thief by calling 1-800-442-2511, open 24 hours.

A caller remains anonymous and if a tip results in a citation or arrest, there is a reward.

For more information pick up a current copy of Louisiana Hunting Regulations 2010-2011, or visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov .

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