News & Resolutions

Update on Fishing, Hunting, Atchafalaya Bills in 2014 Legislature

April 29, 2014 2:30 PM

LWF is actively following several bills of interest to our members and has commented where noted. You may want to contact your legislators to express your opinion. Join the Louisiana Camouflage Coalition for a free and easy way to express your opinion to decision makers about issues important to hunters and anglers. 

LWF Supports: HB 1082 (Bishop) Imposes an additional fee on the sale of saltwater fishing licenses and dedicates the revenues to dockside surveys, reporting and analysis. It was amended in committee to include a sunset measure in 4 years.  LWF supports this bill and the increased fees are expected to have an impact on data that would include assessment of recreational take of red snapper, for example.

Here are more details on a selection of bills related to hunting, fishing, license fees, and the Atchafalaya Basin:

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

HB 140 (Montoucet) became HB 1072 to reduce hunting and fishing license fees for Louisiana residents who are retired from the U.S. Armed Forces.  This would be a $5 license for retired military members who are bona fide residents or native born.  A minimum $5 fee still allows for LDWF to receive federal matching funds, thereby meeting the federal trigger to get federal funds for licenses sold. It should be noted that the Department must show a minimum profit from hunting and fishing license fees to receive federal matching funds so eliminating fees has negative impact on revenue for the Department.  Louisiana currently has some of the lowest fees in the nation.

HB 312 (Thompson) Allows all honorably discharged vets to have a reduced fee license.  It would have cost LDWF $1M annually.  Thompson voluntarily deferred the bill, but requested that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries extend deer season for veterans by one week for a free weekend.  They are in the process of doing that through Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission action.

HB 1071 (Chaney) Reduces the time required to qualify as a resident for hunting and fishing licenses from 12 months to 6 months.

HB 344 (Armes) Reduces hunting and fishing license fees paid by surviving spouses of members of the military killed in action.

Managing Feral Hog Impact

Please see LWF’s statement on control methods for feral hogs.

HB 353 (Burford) Allows year-round day or night hunting of hogs on private property.  This bill passed the House but was deferred in the Senate Natural Resources Committee,  so it will likely not pass this year.  LWF opposed similar bills in 2012 and 2013 and is opposing this year’s bill, though we understand why farmers are concerned about crop damage from feral hogs. LWF is opposed to making night hunting legal between September and February due to negative impacts on other game hunting, increased difficulty in enforcement and the unintended consequence of encouraging illegal hunting. In addition to considering the rights of private property owners, there is the right of the public to protect a public resource.  Wild game animals are a public resource. Other hunters have the right to preserve that resource from being disturbed at night or illegally hunted under the guise of taking outlaw quadrupeds. We encourage the permitting process the Department uses to permit taking of feral hogs at night during deer season. Secretary Barham pledged to make the permitting process as efficient for landowners.

SB 660 (Morrish) Allows for the hunting of outlaw quadrupeds from a helicopter.  LWF would support allowing aerial shooting of feral hogs where that is best solution (low brush, coastal areas) but we are urging the Legislature to amend the bill to allow the LW&F Commission to set regulations and give LDWF time to pull together a program after reviewing what Texas does and adapting it better for Louisiana. This also allows for a public comment period.

HB 958 (Talbot) Proposes to ban the live transportation of feral hogs.  LWF supports a ban because moving feral hogs to new locations is a significant contributor to the spread and proliferation of feral hogs.  This will likely not be brought to a committee vote.

Fishing/Hunting

HB 416 (Lambert) Assigns to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission management responsibility for sustainability of freshwater and saltwater fisheries. 

SB 662 (Erdey) Prohibits the taking of game birds and wild quadrupeds from, with or upon a moving land vehicle or aircraft.  LWF commented against the original intent to allow hunting from a moving vehicle on private property as it is not upholding “fair chase” of game and encourages illegal hunting. The bill was amended in Committee to remove that language so basically, the law remains the same: no hunting allowed from a moving vehicle.

Atchafalaya Basin

HCR 13 (St. Germain) Presents the 2014-2015 Atchafalaya Basin Plan for approval and so far has moved through the House of Representatives and Senate Committees.

SB 236 (Gallot) Proposes a constitutional amendment to remove the “trigger” and instead start on July 1, 2015, the new maximum allocation of certain severance taxes to parish in which severance occurs and the distribution to the Atchafalaya Basin Conservation Fund of a certain amount of revenues received from severance taxes and royalties on state lands in the Basin. This passed out of the first Senate Committee with testimony from a few parish officials about the impacts they bear from oil and gas extraction and maintaining infrastructure and discussion. The proposed change would bring more of the severance fee funding to Basin parishes and less to parishes outside of the Basin where it is spread out a bit. It also would trigger a larger amount of funding toward the Atchafalaya Basin Program. This bill was put on hold on April 7 in Senate Appropriations Committee – until discussions on the budget are worked out.  FYI – the current trigger negotiated some years ago has not been reached in any year thus far. 


 
 
 
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