[StBernard] Anglers, hunters, boaters face a slew of new rules

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Aug 18 09:39:39 EDT 2008

Anglers, hunters, boaters face a slew of new rules

Capitol Correspondent

Published: Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.

BATON ROUGE - New laws took effect Friday and many of them are directed at
outdoor activities, from when to wear hunter orange to where a personal
watercraft can be driven to how saltwater species should be studied.

The laws were adopted by the Legislature earlier this year.

Act 26 by Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine, requires all hunters
possessing certain firearms to wear hunter orange during deer season.

Hunters have long had to wear at least 400 inches of hunter orange on their
head, chest and back, but the new law brings in gun owners that were
previously overlooked.

Specifically, if you're carrying a gun that fires buckshot or slugs, a
muzzleloader or a centerfire rifle during deer season, you now have to
follow the same hunter-orange rules as everyone else.

Act 46 by Sen. Reggie Dupre, D-Bourg, allows military personnel and certain
certified law-enforcement officers to file for firearm and hunter-education
exemptions at a number of offices around the state rather than only at the
main office building of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in Baton

As for boaters, St. Germain, vice chairwoman of the House Natural Resources
Committee, pushed through two noteworthy laws.

Act 34 requires operators of personal watercraft, such as jet skis, to
follow the same waterskiing laws as a person who is driving a boat.

That means there must be at least two competent people occupying the
watercraft if it is towing a person on water skis, a surfboard or similar

The personal watercraft must likewise be equipped with a wide-angle convex
marine rearview mirror of at least 7 inches by 14 inches, placed in a
position to observe the skiers being towed.

Act 35 now requires motorboats, both recreational and commercial, that were
once required only to be documented by the U.S. Bureau of Customs to also be
registered for numbers with the state.

There are new fishing regulations as well. Act 16 by Rep. Jonathan W. Perry,
R-Abbeville, makes corrections to the nighttime shrimping line laws. More
than anything else, it's an effort clean up the law and make it more

The previous law prohibited nighttime taking of shrimp in certain coastal
waters, except at Southwest Pass at Marsh Island past a line delineated in
the law by the presence of a channel marker.

Now the line is based on latitude and longitude measurements.

Act 92 by Rep. Nita Hutter, R-Chalmette, changes when and how oysters can be
pulled from public seed grounds.

Prior law authorized public reefs to be fished each year starting the first
Wednesday after Labor Day through April 1 of the next year.

The new law retains the Wednesday after Labor Day as the start date but
changes the end date to April 30.

Studying saltwater fish is the goal of Act 38 by Dupre. It requires biennial
stock-assessment reports on black drum, sheepshead, flounder and other

Previous law required the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, which is
charged with overseeing natural-resource issues including hunting and
fishing, to make annual reports to the Legislature no later than March 1 of
each year on these fisheries. The reports contain a spawning-potential ratio
and the biological condition and profile of the species and stock

Dupre said a once-a-year report isn't needed for the thriving species, which
is why his law changes the requirement to every two years.

To view all the new statutes, go to www.legis.state.la.us and click on "2008
Regular Session Information." Once on the next page, scroll down and click
on "Effective Dates of Acts."

Jeremy Alford can be reached at jeremy at jeremyalford.com.

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