Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Barataria man for alleged night hunting violations in Jefferson Parish on Dec. 13.
Agents cited Noel J. Schouest, 42, of Barataria, for hunting wild game quadrupeds during illegal hours, hunting raccoons illegally, taking non-game quadrupeds illegally, and violating Nutria Control Program regulations.
LDWF agents were on vessel patrol in the Lafitte area when they heard gunshots coming from a marsh area adjacent to The Pen at 8:30 p.m. They began surveillance of the area for several hours throughout the night until they observed Schouest exit the marsh and proceed to a pickup truck.
Agents approached Schouest and found him in possession of a .22 caliber rifle, two rabbits, one raccoon and 83 nutria tails. Rabbits may only be taken during legal shooting hours of one half hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset. Raccoons can be taken at night with the aid of a hunting dog of which Schouest did not possess.
After further investigation, agents found that Schouest was enrolled as an assistant in the Nutria Control Program, which pays landowners for nutria taken legally on permitted property. Schouest was found hunting without the Nutria Control Program enrollee and illegally took the nutria after legal shooting hours.
Agents seized the animals and parts as evidence along with his rifle, which is subject to forfeiture.
Hunting wild game quadrupeds and taking raccoons illegally each carry a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Taking non-game quadrupeds illegally brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Violating Nutria Control Program regulations carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail with possible disqualification from the Nutria Control Program. Furthermore, restitution penalties may be assessed for the value of the rabbits and raccoon taken for a total of $91.17.
The agents involved in the case are Sgt. Jason Russo, Senior Agent Austin Arteaga and Sgt. Kris Bourgeois.
Logo courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries