State Wildlife and Fisheries’ Enforcement Division agent Sgt. Scott Bullitt was shot during a stop in Monroe to investigate a possible DWI violation.

A year later, Bullitt is paralyzed from the waist down and is in rehab, and his friends and fellow agents, members of the Louisiana Game Wardens Association, are raffling a 16-foot Sea Ark boat rigged with a 37-horsepower Gator Tail engine on a custom trailer to help Bullitt and his family with expenses that have soared far above group medical insurance coverage.

The drawing is set for Friday at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ office in Opelousas.

Tickets are $20, and Henry Mouton has offered to collect donations and submit names into the raffle. Checks can be made out to the La. Game Wardens Association’s Sgt. Bullitt benefit and sent to Mouton at P.O. Box 53972. To reach Mouton, call (337) 280-2616.

Closures June 1

With the federal red snapper season opening Wednesday for recreational fishermen — the federally managed red snapper season will run for nine days — anglers also must remember federal managers are closing down the recreational fishing take of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in federal waters. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has followed suit to close amberjack and gray triggerfish seasons in state waters.

The closure on the latter two species will run through July 31.

LDWF fisheries managers said the recreational season on red snapper will remain open in state waters out to nine miles off the Louisiana coast, beyond the nine-day federal red snapper season.

That advisory comes with a note that the LDWF requires offshore fishermen to have the state’s Recreational Offshore Landing Permit “in order to possess certain species, including red snapper,” and the scope of the ROLP extends to possessing and landing all tunas, all billfish, swordfish, amberjacks, groupers, snappers, hinds, wahoo, cobia and dolphin for anglers 16 and older. An exception is made for fishermen on a paid charter fishing trip, as long as the charter’s “captain” holds a current ROLP.

There is no charge for the permit, which is available online at www.rolp.wlf.la.gov.

The LDWF’s advisory indicated anglers can renew ROLPs up to 30 days befrore expiration, that the angler must hold a valid Louisiana fishing license and provide that number when applying for the permit. Upon online completion of the application, the angler will receive a confirmation number which can be held as a temporary trip permit.

S.T.A.R. update

When CCA’s Statewide Tournament and Anglers’ Rodeo opened Saturday, there were some new or updated categories, notably a $10,000 bonus added to the Tagged Redfish Division: The first current Louisiana Sportsman magazine subscriber to win the division will take home the 10 grand.

In addition to the 50 specially tagged redfish, there are 50 specially tagged speckled trout in coastal waters. The first four S.T.A.R.-registered anglers to catch one of the tagged trout will take home a $2,500 tackle package sponsored by the communities serviced by The Advocate from the Super Chevy Dealers in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Acadiana.

And there’s a new Bank Division for the heaviest speckled trout caught from the bank. It’s open to all anglers fishing from a bank or wading from what the CCA described as “a publicly accessible bank, pier, beach and roadway. Location must be accessed by foot or automobile and no trespassing is allowed getting from vehicle to fishing location. Transportation to location in any type of floating vessel or airplane is not allowed.

The winner will take home a 16-foot Weldbilt boat rigged with a 40-horsepower Mercury four-stroke from Bent Marine.

Going for snapper?

The marine biologists at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies are asking recreational offshore fishermen to help with their study of red snapper.

The scientists ask snapper fishermen to get the “iSnapper” app, a mobile worked up by the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation. It’s available for iOS and Android users and is designed, according to the Institute, “to give anglers an easy, secure method of reporting their catch, in turn providing researchers with access to timely, accurate data about private recreational angler catches.

“A lack of data for recreational red snapper anglers is hindering management and access to this fishery,” HRI chair and CSSC director Greg Stunz said. “With better data, we will be able to increase the fish season by reducing uncertainty buffers that currently restrict season lengths in this fishery.”

Stuntz said data from 2015’s iSnapper first year provided researchers with data about catches off the Texas coast, and the push is to expand the data base. He said close to 400 anglers participate in 2015 to report on 171 fishing trips (163 in Texas) that produced 2,012 fish of which “more than 75 percent, or 1,519 fish, were red snapper.” Other species in the catches include dolphin, king mackerel, vermilion snapper and blackfin tuna.

The app can be downloaded from isnapper.org.

Stuntz and his staff put out information telling anglers that using the app is easy to use, even when returning from a trip.

“After downloading and registering with iSnapper, anglers simply open a new trip and answer a few questions each time they head out on the water. It’s especially important for anglers to provide accurate vessel registration numbers during the registration process so that their data can be properly validated and recorded. Then, fishermen can put their phones away for the rest of their day. On the way back to the dock, they reopen iSnapper, record the number of fish harvested and released and give a general fishing location. Moments later the data is sent securely to researchers to generate catch statistics,” the staff release outlined. “In addition to capturing fisheries data, iSnapper allows you to save fishing photos, access local weather reports, view previous trips and share updates on social media.”

It must be noted that the institute has championed several recreational fishing positions on the red snapper issue when it comes to dealing with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

“The ability to collect timely and accurate catch data from recreational fishermen is a major challenge to fisheries management, which is designed to keep fish populations stable and prevent overfishing that can diminish a species’ population. Because of these problems, the red snapper quota for the recreational sector includes a 20 percent buffer to ensure that quota is not exceeded, which would violate federal laws. With more accurate data sourced directly from fishermen in near-real time, this buffer could be reduced or even eliminated, allowing a greater amount of fish to be harvested,” the release noted, adding, “Red Snapper is one of the most highly-targeted and controversial species in the Northern Gulf. The species has been considered overfished since the 1980s, and anglers have seen a dramatic reduction in both the fishing season and bag limits in recent decades. But while the stock has been classified as overfished, fishermen are seeing more red snapper than ever, creating mistrust in the data that fishery managers are providing.