A dispute over a public fishing hole escalated Monday on Toledo Bend, leaving one angler with a ticket and another angler who allegedly pulled a firearm booked into the Sabine Parish Correctional Center, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies and enforcement agents with LDWF were dispatched to the scene near Kite’s Landing after Dean Bullara, 56, of Opelousas, and Donald Johnson, 48, of Deridder, allegedly got into an altercation over a public fishing area.
Comments on social media about the case indicate the argument involved a submerged brush pile.
According to the release, Johnson and his wife were fishing when Bullara pulled up in his boat and demanded they leave the area. After a heated dispute, the release states Johnson pulled a firearm on Bullara.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office ultimately arrested Johnson for aggravated assault with a firearm, but Johnson told authorities he pulled his handgun in self-defense because he felt threatened by Bullara’s actions, the release states.
Bullara was cited for harassment of persons lawfully fishing, according to the release.
“I have been told by the captain this has been a recurring problem, especially more here recently,” said Adam Einck, LDWF spokesman. “At the end of the day, these are still public places.”
Harassment of persons lawfully fishing brings a up to a $750 fine and 90 days in jail. The harassment of persons lawfully fishing regulation provides that it is unlawful to disturb any hunter, trapper, or fisherman who is engaged in the lawful taking of a wild animal or who is engaged in the process of taking, with intent to dissuade or otherwise prevent the taking, or to prevent such person’s enjoyment of the outdoors, the release states.
Aggravated assault carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, according to the release.
Einck suggested anglers call local authorities if presented with this situation in the future.
“We would suggest people call authorities rather than have it escalate to that point, because it obviously could have turned out very differently,” he said.