Largely over-the-limit poachers were baiting birds with corn.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers have made a major waterfowl poaching bust in Ottawa County.
The incident happened September 25 in Chester Township according to Mlive.com. When conservation officers David Rodgers and Chris Simpson arrived on the scene that morning, the second day of duck season, they discovered four unnamed men who were grossly over the limit with 58 mallards and wood ducks.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and this is the worst case over-limit on waterfowl I’ve seen in my career,” Rodgers told Mlive.com. “They had no caring for the law at all.”
When he got the call that something might be up on a nearby farm, Rodgers was able to find a spot to hide and observe the men’s criminal activity. “They shot a very large amount of birds in a short time so they had a lot of birds on the ground, in the water, in the weeds, in the cornfield,” he said.
All of the birds, which included 23 mallards and 35 wood ducks, were shot within the first hour of shooting light. And what’s more, they weren’t even using decoys. Instead, the four men were throwing corn out into the water, baiting for waterfowl is illegal in Michigan.
Rodgers told Mlive he observed the men laughing about how many ducks they had taken. And when the officers finally confronted them, they didn’t seem to care about the severity of crimes either.
“They didn’t show as much remorse as you’d think for killing that many birds,” Rodgers said.
The men received citations to appear in court on October 26. “We’re asking for restitution for the birds, we’re seeking condemnation of the guns and all of them were waterfowl guns, very nice ones, probably around $5,000 of firearms for all of them,” Rodgers said.
In addition to citations for over-the-limit, one of the men was also hit with a citation for travelling in a vehicle with a loaded firearm after he left the group to return to his truck.
Hunting seasons are just starting to gear up this year and we’re already seeing tons of poaching cases make the news. Let’s hope some public shaming will help some of these poachers change their ways.