Three men are being fined for poaching and baiting waterfowl.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced three men have been hit with nearly $20,000 in fines for a waterfowl poaching incident that happened in Harrison Township last December. The incident involved illegal baiting of waterfowl and being over the limit on Canadian geese, mallards, and hen mallards.
The DNR announced in a press release that 52-year-old Richard Shaller, 58-year-old Timothy Morris, and 49-year-old Robert Kucinski were investigated on December 6 after the DNR's anti-poaching hotline received a tip about waterfowlers being over the limit near Chesterfield Township.
Officers were dispatched to the location, which was on a pond. The press release says the officers heard gunshots and watched the group killing multiple geese. As the men were wrapping up their hunt, they were confronted by law enforcement.
"The officers also located three additional piles of waterfowl hidden in nearby brush and received a confession that one of the men had placed a 50-pound bag of corn a few days earlier, because he wanted his hunting party to 'have a good hunt." Baiting waterfowl is federally prohibited and unlawful in Michigan," the press release reads.
In total, the men were found to have 39 birds in their possession. They were 14 over the limit with 23 Canadian geese, four over the limit for mallards and two over the limit for hen mallards with 16 birds. All three men pleaded guilty in 42nd District Court in New Baltimore to charges for over-the-limit birds. Schaller got an additional charge for placing the corn.
The court ordered the men to pay $500 per bird in reimbursement, or $6,500 each to the state. In total, it comes to $19,500 in fines. The men were also ordered to pay court fines that totaled over $3,000.
The men had their firearms confiscated as evidence in the case and in further punishment, the men forfeited the guns permanently. They will also not be able to hunt waterfowl through February of 2022. It seems the DNR is going to publicize the case as a warning to other would-be waterfowl poachers.
"Cases like this emphasize the important role our officers play in protecting waterfowl so they can be shared equally," DNR Law Enforcement Supervisor Lt. Todd Szyska said in the release. "In the past, hunting over-limits of waterfowl led to low population numbers and species protection - such as the canvasback duck. It is through effective biological management, established seasons and bag limits, and enforcement that we are able to continue the waterfowl hunting heritage."