VANDALIA – Illinois Conservation Police (CPO’s) have arrested three men in connection with a March duck poaching incident at Carlyle Lake Wildlife Management Area near Vandalia.
Steven Dean of Granite City, along with Bradley Peters and Daniel Groves of Wood River, were arrested on April 25. The three men face felony charges for their alleged involvement in the illegal killing of more than 30 ducks out of season on March 6th. The illegal killings included northern pintail and mallard species and left several ducks crippled.
“We are grateful to members of the public and to the media for publicizing this case and providing support for our officers,” said Rafael Gutierrez, Chief of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement. “Illinois Conservation Police Officers stand with hunters and conservationists to prevent poaching whenever possible and to find those responsible when it does occur.”
• Felony resource theft of migratory waterfowl
• Unlawful possession of freshly killed species during the closed season
• Wanton waste of migratory waterfowl
• Unlawful take over the limit of mallard ducks
• Unlawful take over the limit of northern pintails
In addition Groves was charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm when he is ineligible for a Firearm Owners Identification Card, a Class 4 Felony.
Hunting ducks out of season potentially carries both state and federal penalties. Spring duck hunting was eliminated a century ago by the McLean-Weeks Act, the first law passed in the United States to regulate the shooting of migratory birds.
The McLean-Weeks Act was replaced in 1918 by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Duck hunting season closed Jan. 7, 2014 in the South Central Zone which includes Carlyle Lake.
Northern pintails numbered 3.3 million on the breeding grounds in the north-central United States and Canada last May, according to aerial surveys. That figure is 17 percent below the long-term average.
Waterfowl biologists and habitat managers have worked hard to keep pintail numbers at levels high enough to sustain harvest. During the most recent duck season, hunters were limited to two pintails, compared with a limit of four mallards.
Information that led to the arrests was received through an anonymous tip made to the Illinois T.I.P. (Target Illinois Poachers) hotline at (877) 236-7529. All tips remain anonymous.