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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS: > 2004

COURT DATE SET FOR JUDGE, 5 OTHERS ON HUNTING COUNTS

The Associated Press

10 March 2004

GREENVILLE - Circuit Judge Clarence Morgan III and five other men will appear before a federal magistrate March 19 here on charges of hunting doves over a baited field in Grenada County, records show.

U.S. Magistrate Eugene Bogen will hear the case, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer Mark Johnson said Monday. The charges are misdemeanors.

Johnson said the charges stem from a dove hunt conducted Sept. 1, 2003, the opening day of the season, at a field off Camp McCain Road in Grenada County.

Wrecker service owner Bill Ashmore of Grenada, one of those charged, said Monday that the 10-acre site was near a junk yard and was owned by a relative.

Ashmore said he will plead guilty. This was the first time he had held a dove hunt and was the first time he had ever hunted, Ashmore said.

All that those involved were doing, he said, was some "cooking and eating," but the fields started sprouting wardens.

"They were out there waiting for us," Ashmore said.

Those charged are:

a.. Morgan, of Kosciusko, taking dove from a baited area.

a.. Ashmore, taking a game bird from a baited area, taking birds with a shotgun holding more than three shells, and taking birds with the aid of bait.

a.. Grenada County Justice Court Judge Jimmy Tallant, taking birds on a baited area, killing migratory birds (doves), taking doves over a baited area and taking migratory birds without a license.

a.. Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol Trooper Cedric C. Adams of Greenwood, taking or attempting to take doves by the aid of baiting and leaving game birds untagged.

a.. Carroll County Chief Deputy Sheriff Michael Spellman, taking dove by aid of baiting.

a.. Hubert Ben Liles, owner of Grenada establishments Studio 55 and Jake & Rip's, taking game bird over a baited area and taking a migratory bird by baiting.

Johnson said task force officers started surveillance the night before the Sept. 1 opening day. He said among the task force officers were federal game wardens from Louisiana and Mississippi wildlife officers from Grenada County.

Johnson said the "taking" of doves illegally does not necessarily mean that a migratory bird was shot, but that the accused were in the process of hunting and that the area was baited.

Johnson said he spotted the Ashmore site during a routine aerial surveillance to check for baiting and sent in the task force.


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