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WA - Dove-baiting lands Sunnyside man $5000 fine, 2-year hunting ban

May 1st, 2007

ELENA OLMSTEAD, HERALD VALLEY BUREAU

SUNNYSIDE -- A Sunnyside man has been fined $5,000 and banned from hunting for two years after pleading guilty to baiting mourning doves during a fall 2006 hunt on his property.

Corky Roberts, a law enforcement agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, said Monday that it's the first time a mourning dove baiting case has been fully prosecuted in Eastern Washington.

Roberts said Calvin R. Howe used wheat and barley to attract the birds to his property near Sunnyside. Once the mourning doves were lured into the field, Howe and several others began hunting them.

Officials became suspicious when they noticed the number of birds flocking to Howe's property. After contacting 10 hunters who had been at the property, including Howe, Roberts said they learned many had bagged more than the 10-bird limit -- another violation.

Nine Western Washington hunters who were on Howe's property were fined from $700 to $1,525. Violations included exceeding the bag limit and hunting over bait. The fines totaled $14,145.

Roberts said it's important for hunters to remember that it's their responsibility to make sure the place they're hunting is legal. He said they have to look and make sure baiting isn't happening.

"We're not here to stop dove hunting," Roberts said. "We're here to make sure people are following the law."

For more information on a hunter's responsibility, visit www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html 

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