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CA: Seven men accused of illegally hunting pigs at night

Seven men accused of illegally hunting pigs at night
By Record Searchlight staff
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seven men face charges of illegally hunting pigs at night after Department of Fish and Game officers spotted the Tehama County hunting party early Saturday morning using an airplane with night-vision equipment.
DFG officers were on patrol Friday night and early Saturday morning to catch people illegally hunting at night, said Scott Willems, a patrol lieutenant supervisor with the DFG.

A warden piloting a DFG Cessna 185 observed a vehicle’s headlights in a remote location at Black Ranch west of Rancho Tehama and two DFG ground units were called in to investigate, Willems said.

Wardens DeWayne Little and Jeremy Bonesio found ranch manager Cory Loveland, 39, of Rancho Tehama with a group of men from the Auburn area allegedly hunting at night, Willems said. Lupe Sisneros, 50, of Rancho Tehama allegedly was assisting Loveland, Willems said.

Two more DFG units were called in as well as a Tehama County sheriff’s deputy to bring the situation under control and take the men’s weapons away, Willems said. Two dead pigs were found in the area.

Willems identified the five other men as Michael Cuneo, 43, of Newcastle; Michael Lambott, 48, Benjamin Walberg, 22, Daniel Walberg, 53, and Jay Gysen, 60, all of Auburn.

DFG officials will submit a report to the Tehama County district attorney’s office for the possible filing of charges.

In addition, Loveland, a former Oregon resident, faces charges of failing to show hunting equipment on demand, illegal method of take by using a knife to kill wild pigs, illegal use of lights to hunt at night, hunting without a hunting license in possession and failing to obtain a California driver’s license, Willems said.

Loveland claimed he was killing wild pigs that were damaging land at the Black Ranch, Willems said.

The ranch manager didn’t have a permit to kill the pigs and also refused to show wardens the gun he used to kill one of the pigs, a .454 Casull revolver, Willems said.

Loveland told wardens he lost the gun after he killed the pig. One firearm, several knives and the two dead pigs were seized as evidence, Willems said.

The patrol lieutenant said illegal night hunting is “pretty common” and that violators usually go after deer and wild boar.

“In order to combat the problem of night hunting, we’ll put up an airplane that has night-vision equipment,” Willems said.

Wild pigs can cause extensive damage to ranch land and residential property because the animals will root up the soil in searching for food, Willems said.

“There is a legal way to deal with pigs doing damage,” he said.

People can get free depredation permits to protect their property from wild pigs, Willems said. Contact the DFG’s regional office in Redding by calling 225-2300 during normal business hours, he said.

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