WI: Wardens Accused of Illegal Baiting
April 30, 2010
Ducking Justice? Wardens Accused of Illegal Baiting
DNR Wardens in Waupaca County are accused of illegally hunting Canada
geese and ducks. One Warden even wrote himself a ticket for the crime.
Still, despite evidence from the US Fish and Wildlife Service investigation,
the case was dropped.
The nearly 250 page report suggested the DNR Wardens broke the law. Earl
Clement says the kill was not right. "It was not a fair chase, they were
hunting over bait." Clement said.
Clement says he reported his suspicions to the DNR back in the fall of
2006. His concern? Hunters on property owned by William Rosnow were
knowingly using corn silage to attract and kill ducks and geese. "I went to
my local warden to discuss the matter with him to find out if it was illegal
Earl's suspicions prompted an independent under-cover investigation by
the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Special cameras were set up to record the
field in question. Caught on tape, the camera recorded images showing acres
of silage with corn kernels. The field even attracted other wildlife like
deer and wild turkey.
Then, the bust. Labeled a sensitive case, the special agents field
documents revealed the following: "Five hunters were found hunting by the
corn silage...interviews...revealed that additional hunters hunted over this
corn silage including Wisconsin Conservation Wardens."
"These are people are supposed to know the laws and know the rules and
regulations." Clement told us.
At least three of the hunters were reportedly connected to the DNR. They
all maintained their innocence. During interviews documents show
they;"Denied knowing corn silage was spread on [the] land." But just weeks
before the bust, one of the accused hunters, DNR Warden Todd Wippermann,
investigated a hotline complaint about the same property. The accusation was
Wippermann's one page report found: "No bait is present." But the Fish
and Wildlife investigation disagreed with that finding. After the bust,
Warden Wippermann seemed to as well.
Wippermann wrote himself a $530 dollar citation for hunting waterfowl
over a baited area.
Then when the US Attorney's Office dropped the case. Wippermann had
Waupaca County Court dismiss the ticket.
NBC26 asked Wippermann about the issue, his response: "It's a long story,
there's my supervisor. I'm not going to say a word right now."
His supervisor, DNR Warden Carl Mesman, says Wippermann wrote the ticket
not because of guilt, but for work reasons. "Because this took a lot of his
time he could get back to doing his job. It was an interpretation of a law a
differing interpretation of a law by multiple agencies."
It's one reason the US Attorney's Office dropped the case. Assistant US
Attorney Tim Funnell told NBC26: "We simply did not have enough evidence to
support our burden of proof." An expert hired by the US Attorney's Office
said the case was; "A stretch because a hunter may not recognize corn silage
as being bait."
But Clement argues they weren't your average hunters. They were trained
professionals who should've known better. Now, nearly four years later he is
still looking for a real resolution. "I felt that justice should've been
served and in this case it wasn't at all. It seemed to be brushed under the
The US Attorney's Office says there was no special treatment because the
defendants were DNR Wardens. And a side-note, it was a DNR Warden who after
Clement's complaint, called in the Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate
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