IL: 'Fallin Skies' duck hunter charged with waterfowl violations
'Fallin Skies' duck hunter charged with waterfowl violations
Dec 09, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Jeff Foiles, one of the best-known professional duck
hunters and callers in the United States, has been indicted by a federal
grand jury in Springfield on 23 counts connected to alleged illegal
From 2003 to 2007, according to the indictment, Foiles, 53, of Pleasant
Hill, Ill. sold guided waterfowl hunts where hunters regularly violated
daily bag limits of ducks and geese. The hunts took place at the Fallin
Skies Strait Meat Duck Club in Pike County, the indictment says.
Foiles, one of two owners of the Strait Meat club, guided commercial
waterfowl hunts at the club and elsewhere, including Canada, the indictment
Some of the allegedly illegal hunts subsequently were shown in videos
featuring Foiles, including the “Fallin Skies” video series. Foiles had
sponsorship arrangements with sporting goods companies that paid him to use
their products in his videos, the indictment says.
“The killing of migratory birds in excess of daily bag limits … was
crucial to achieving these purposes,” the indictment says. “Not only were
guided clients able to kill more birds during their paid hunts, but the
overlimits also allowed Foiles and his employees to capture more and
better-quality hunting video footage, and thus to produce and sell
high-quality commercial waterfowl hunting videos, which was a very important
component of Foiles’ promotional activities.”
In one Canada hunt, the indictment says, a cameraman, “upset at the
number of geese being killed,” turned off his camera, but Foiles ordered him
to continue filming. The footage later appeared in the video “Fallin Skies
1,” authorities said.
Undercover officers participated in four of the hunts for which Foiles is
charged, according to the indictment.
Foiles and his associates also allegedly falsified hunting records,
creating false game custody tags, waterfowl hunting area records and
“picking shed” records at the club in order to conceal the excesses. In some
cases, staff members reported that birds had been killed by people who
hadn’t hunted or weren’t even at the club on the day in question, the
Foiles also operates Foiles Migrators Inc. in Pittsfield, Ill., which has
a retail business and showroom as well as an assembly and distribution
facility for Foiles’ own popular line of duck and goose calls.
Foiles is formally accused of 12 violations of the Lacey Act and 10
counts of making false writings in a matter within the jurisdiction of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as conspiracy to violate both laws.
The Lacey Act makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell wildlife
taken in violation of federal law or regulation. The act also covers guide
services conducted for the illegal taking of wildlife.
The maximum penalty for a felony violation of the Lacey Act or the
federal false writing statute includes up to five years in prison and a
The government also is seeking forfeiture of property used in the hunts,
including 13 Benelli shotguns, two Artic Cat ATVs and duck and goose decoys.
Foiles is to appear in federal court in Springfield for arraignment Jan.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, in
cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa
Department of Natural Resources, and the government of Canada. The Justice
Department’s Environmental Crimes Section also is part of the prosecution.
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