Tuscaloosa man sentenced for baiting mourning doves



A Tuscaloosa man, Forrest L. Wiggins, today received a total fine of
$9,050 for placing bait on his property to lure and attract mourning
doves for hunters. He also was banned from offering commercial hunting
on his property for a period of one year.

On January 3, 2008, United States Magistrate Judge Robert R. Armstrong
Jr. for the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama
found Wiggins guilty of the federal misdemeanor. Although a bench trial
was previously held on November 19, 2007, Judge Armstrong did not rule
from the bench, opting to allow the government and defense counsel the
opportunity to prepare closing post-trial briefs.

An investigation conducted by law enforcement officers from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Division of Wildlife and
Freshwater Fisheries revealed Wiggins hosted a paid dove hunt on
September 16, 2006. Approximately 35 hunters paid $150 each to hunt on
Wiggins' property. Investigators documented the presence of a
substantial amount of wheat seed scattered across Wiggins' property, two
days prior to the hunt. Several hours before the hunt took place, the
federal wildlife agent discovered a portion of the property had been
burned, making the light colored wheat seed more visible against the
charred vegetation.

Title 16 U.S.C. Section 704 (b)(2) makes it unlawful for a person to
place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the
purpose of causing, inducing, or allowing any person to take or attempt
to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the
baited area. Under federal regulations a baited area means any area on
which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited,
distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could
serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over
areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Any such area will
remain a baited area for 10 days following the complete removal of all
such salt, grain, or other feed.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work closely with the states to
enforce the baiting laws and regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act," said John Rawls, Special Agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service.

Special Agent Rawls and Lt. Todd Draper with the Alabama Wildlife and
Freshwater Fisheries, Law Enforcement Section conducted the
investigation. The case was prosecuted by Scarlet Singleton, Assistant
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

For more information about federal laws governing hunting migratory
birds, visit http://www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others
to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both
a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known
for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural
resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For
more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit
www.fws.gov or
www.fws.gov/southeast/.