Duck poachers sentenced in Ottawa County, MI

Four Ottawa County men ticketed recently for poaching nearly 60 wild ducks from a private agricultural pond near the Grand River watershed were sentenced this week in district court.

Tyler John Meerman, 24, of Conklin, Colson Thomas Modderman, 22, of Wyoming, Justin Allen Beckman, 20, of Coopersville; and Michael Duane Sorenson III, 20, of Marne pleaded guilty Tuesday and were sentenced the same dayNearly 60 mallards and wood ducks were shot illegally Oct. 9 in Ottawa County. Four men from that area were sentenced in the case this week. in Ottawa County District Court.

The convictions resulted from an Oct. 9 incident, near a popular waterfowl hunting area in Chester Township, which is situated in the northern part of the county. A total of 58 ducks were killed.

“These four individuals used over 200 pounds of corn to illegally entice these ducks in for the kill,” said DNR conservation officer Dave Rodgers. “The men were not using decoys or duck calls and therefore were not hunting, but rather, they were poaching.” Read more

Monday tip led conservation officers to waterfowl poachers in Oakland County

A mid-morning tip Oct. 31 led Michigan conservation officers to two men in possession of poached waterfowl and a Sandhill Crane in Oakland County’s Addison Township.

Oakland County Central Dispatch received a tip from a caller reporting unknown individuals shooting at Sandhill Cranes – a federally protected bird – near a private pond. At 9:50 a.m., a responding deputy from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department notified the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division and requested assistance.

Conservation Officers Bradley Silorey of Macomb County and Jacob Griffin of Oakland County immediately responded, arriving at the scene shortly before 10:45 a.m. and within minutes of each other.

“After arriving, the officers found two men who had been waterfowl hunting near a private pond,” said District 9 Acting Lt. Dan Bigger. “The men had 13 ducks already in their possession. Two more ducks were located while walking to the area where the subjects had been hunting.” Read more

Be an ethical hunter; buy a license before you go out, and don’t loan kill tags

mature buck standing in a fieldConservation officers with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources urge deer hunters to engage in an ethical hunt: Buy a license before going out and don’t loan kill tags.

Every deer hunting season, DNR conservation officers encounter individuals engaged in unethical hunting practices. These officers tackle many cases of individuals buying hunting licenses after harvesting deer or loaning kill tags to friends or relatives.

“Each year, we see cases of individuals waiting to buy licenses until after they have shot a deer,” said Dean Molnar, assistant chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “We remind all hunters that you must buy your license before you go out to hunt and have it in your possession when afield. Buying a license is not only the ethical and responsible thing to do, it is the law. Harvesting a deer without a license is poaching.”

Deer poaching in Michigan carries a restitution payment of $1,000 per deer, a $200 to $1,000 fine and jail time up to 90 days. In addition, a violator’s hunting privileges are suspended for three years. Under the new law that took effect in 2014, antlered deer are assessed an additional $1,000 in restitution plus the standard $1,000 for illegally killing any deer. In addition, deer with eight points but not more than 10 are $500 a point, while deer with 11 points or more are assessed a penalty of $750 per point. Read more

Iowa deer poachers caught on camera

Fort Dodge, Iowa – A nine month investigation into deer and turkey poaching in Webster County, Iowa, was closed on Oct. 7, when Kyle Alstott, 23, of Fort Dodge, the last of the 10 individuals facing charges from Iowa and Nebraska, pleaded guilty.

In November 2015, Iowa State Conservation Officer Matt Bruner came across a website run by Alstott with photos and videos of deer, deer hunts, fishing and other outdoor activities.

Alstott and Roman Thompson, 22, from Omaha, Neb., are co-owners of ATM Outdoors, an outdoors /hunting filming company based in Fort Dodge. They produce photos, videos and deer stories for their website which is where Officer Bruner began his investigation.

Bruner recognized Kyle Alstott and Michael Alstott, 44, of Fort Dodge, from photos on the website as individuals that he charged for hunting over bait in 2011. He began comparing the deer and stories on the website to licenses the different individuals featured had purchased in various states.

The information didn’t line up. Read more

Media Lodge and Funker Tactical Present, “The Good Fight – Counter-Poaching Initiative”

Atlanta, GA – Media Lodge and Funker Tactical have teamed up to produce a significant new video series – “The Good Fight, A Counter-Poaching Initiative”, presented by Sig Sauer. This 3-part video series will run as an online broadcast on, as well as Funker Tactical’s and Instructor Zero’s YouTube channels. The show will highlight the many ongoing challenges of the governments and people that are trying to protect the rhino population from extinction and defend against the ever-growing problem of poaching in Africa.In July of 2016, a team developed by Davide Bomben and Instructor Zero traveled to South Africa on a training mission to help preserve the lives of not only the rhinos, but also their sworn protectors – The Pilanesberg Rangers. In this 3-part series, we follow their 5-day training camp in the middle of the African Savannah where they battle the constant threat of enemy engagement, the unforgiving terrain and predatory wildlife.

“Media Lodge is honored to be a part of this groundbreaking video series dedicated to preserving the rhinos and protecting the Pilanesberg Rangers”, said Jeff Siegel, CEO of Media Lodge. “We hope our collective efforts make a real impact where it is needed most…at the ground level”.

The poaching syndicates in Africa are becoming more sophisticated, militarized and acquiring heavy weapons. Driven by its demand in parts of Asia where some attribute medicinal properties to rhino horn, the black market values a full-grown horn at upwards of one million dollars. This lucrative trade is also used to fund terrorist organizations such as Al-shabaab and Boko Haram, which have ties to ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Read more

DSCF Grant Supports K9 Anti-Poaching Unit

DALLAS – DSC and DSC Foundation (DSCF) grants are once again going directly to funding conservation and anti-poaching activities for wildlife. DSC and DSCF granted funds to build and sustain the South African Rhino Protection Programme’s K9 unit, trained and housed at the South African Wildlife College (SAWC). The tracking dogs team with field rangers in finding and capturing suspected poachers.

Specifically, the grants will be used to build dog kennels and support operational expenses, including feed and training. Without the K9 unit, field rangers are left at a distinct disadvantage. The success rate is approximately 30 to 1 when comparing a ranger team with a K9 asset to one without. In the near future, the K9 facility at SAWC will be available to train rangers from other countries in southern Africa. Read more

Senior Official of Beverly Hills Auction House Sentenced for Wildlife Trafficking

Joseph Chait, 38, of Beverly Hills, California, the senior auction administrator of I.M. Chait Gallery, located in Beverly Hills, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison and a $10,000 fine for conspiring to smuggle wildlife products made from rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory and coral with a market value of at least $1 million, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Director Dan Ashe for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). On March 9, Chait pleaded guilty to a two-count Information before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken for the Southern District of New York, who imposed today’s sentence.

“Conspiring in the trafficking endangered wildlife is a serious crime, and those involved in the auction industry should take note that facilitating this trade can result in prison,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The African Elephant, the rhinoceros, and coral are all deeply threatened species that have undergone dramatic losses in recent decades as the trade in them has become highly lucrative. We must stop this trade, and we will vigorously investigate and prosecute those engaged in it.”

“By illegally trafficking in wildlife, including rhinoceros horns, Joseph Chait and his co-conspirators have fueled the illegal trade in endangered wildlife,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Chait’s conduct, a federal crime for which he will now spend time in prison, threatened the already precarious existence of certain endangered species of animals.” Read more

MI DNR seeks information on Kalkaska County bear poaching

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are seeking information on a bear poaching incident in southwest Kalkaska County. On April 30, a recreational river user found a large black bear carcass in the Manistee River near Rainbow Jim’s Bridge Boat Launch, a DNR-managed boating access site near Coster Road in Springfield Township, located approximately 6 miles southeast of Fife Lake. The river user contacted the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) Line to report the deceased bear.

According to Sgt. Jeremy Payne, conservation officers responded to the location. After a metal detector confirmed metal within the bear, its carcass was taken off-site and a necropsy – an autopsy of an animal – was performed by DNR conservation officers. The necropsy revealed the 500-pound male black bear died from a shotgun wound during the last week of April.

“Anyone who has information that may assist us in finding the person or persons responsible for the poaching of this bear is asked to contact the DNR,” said Sgt. Jeremy Payne. Read more

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