Three Macomb County men plead guilty to poaching waterfowl

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Natural Resources(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 12:22 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Three men from Macomb County pleaded guilty to 13 criminal charges apiece for baiting and hunting waterfowl an excessive number of waterfowl in December.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says 52-year-old Richard Schaller, 49-year-old Robert Kucinski and 58-year-old Timothy Morris shot more Canada geese and mallards than the state’s hunting limits allow. They also illegally spread corn over a pond to bait the birds.

All three suspects pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of taking an overlimit of geese, mallards and hen mallards, along with hunting waterfowl over a baited area. Schaller pleaded guilty to additional charge of placing bait to hunt waterfowl.

“Waterfowl are a precious resource to Michiganders and the other 13 states that share and protect this resource within the Mississippi Flyway Zone,” said Lt. Todd Szyska, DNR Law Enforcement supervisor in Detroit. “Cases like this emphasize the important role our officers play in protecting waterfowl so they can be shared equally.”

DNR conservation officers received a tip about the men hunting too many birds near a pond in Macomb County’s Chesterfield Township on Dec. 6 through Michigan’s Report All Poaching hotline. Two officers heard gunshots in the area and found the men actively hunting.

Conservation officers say the men killed a total of 39 waterfowl:

  • 23 Canada geese, which was 14 over the limit allowed.
  • 16 mallards, which was four over the limit allowed. Eight of the mallards were hens, which was two over the limit allowed.

Schaller allegedly confessed to spreading a 50-pound bag of corn on the pond a few days earlier because he wanted to “have a good hunt,” he told conservation officers. State and federal regulations prohibit baiting waterfowl for hunting.

Each suspect was ordered to reimburse the state $6,500, which equals $500 per bird for a total of $19,500. Court costs and fines added another $3,000 to the judgment.

The men all were required to forfeit the firearms used during the bird hunt and lost their right to hunt waterfowl through February 2022.

Anyone with information about poaching or a natural resource crime should call the DNR Report All Poaching hotline at 1-800-292-7800.

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