JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Eleven hunters in Scott County have pleaded guilty to hunting doves over a baited field.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says the pleas were entered last week before U.S. Magistrate Linda Anderson to federal charges that were filed last September.
At that time, the government says agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found eleven men hunting mourning dove over a field in Scott County that had been baited with cracked corn, millet and rice. The field had been under surveillance after having been previously identified as illegally baited for purposes of hunting mourning dove.
The following individuals pleaded guilty: Richard Carl Boozer, 38, of Morton; George Mitchell Davis, 38, of Brandon; James Nicholas Davis, 34, of Forest; Dink Rainey Gibson, IV, 38, of Morton; John Nick Harrison, 34, of Brandon; Mark Edward Holifield, 52, of Raleigh; Michael L. Parks, 61, of Brandon; Hiram Luther Richardson, 35, of Morton; Justin Cochran Russell, 37, of Forest; Preston Lamar Woods, 38, of Forest; and Roger Douglas Woods, 65, of Forest.
Each defendant was sentenced to a one year term of probation, during which time they forfeit their right to hunt anywhere in the world, and a $600 fine.
Additionally, Gibson pleaded guilty to illegally placing the bait on the field and was ordered to pay an additional fine of $2,400 and serve two years of probation.
Russell pleaded guilty to hunting without a license and was ordered to pay an additional $600 fine.
Boozer pleaded guilty to hunting migratory birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shotgun shells and was sentenced to pay an additional $600 fine.
All eleven defendants were charged under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a federal law that regulates the hunting of migratory birds.
Hunting over a baited field carries a maximum possible sentence of up to six months in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. Placement of bait carries a maximum possible sentence of up to one year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Fulcher.