U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Kyle Blubaugh, age 23, of Aberdeen, appeared before U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann on November 21, 2011, and pled guilty to Count III of an indictment that charged him with False Statement to a Federal Agency. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years' imprisonment.
The conviction stems from an incident in the fall of 2010 when United States Fish and Wildlife Refuge officers observed several individuals hunting ducks over decoys near Groton, South Dakota. When approached by the officers, Blubaugh told a story to United States Fish and Wildlife Refuge officers that he was not hunting ducks, but merely watching and calling in the ducks. Upon further investigation, it was determined that Blubaugh had given false information to the officers, and Blubaugh later admitted that he had been hunting with an unplugged shotgun in violation of federal law.
The investigation was conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mikal Hanson.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for March 26, 2012, in Aberdeen. The defendant was released on bond pending sentencing .