News and Press Releases

Practice Leads to Slaughter of Ducks in Hunting Areas

June 2, 2006

JOHN R. COON, 43, of Sequim, Washington, and his son JONATHON C. COON, 19, also of Sequim were each sentenced to a $2,500 fine and two years of probation for Unlawfully Taking Migratory Birds with the Aid of Baiting. Both men pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor and were sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelley Arnold. Both men had their hunting and fishing privileges cancelled for the duration of their probation.

According to the plea agreement, on December 17, 2004, JONATHON C. COON spread barley grain on the ground adjacent to a pond on the COON family property on Taylor Ranch Road in Sequim. The grain was placed on the ground to attract migratory birds to the area where hunters would be attempting to shoot the birds. Two days later, on December 19, 2004, the COONs participated in a hunt on the property, shooting and killing many migratory birds including mallard ducks and American Wigeons.

Wildlife experts explain that “bird baiting” by hunters can lead to a slaughter of the resource and changes in migration patterns. Migratory birds become aware of feeding areas and will revisit the area looking for food for several days after the bait has been consumed. Ethical hunters oppose bird baiting and it is a violation of state as well as federal law.

The case was jointly investigated by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Oesterle.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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