Local Waterfowl Outfitter Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Guided Hunt
PEORIA, Ill. – Rick A. Hamm, 58, of Chillicothe, Ill., owner of “Show Me Your Snows,” a waterfowl outfitting service, pleaded guilty today in federal court to unlawful sale of wildlife, in violation of the Lacey Act. Hamm admitted that in December 2015, he and his assistant guides took two hunters on a guided waterfowl hunt in Fulton County, Ill. During the hunt, Hamm and his guides used an electronic caller to lure geese into shooting range, knowing it was unlawful under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Illinois conservation regulations. As a result of the use of the electronic caller, the hunters were able to shoot and kill geese. The two hunters were agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting in an undercover capacity.
At sentencing, scheduled on Jan. 9, 2020, before U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid, the government and Hamm have agreed to a sentence of 24 months of probation with the condition that during the 24-month period, Hamm is banned from hunting and guiding worldwide. Hamm has also agreed to pay $2,500 in restitution to the State of Illinois and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and to pay a $50,000 fine.
This is the second time Hamm has been prosecuted in federal court for wildlife crimes. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to three violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act dealing with shooting waterfowl over the bag limit, transporting untagged waterfowl, and hunting with lead shot. In that case, Hamm paid a $5,000 fine.
Each of Hamm’s co-defendants, Trent Gustafson, Zachary Entwistle, James Schupp, and J. Weston Schupp, have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing on October 17, 2019, before Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Legge in the prosecution. The charges were investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the assistance of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.