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Press Release

North Country Guide Pleads Guilty to Illegal Hunting of Baited Waterfowl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
William Saiff, III Agrees to Pay $5,000 Fine and to Forfeit Hunting Privileges Until 2019

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – William “Bill” Saiff, III, (53), of Henderson, New York, pled guilty today in federal court in Syracuse to two counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by guiding waterfowl hunts over baited ponds for profit on two separate occasions in October 2015. The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Honora Gordon, Special Agent in Charge, Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, and Joe Schneider, Director of Law Enforcement, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The defendant is a professional hunting guide whose website advertises that for eighteen years he “hosted the popular hunting and shooting sports program Cabin Country as seen on Public Television Stations across the country.” Saiff is also the owner and operator of Bill Saiff Outdoors and Seaway Waterfowl Professionals.

In a written plea agreement, Saiff admitted that on October 27, 2015, he guided a hunting party over a baited pond in the Town of Cape Vincent, in Jefferson County, New York. Saiff had previously installed an underwater trough at the pond to hold bait. As part of his guilty plea today Saiff admitted that prior to the hunt he stocked the trough with corn to attract waterfowl to the pond. Investigators found the hidden trough stocked with corn one day prior to the hunt. Before they were approached by investigators who stopped the hunt, Saiff’s hunting party shot and killed several protected waterfowl.

Saiff also admitted that on October 31, 2015, he guided a hunting party over a baited pond in the Town of Rodman in Jefferson County. Saiff acknowledged that he placed approximately 50 pounds of corn along the shoreline of the pond less than ten days prior to that hunt. Saiff’s hunting party killed several protected birds, including geese and ducks, before a law enforcement officer intervened and seized the dead waterfowl.

As part of the  guilty plea today, the government and Saiff agreed to recommend a sentence of a $5,000 fine and a term of probation, that would prohibit Saiff from any hunting or guiding activities (other than fishing) until January 1, 2019. Saiff also agreed to make charitable donations totaling $10,000 to non-profit wildlife organizations of his choice. United States Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks will sentence Saiff on a date to be scheduled in the future. The defendant could face a maximum prison sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $100,000 per count.

United States Attorney Hartunian said, “We commend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for their thorough investigation of this case, which reinforces the principle that the law applies to everyone. Game laws protect the rights of all hunters and are intended to preserve the nation’s wildlife resources for future generations.” Special Agent in Charge Gordon stated, “The result of this case demonstrates our commitment to enforcing wildlife laws together to protect waterfowl and ensure hunting opportunities for the future.”

This case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Law Enforcement, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Perry.

Updated May 31, 2017