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Press Release

North Country Hunting Guide Pleads Guilty to Hunting Waterfowl Over Bait

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York
William Saiff III Committed Additional Wildlife Crimes While on Federal Probation

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK - William “Bill” Saiff III, age 57, of Henderson, New York, pled guilty today to a felony violation of the Lacey Act for hiring guides to lead paying hunters on illegal waterfowl hunts over baited ponds. The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon; Ryan Noel, Regional Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement; and Bernard Rivers, Director of Law Enforcement, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Saiff is a professional hunting guide and fishing charter captain 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.” In pleading guilty, Saiff admitted that in 2018 he repeatedly baited ponds in Jefferson County and sent hunting guides and paying clients to hunt wild ducks over those ponds while they were baited. Saiff admitted that he violated the Lacey Act by charging a total of more than $350 for hunts in which he knew the wild ducks killed by the hunters were taken over bait in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”). According to the plea agreement, Saiff charged each hunter $300 per day of hunting, and the four illegal guided hunts to which he admitted in the plea agreement involved a total of 17 hunters.

Saiff also admitted that he was on federal probation when he committed these offenses in 2018, having been convicted in federal court in Syracuse in 2017 for guiding illegal waterfowl hunts over bait in violation of the MBTA. Saiff faces separate charges for violating the terms of his probation for the offenses to which he pled guilty today.

At sentencing, Saiff faces up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. Saiff will be sentenced on October 7, 2021, by Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue, who presides over the criminal case. The supervised release violations are pending before United States Magistrate Thérèse Wiley Dancks.

This case is being investigated by 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 June 9, 2021