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Press Release

Prominent North Country Hunting Guide Sentenced for Selling Guided Waterfowl Hunts 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, was sentenced today in federal court in Syracuse to 3 years of probation after previously pleading guilty to a felony violation of the Lacey Act for hiring guides to lead paying hunters on illegal waterfowl hunts over baited ponds. The sentence 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 Captain Jesse Paluch, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigations (BECI).

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 previously, 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[1] 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.

As part of his sentence, Saiff was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve the first 120 days of his probation sentence on home confinement. While on probation, Saiff is prohibited from hunting, guiding, or operating a hunting or guiding business while he is on probation, though this prohibition does not extend to fishing charters. This sentence was pronounced by Senior United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue, who presides over the case.

In a separate proceeding before United States Magistrate Judge Thérèse Wiley Dancks, Saiff admitted that he was on federal probation in 2018 when he committed the offenses described above, having been convicted in federal court in Syracuse in 2017 for guiding illegal waterfowl hunts over bait in violation of the MBTA. Judge Dancks sentenced Saiff on the probation violation to an additional 90 days of home confinement (consecutive to the 120 days ordered by Judge Mordue), to be followed by a one-year term of supervised release, during which Saiff will be required to wear an ankle bracelet monitored by the Probation Department.

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


[1] The Lacey Act makes it a crime “to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any fish or wildlife or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any law, treaty, or regulation of the United States . . . .” 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a)(1).

Updated October 7, 2021