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Media Contact: Elizabeth Slown 505-248-6909 (USFWS), Victoria Fox 505-248-6455 (USFWS), Tom Harvey (TPWD) 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov

March 6, 2006

State and Federal Investigation Results in Convictions of Six Delaware Men

CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas — In January, a concerned citizen contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Kevin Stancik regarding the unlawful take of migratory waterfowl by several Delaware residents who own property in the Guadalupe River Delta.

Game Warden Stancik contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agent in Victoria, Texas, Stacy Campbell, to initiate a joint investigation into the alleged violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In late January, the law enforcement officers began their surveillance of two waterfowl hunting blinds located on a private waterfowl-hunting club in the Guadalupe River Delta.

During the surveillance operation, Game Warden Stancik and Service Agent Campbell observed the six individuals from Delaware commit the following violations:

Take over the daily aggregate bag limit, (41 ducks killed when limit for six people is 36); take over the daily bag limit of a single species, (17 canvasbacks killed when limit for six people is 6); wanton waste of migratory waterfowl, (36 ducks and 1 white-front goose left on water around blinds); hunting with an unplugged shotgun; possession of lead shot shells, (a total of 152 lead twenty gauge shot shells, not including spent hulls); hunting without a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp; hunting in violation of state law to include: no state hunting license and no state waterfowl stamp/endorsement; and take of migratory waterfowl in a closed season (two white-front geese).

The surveillance operation resulted in seizure of forty-one (41) ducks and two (2) geese, along with one hundred thirty four (134) 20-gauge lead shot shells.

Thanks to this combined law enforcement effort by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a total of thirty-two (32) federal violation notices were issued and $18,775 in fines was paid by the six individuals from Delaware.

In addition, they were assessed civil wildlife restitution of $4,009 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“The enforcement of waterfowl hunting violations continues to be vital to the core mission of the Service and as such should re-instill legal hunter ethics in all who hunt waterfowl,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Service’s Southwest Region, Juliana Scully.

“We’ve had a great working relationship with US Fish and Wildlife Service agents that has helped us enforce laws to protect migratory birds in our region,” said Capt. Rex Mayes with TPWD Law Enforcement in Victoria. “Game Warden Kevin Stancik has worked effectively in our area for many years. His experience and his diligence in working with US Fish and Wildlife Service enabled us to apprehend these individuals and charge them with multiple offenses.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations.

The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts.

It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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