Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Anderson South Carolina Man Sentenced for Dove Baiting

June 24, 2014


Tom MacKenzie, USFWS

Captain Robert McCullough, SCDNR

A field with bait scattered about.

Evidence photo of baited field in Liberty, SC during investigation of this illegal dove baiting case. Credit: SCDNR Officers
Higher Quality Version of Image

Robert Claude Cathey of Anderson, South Carolina, was sentenced on June 19, 2014, by federal magistrate judge Kevin F. McDonald to one year probation and a $5,000 fine for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Cathey was found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor by a jury in federal district court in Greenville, South Carolina, on April 25, 2014, for unlawfully placing bait on a field.

In November 2012, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement, in cooperation with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement, began investigating Cathey after state officers apprehended hunters hunting mourning doves on a field that had been prepared illegally in Liberty, South Carolina. The investigation revealed that Cathey had leased the field to the hunters for $5,000 and prepared the field by scattering wheat seed on top of the ground. The hunters were not charged in this investigation.

"I am extremely proud of our law enforcement officers for the work they do to stop and prosecute the illegal taking of our wildlife,” said Colonel Chisolm Frampton, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “Protecting our wildlife is an enormous responsibility, and we are fortunate to have great partnerships with our federal counterparts to help enforce wildlife laws to curb these types of illegal activities.”

It is illegal to hunt any migratory game bird, such as mourning doves, ducks, and geese over a baited area. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is a federal statute that affords protection to all migratory birds. Penalties under the Act can reach $100,000 fine and up to a year in federal prison.

“We take our mission to support our state counterpart wildlife enforcement agencies very seriously, especially when violations involve not only the unlawful take of migratory birds over bait, but also their commercialization for profit,” said Luis Santiago, Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “Dove hunting is a time honored tradition for hunters and the defendant has undermined the proud tradition of fair chase for all hunters.”

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