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Tuscaloosa Man Sentenced for Baiting Mourning Doves for Hunters


January 30, 2008


John Rawls, 662-227-0990
Tom MacKenzie, 404-679-7291

A Tuscaloosa man, Forrest L. Wiggins, today received a total fine of $9,050 for placing bait on his property to lure and attract mourning doves for hunters. He also was banned from offering commercial hunting on his property for a period of one year.

On January 3, 2008, United States Magistrate Judge Robert R. Armstrong Jr. for the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama found Wiggins guilty of the federal misdemeanor. Although a bench trial was previously held on November 19, 2007, Judge Armstrong did not rule from the bench, opting to allow the government and defense counsel the opportunity to prepare closing post-trial briefs.

An investigation conducted by law enforcement officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries revealed Wiggins hosted a paid dove hunt on September 16, 2006. Approximately 35 hunters paid $150 each to hunt on Wiggins’ property. Investigators documented the presence of a substantial amount of wheat seed scattered across Wiggins’ property, two days prior to the hunt. Several hours before the hunt took place, the federal wildlife agent discovered a portion of the property had been burned, making the light colored wheat seed more visible against the charred vegetation.

Title 16 U.S.C. Section 704 (b)(2) makes it unlawful for a person to place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing, or allowing any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the baited area. Under federal regulations a baited area means any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Any such area will remain a baited area for 10 days following the complete removal of all such salt, grain, or other feed.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will work closely with the states to enforce the baiting laws and regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” said John Rawls, Special Agent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Special Agent Rawls and Lt. Todd Draper with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Law Enforcement Section conducted the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Scarlet Singleton, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

For more information about federal laws governing hunting migratory birds, visit

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