Connecticut Hunter Fined Thousands for Violating Near-Century-Old Law

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: PavelRodimov

Authorities have caught a Connecticut hunter who reportedly baited ducks around a hunting blind by spreading kernels of corn and then shooting them. But, little did he know, the Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police was monitoring him after an anonymous complaint had tipped them off.

David Foster, 51, and two other hunters shot and got the ducks over the area that Foster had baited. U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut stated that when officials confronted him, Foster admitted he had spread corn over the hunting area to attract ducks.

Officials now say Foster violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The act bans people from hunting any migratory game bird by baiting. He’s now been fined $4,000 by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley.

In late September and early October of 2020, thanks to a tip, the Environmental Conservation Police and U.S. Fish and Wildlife investigated the spreading of whole kernel corn around a hunting blind on Menunketesuck Island in Westbrook.

Connecticut hunter previously violated Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 2009

Later, on the opening day of duck hunting season, on Oct. 10, 2020, officers set up surveillance near the duck blind and watched Foster and two other people shoot and retrieve ducks the group had baited.

Two years later, Foster pleaded guilty on Aug. 2, 2022.

Previously in 2009, the hunter violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act near the same area by baiting waterfowl, according to prosecutors.

In the early 1930s, authorities established federal regulations to keep hunters from baiting waterfowl in the U.S. Then, during the ’30s, concerns grew over commercial shooting in baited areas. In addition, live decoys also became an issue as waterfowl populations decreased.

As a result, initial measures on baiting were filtered through a system of permits with a stipulation that hunters would not shoot areas after 3:00 p.m.

Then, in 1935 and 1936, however, officials clarified a regulation that stated: “migratory game birds may not be taken … by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area … ‘baiting’ shall mean the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of shelled, shucked, or un-shucked corn, wheat or other grain, salt or other feed so as to constitute for such birds a lure, attraction or enticement to, on or over any area where hunters are attempting to take them.”

Last year, officials cited a group of Louisiana hunters men for hunting ducks over a baited pond. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the offense carries a $950 fine. Violators could also spend up to 180 days in jail.

Before, agents placed surveillance around the pond after they found corn, a bait used to hunt ducks, in the area. Agents said they saw four people hunt the pond, shooting six ducks that agents seized after they cited the men.