Poachers kill more than 100 snow geese
More than 100 snow geese died at the hands of 14 shotgun-wielding gunners two miles east of Sutter on Wednesday, an authority said.
Fourteen people and 112 dead birds are a part of an investigation that involved a possible poaching incident near Butte House and Humphrey roads, said Mark Michilizzi, a warden for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Because the investigation is ongoing, Michilizzi said he would not identify any people or comment on whether anyone was arrested. However, he said it is likely that at least some of the hunters will receive charges for killing more than the legal limit of game.
According to California law, six white geese per person is the limit.
The Sutter County Sheriff's Department was the first agency on the scene after receiving a report, Michilizzi said. Sheriff's Deputies detained several of the shooters.
Early investigation efforts, which are being led by Sutter County Game Warden Nate Stebbins, are showing that the shooters were using hunting methods that are legal, but frowned upon, Michilizzi said.
The method in question involves surrounding a large flock of unsuspecting geese with several hunters. Once in place, the hunters startle the geese and fire at the entire flock as they attempt to fly away.
"When you have multiple people firing into a flock of geese, firing with shotguns," he said, "you can expect something like this to happen."
In similar events, several geese are likely crippled in addition to the ones that die, Michilizzi said.
Depending on the investigation, the shooters could be charged with a misdemeanor, he said, which could result in fines or jail time.