A Parma, Idaho farmer has been found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to bait migratory birds and placing bait for migratory birds— a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Gregory Obendorf, 60, of Parma, was indicted on November 10th 2015, following an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The jury determined that Obendorf conspired with other people from approximately November 2007 to January 2014 to place bait for migratory birds for the purpose of hunting.
Jurors were informed over the seven-day trial that Obendorf would instruct his combine operators to partially combine his field to intentionally discharge corn kernels onto his field.
Agents from U.S. Fish and Wildlife flew over his property in November 2013 and observed piles of corn near a duck blind from the air.
When agents went to investigate Obendorf’s property, they discovered that the entire field was baited.
Prosecutors went on to claim that Obendorf would then flood the field and allow hunters to shoot the ducks over the baited field.
The jury was also informed that Obendorf would instruct another individual to knock down standing corn during the night before his guests would hunt the following day.
Obendorf told Idaho Fish and Game Officers that he had over 200,000 ducks in the baited field during the 2013 hunting season. Several hunters testified during the trial.
“We take our mission to support the Fish and Wildlife Service very seriously, especially when violations involve the unlawful baiting of thousands of migratory birds over a prolonged period of time,” said Olson. “Duck hunting is a time honored tradition for hunters in Idaho, and the defendant has undermined the proud tradition of fair chase for all hunters.”
“Migratory birds are a trust responsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Chief Edward Grace. “Because of this fiduciary responsibility, we will remain vigilant in investigating individuals who illegally bait migratory birds to give hunters an unfair advantage.” Grace stated that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is thankful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the citizens of Idaho, who served on the jury for upholding the laws designed to protect migratory birds.
Obendorf will be sentenced on August 2nd, 2016 and could face up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.