Fowl Weather a Boon for Poachers: Butte County Wardens Make Huge Overlimit Case in California
No one welcomed the recent storms more than California’s 70,000 waterfowl hunters. Rain and wind in California’s central valley has salvaged what was an extremely slow hunting season for waterfowl. All of the central valley wildlife areas and national wildlife refuges with hunt programs reported increased hunter success averages last weekend.
The vast majority of hunters in the field were law abiding and ethical. But wardens cited three Butte County men and one San Jose man who stepped far out of bounds by shooting a total of 108 ducks in two days.
California regulations provide for a duck hunting limit of seven ducks per day with 14 in possession if taken over two or more days. Collectively, the four men had an overlimit of 52 ducks, with additional individual species violations.
On Jan. 20, Butte County Warden Tyson Hulse observed unusual behavior from the men that suggested they might be “double tripping.” Double tripping is a term used to describe when a poacher takes a limit of ducks or geese, brings them back to his residence, then goes out again in an attempt to shoot more.
For 12 hours the following day, Hulse watched the four men continue taking overlimits of ducks. At the end of the day, he gathered three members of his squad and contacted the suspects at two different residences. In addition to the 108 ducks the men killed in the two day period, they had freezers full of additional duck meat in various states of processing that made it difficult to count.
Citations were handed to Todd Gregory Owen, 48, and Cody Lee Owen, 21, both of Biggs; Clint Matthew Owen, 24, of Richvale; and Jeffrey Delte, 24, of San Jose.
Hulse offered a special thank you to the Butte County Fish and Game Commission for their recent purchase of high quality binoculars and a spotting scope, without which the case would not have been possible.