Hunting guide who used electronic bird caller pleads guilty

Hunting guide who used electronic bird caller pleads guilty

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois owner of an outfitter service has pleaded guilty to federal charges that included deploying an electronic bird caller to lure geese into shooting range.

A statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Springfield says 58-year-old Rick A. Hamm, of Chillicothe, pleaded guilty Thursday to illegal sale of wildlife.

Hamm and several assistant guides were charged after taking undercover agents posing as hunters on a 2015 hunt in Fulton County.

Prosecutors say Hamm knew electronic callers violated conservation laws. They incorporate recordings of waterfowl to signal contentment at feeding grounds and can lead to excessive kills because they are so effective.

Hamm’s sentencing is Jan. 9. An agreement calls for two years’ probation, a $50,000 fine and $2,500 in restitution. On probation, Hamm will be barred from hunting.

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