A Sutter resident has been found guilty in federal court in Sacramento of illegal possession of migratory game birds.
Jeffrey A. Catlett, 35, was found guilty on Monday following a one-day bench trial before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman. He was convicted of one count of possession of migratory game birds belonging to another that were untagged, one count of exceeding the possession limit of ducks, one count of exceeding the possession limit of pintail ducks and one count of exceeding the limit of dark geese, Department of Justice news release states.
Evidence produced during the trial showed that on Jan. 16 game wardens began investigating a group of hunters who were reportedly shooting into a group of geese, killing and wounding a large number of them in a field off of South Butte House Road in Sutter County. Later that day, Catlett was found in possession of a large number of waterfowl, well beyond the possession limits, authorities said. Court documents show that Catlett claimed to have shot three geese himself but was found in possession of 175 ducks, 41 pintail ducks and 39 dark geese.
Evidence presented at trial also established that Catlett attempted to conceal the scope of the conduct.
Eleven other defendants pleaded guilty before trial to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Catlett was the last remaining defendant and is to be sentenced by Judge Newman on Oct. 23.
The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.