Hunters sentenced for violating Migratory Bird Act

Sentencing took place Monday in two federal cases involving hunting in Kansas.
A professional hunting guide from Reno County pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday for violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Ryan Warden, 36, Haven, Kan., pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In his plea, he admitted the violations occurred while he was guiding two agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who were working undercover when they hired him. Warden was a co-owner of a guiding business called Misty Morning Outfitters with a business location at 109 South Kansas Street, Haven, Kan.

During the hunt, Warden shot a mourning dove from a motor vehicle, which is a violation. He also took one more than the daily bag limit of 15 mourning doves. He did not tag the birds when he took them back to the company’s lodge for storage.

Warden was sentenced to five years on probation, a fine of $2,500 and restitution of $5,000 to the state of Kansas. During probation he is prohibited from hunting, trapping, guiding or outfitting – as well as deriving any income from those activities. He also is prohibited from possessing firearms and archery equipment.

In another case, a hunter pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act when he and seven friends met in Kansas to hunt mourning doves, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

George Morgan, 52, Gordonville, Texas, was sentenced to a year on probation in which he is not allowed to hunt, fish or trap; a $2,000 fine; and $3,000 restitution to the state of Kansas.

Seven other hunters in the same party already pleaded guilty and were sentenced. The men admitted they violated the federal law protecting migratory birds when they participated in an annual opening weekend dove hunt in Graham County, Kan., on Sept. 1-2, 2013.

Morgan pleaded guilty to one count of exceeding the daily bag limit for mourning doves. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act classifies mourning doves as migratory game birds.

Morgan’s co-defendants included Daniel R. Dinkel, 63, Hill City, Kan.; Kent A. Webber, 52, Derby, Kan.; Evan Webber, 25, Derby, Kan.; Kenneth R. Beran, 67, Derby, Kan.; Clark Law, 57, Hill City, Kan.; Tracy D. Higgins, 54, El Dorado, Kan.; and John Kobler, 62, Topeka, Kan.

Grissom commended the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Tourism and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster for their work on the case.

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