Four men from the Coopersville area charged with poaching ducks on the second day of the hunting season have obtained lawyers and received a delay in their arraignment date, according to Lt. Gerald Thayer of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Plainwell office.
The arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday morning at Ottawa County District Court in Hudsonville, according to the Grand Haven Tribune.
“They postponed it until Nov. 9,” Thayer said. “The suspects were not there.”
Officials have declined to release the names of the suspects, pending arraignment.
DNR officers were alerted to a potential poaching incident on Oct. 9 through the Report All Poaching hotline, 1-800-292-7800.
The caller thought he heard an unusual amount of shooting, which usually indicates someone is hunting over bait, according to Conservation Officer Ivan Perez.
Conservation Officer David Rogers reported to an area northeast of Coopersville, where he found the duck hunters near a pond, with several hundred pounds of corn scattered in the area.
It is illegal to hunt over bait.
Officers confiscated 58 mallards and wood ducks, as well as the hunters’ guns.
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Each duck hunter is allowed to take six birds, but their entire take was illegal because they were hunting over bait, officials said.
Local conservation officers call it one of the largest waterfowl poaching cases they’ve seen in more than 25 years.
The hunters face up to $500 restitution per bird if found guilty of poaching. They also face a mandatory suspension of their hunting licenses.