NEWS

Duck-abusing American hunter pleads guilty

09/15/2011 05:51 EDT | Updated 11/15/2011 05:12 EST

An American hunter who abused wounded birds in Western Canada and videotaped his antics is facing a $15,000 fine and a three-year hunting ban in Canada.

Jeffery Burdett Foiles, 54, of Pleasant Hill, Illinois, pleaded guilty in an Edmonton court Wednesday to causing unnecessary pain and suffering to a duck, contrary to the Criminal Code.

He also pleaded guilty to multiple violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, including killing more than his daily limit, hunting birds from a powerboat and failing to immediately kill a wounded duck he had retrieved.

The incidents happened near several communities around Alberta between 2004 and 2007.

Michelle Ferguson, the federal Crown prosecutor in the case, described some of the incidents recorded on Foiles's videos — later discovered by U.S. authorities — that resulted in the charges.

"Making the duck face the camera. Whacking the duck on the head. Placing an empty bullet box on the duck's head. Whacking that on his head. Plugging the nostrils of the duck and holding its beak shut," she said.

According to an agreed statement of facts between Crown and defence, most of the incidents that led to the changes happened in the Bentley area.

In one video recorded Oct. 17, 2007 near Westerose, Foiles held a wounded mallard up to the camera, then moved the head around so it was facing him, the statement said.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you," Foiles said. He wagged the duck's head back and forth, then opened and closed the bird's mouth with his fingers while making quacking sounds, the statement said. He then walked off camera and killed the duck.

Some of the incidents that led to the charges happened near Bentley and Pigeon Lake, Alta.

Foiles is a guide who runs a hunting club in Illinois and posts edited versions of his videos on YouTube in a series called "Fallin' Skies". The videos are shot in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In Canada, under a joint submission from the Crown and defence, he'll likely receive a $15,000 fine and a three-year hunting ban, but a judge will have the final decision. He'll find out about the sentence next week.

Meanwhile, Foiles is also facing punishment in Illinois for violating hunting laws there.

Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sale of wildlife and one count of unlawfully taking migratory game birds.

Under a deal between the defence and prosecution, Foiles has agreed to serve 13 months in prison and pay a $100,000 fine, with sentencing set for Sept. 21.

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