Natural Resources Police Target Turkey Poaching
Six Individuals Nabbed for Baiting Birds
With the opening of spring turkey hunting season, Maryland Natural Resources Police charged six people with poaching this week for the illegal use of bait for hunting.
Just before the April 19 statewide open, officers searched hunting areas to locate illegal bait left near blinds. Officers returned to those areas to discover hunters illegally using the baited area to hunt turkeys.
Hunting turkeys with the aid of bait or placing bait for turkeys during any turkey season is illegal in Maryland. During fall turkey season, hunters can target turkey if they are beyond 150 yards from bait for other species, however baiting turkeys is always illegal. Those convicted of hunting over bait can face up to $1,500 in fines.
Natural Resources Police filed charges against the the following:
Stephan Anders, 49, of Virginia, was charged after officers in Sharpsburg observed him hunting turkeys with bait and using an electronic turkey call. According to officers, Anders had two feeders spreading corn and Anders admitted to baiting throughout the year.
Merel Chaney, 57, of Flinstone, was charged by officers conducting surveillance on a property in Allegany County. Police had discovered two areas with cracked corn spread out approximately 75-100 yards from a pop-up blind on the property. On opening day, they observed five gobblers near the property, followed by Chaney arriving and using a box call to attract the turkeys. While speaking with officers, Chaney admitted to placing the cracked corn out to keep turkeys in the area.
Laura Hurjui-Kenney, 31, of Virginia, was charged by officers working a turkey bait operation in Sharpsburg. Officers observed a woman by a tree less than 50 yards between two feeders baited with cracked corn. Police say she also had a weapon used for hunting turkeys. While speaking with Kenney, the officer learned that she also did not have a hunting license. As a result, police charged Kenney with hunting turkeys with the aid of bait and for hunting without a license.
Timothy Rowe, 57, of Smithsburg, was charged after officers patrolling on private property observed him spreading whole corn kernels in a feeder, walking on a trail about 150 yards away from the corn, and then beginning to hunt for turkeys. Police say Rowe then placed decoy birds on the ground and began to make turkey calls. Rowe told officers he believed he was far enough away from the corn and stated that the corn was for local deer.
James Stotler, 70, of Myersville, was charged after officers had located a baited area with cracked corn on private land a few days before the season began. When officers revisited the location, they found Stotler in a blind that contained cracked corn.
Terry Wilson, 65, of Flintstone, was charged by officers conducting surveillance on a baited area consisting of an active feeder with whole corn. At 5:45 a.m. April 20, police saw a turkey enter the area and heard an all-terrain vehicle approaching it. While Wilson said that he put the corn out for deer, officers observed Wilson near the feeder with a turkey decoy.