Crime - Sacto 911

Sutter County man sentenced for baiting migratory birds

A Sutter County man convicted for covering a field with birdseed to attract mourning doves for hunting purposes has been sentenced to three years probation.

William Louis Filter, 46, of Live Oak was sentenced Friday in federal court in Sacramento, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

A jury in May found Filter guilty of unlawful baiting and the unlawful taking of a migratory game bird by aid of bait. Evidence presented during the two-day trial showed that Filter baited a field on his family’s hunting ranch in the Sutter Buttes by covering it with birdseed to attract mourning doves. On Sept. 15, 2015, opening day of mourning dove season, Filter returned to the baited field with three other people. Together, they shot and killed 34 mourning doves in less that three hours, authorities said.

At the sentencing hearing, it was revealed that Filter had a history of fish and game violations, causing his hunting privileges to be revoked between 2009 and 2012.

During probation, Filter is required to obey several special conditions: serve a three-year ban from hunting; surrender his hunting license to the U.S. Attorney’s Office; perform 120 hours of community service at a nonprofit organization that benefits animal welfare, nature conservation, or the environment; and pay a $5,000 fine within six months.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy