Poacher found to have killed protected birds, including hawks
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the conviction and sentencing of Richard Earl Parker of Lassen County for poaching hawks and other nongame birds. Parker pled guilty to illegal taking of birds after an investigation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found the defendant shot hawks and other birds on his ranch in Lassen County. As part of the investigation, CDFW recovered more than 150 dead birds, many of which were protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. CDFW also found a freshly killed bobcat in Parker’s yard, and an embalmed and stuffed mountain lion in his home.
“Poaching is not a game, it’s a serious crime,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Richard Parker willfully and egregiously disregarded California law to kill protected wildlife, including hawks. To anyone who breaks our laws for illegal sport, know that we will prosecute and hold you accountable.”
“We are pleased to work with the California Attorney General’s Office, as well as CDFW’s Office of General Counsel, to put this egregious poacher out of business,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “The case came together as a result of collaboration of our local wildlife officers and laboratory and wildlife biology staff from the state and federal governments.”
Parker pled guilty to 10 misdemeanor counts of California Fish and Game Code section 3513. He was sentenced to the maximum of five years in the county jail and a $50,000 fine. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the court suspended the sentence and placed Parker on 5 years of probation. Under the terms of his probation, Parker will serve 90 days in the county jail and pay approximately $75,000 in fines, penalties, and restitution, including a $36,486.03 reimbursement of CFDW’s investigative costs and $20,000 to the Lassen County Fish and Game Commission to restore and protect the local raptor population. During probation, Parker will be prohibited from all hunting and fishing activities and prohibited from purchasing, owning, or possessing any firearms. Two rifles seized from Parker at the time of his arrest will be destroyed. Parker’s additional firearms, relinquished as part of his pretrial release, will be retained by a licensed firearms dealer during probation.