Third Wisconsin waterfowl guide sentenced to $25,000 fine for violations in Mississippi River refuge

A third Mississippi River waterfowl guide was sentenced Oct. 18 in U.S. District Court in Madison. (Photo by Tim Eisele)

Jeremy Schreiner, 34, of Durand, is the third waterfowl hunting guide to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Madison on charges of violating waterfowl hunting regulations on the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Schreiner pled guilty in front of Judge James Peterson on Aug. 16, and on Oct. 18 received the same sentence as the first two Mississippi River duck hunting guides, Matt Raley and Tony Toye.

Schreiner, owner of Addicted River Guiding in Alma, paid a fine of $25,000, plus a $25 court fee, and cannot hunt or guide on the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge for two years. He may still hunt and guide outside of the refuge.

The U.S. assistant attorney also clarified for the judge that the agreement for all three guides includes that they cannot guide fishermen on the refuge for those two years.

Schreiner told the judge that he is trying to turn his life around and genuinely appeared to be the most penitent of the three guides who allowed undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents to exceed their daily bag limit.

Some people have wondered what’s the big deal of going one or two ducks over the daily limit?

The answers are many:

  • Guides sign state and federal guiding applications saying they will abide by the regulations. Guides have a “golden ticket” – the judge’s words – to make income off the public resource on public lands, and they direct hunters when to shoot.
  • Other hunters had alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that overbagging was occurring, so it was not just a one-time occurrence.
  • Allowing hunters they guide to exceed the bag limit every day of the 60-day duck season can add up.
  • The practice of group bagging does not apply to any species, other than deer in some circumstances, in Wisconsin. Hunters are responsible for the birds they shoot and regulations require that hunters stop shooting when they reach their daily limit.
  • Finally, the huge majority of the U.S. population is non-hunters, but who allow hunting to take place as long as science is used to set seasons and bag limits and hunters obey limits and act ethically. Once hunting behavior is reduced to “take what you can get away with,” we can expect the public to have concerns over whether hunting should be allowed in a world where the majority of the population obtain their sustenance at the supermarket and only know wildlife from TV shows.

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