Conservation Writer Charged With Baiting

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By Linda Cicoira — Eighty-year-old conservation writer George W. Reiger was charged earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Salisbury, Md., with distributing bait and taking or attempting to take migratory birds at his private pond in Locustville in January. He was convicted of the misdemeanor baiting in 2015 when he made a plea agreement and paid a $1,200 fine.

Reiger was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his 1983 book, “Wanderer on My Native Shore: A Personal Guide and Tribute to the Ecology of the Atlantic Coast,” and is known for his articles in Field & Stream magazine. 

According to a complaint filed with the court on Oct. 17, Reiger is accused of distributing bait, namely milo seed, at a freshwater impoundment, “which is within the operational control of the commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Group Eastern Shore,” in order to take migratory birds contrary to agreements between the U.S. and Great Britain in 1936,  Japan in 1972, and the U.S.S.R. in 1976. The charges were made by U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

In the first case, court records show Officer Darin Dick of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said on Nov. 18, 2014, “while conducting a waterfowl enforcement patrol, observed the defendant ¬ taking/attempting to take protected migratory waterfowl” over his pond. “Reiger had admittedly taken one drake green wing teal. There were four other individuals present participating in the hunt on the same pond that Reiger was hunting. Once clear from the group, a state officer and I returned to the pond where the group was hunting and observed a large amount of milo seeds scattered thought the pond in the same area where Reiger and the other four … were hunting that evening.”

Dick interviewed Reiger on Nov. 21, 2014. Reiger “admittedly placed the milo on his pond prior to hunting … to ensure a good hunt for his guests.”