SACRAMENTO, Calif — The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) said this is the largest raptor poaching case in known history.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced April 12 the conviction and sentencing of Richard Earl Parker of Lassen County for poaching hawks and other non-game birds.
“Poaching is not a game, it’s a serious crime,” Becerra said in a press release. “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.”
The CDFW's investigation found that Parker shot hawks and other birds on his ranch. CDFW recovered more than 150 dead birds, of which many 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.
Parker pleaded guilty to 10 misdemeanor counts of taking migratory, non-game birds. He was sentenced to the maximum of five years in the county jail and a $50,000 fine. Because of Parker's plea agreement, he will serve his 5-year sentence on probation and will pay around $75,000 in fines.
During his probation, the Attorney General's Office said Parker will not be allowed to hunt, fish or own, possess or purchase a firearm.
The two rifles seized from Parker when he was arrested are to be destroyed. Parker’s additional firearms are to be relinquished as part of his pretrial release, are will be retrieved by a licensed firearms dealer during probation.