Illinois Conservation Police are investigating the illegal killing of more than 30 ducks at the Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area near Vandalia last week.
Ducks killed included several northern pintails and mallards. Several ducks were left crippled. Duck hunting season closed Jan. 7 in the South Central Zone that includes Carlyle Lake.
Conservation Police are asking for anyone with information regarding this incident to call the Illinois TIP (Target Illinois Poachers) hotline at (877) 236-7529 or Sgt. David Hyatt at (618) 322-0693. All tips will remain anonymous.
Hunting ducks out of season potentially carries both state and federal penalties. Spring duck hunting was eliminated a century ago by the McLean-Weeks Act, the first law passed in the United States to regulate the shooting of migratory birds. The McLean-Weeks Act was replaced in 1918 by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Northern pintails numbered 3.3 million on the breeding grounds in the north-central United States and Canada last May, according to aerial surveys. That figure is 17 percent below the long-term average. Waterfowl biologists and habitat managers have worked hard to keep pintail numbers at levels high enough to sustain harvest. During the most recent duck season, hunters were limited to two pintails, compared with a limit of four mallards.