Well-known Vermont waterfowl guide pleads guilty to 7

spectr17

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Hunting guide pleads guilty to seven federal charges.

October 8, 2001

The Associated Press

BURLINGTON — A professional hunting guide from Williston pleaded guilty last week to seven counts of violating federal wildlife laws, federal authorities said.

Authorities charge that Thomas Venezia, 41, violated multiple wildlife laws, including exceeding limits on migratory game birds and wasting migratory birds during multiple trips to the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge and on hunting trips near Massena, N.Y.

Venezia is a well-known guide who owned and operated the Vermont Wildfowl Guide Service. Vermont and U.S. wildlife enforcement agents raided Venezia’s home and business last November, seizing computer records, notebooks, photo albums, and hunting paraphernalia.

Undercover U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agents accompanied Venezia on several of the trips, authorities said.

On one trip to the Missisquoi refuge, Venezia allegedly shot black ducks that had tracking bands on their legs, then stomped two of the ducks into the mud to avoid having them counted toward the daily hunting limits.

Authorities said Venezia went hunting in Canadian waters just north of the Missisquoi refuge, shot at ducks before legal shooting hours had begun, then returned to the United States with four ducks and failed to file any Customs paperwork, as required under the Endangered Species Act.

Authorities also said Venezia illegally imported a white-tailed deer buck from Canada into the United States without an export license and removed a sign from the Missisquoi refuge.

Last November, Canadian authorities banned Venezia from ever returning to Canada, after he was convicted of a string of similar wildlife offenses there. He was fined $18,500 and served a week in jail for that conviction.

One undercover U.S. agent accompanying Venezia on a hunt in Saskatchewan calculated that Venezia committed 230 violations of game laws during six days of hunting between Sept. 20 and Sept. 28, although he pleaded guilty in Canadian court to just 24 counts.

As part of the plea agreement with U.S authorities, Venezia agreed to forfeit his hunting license for five years, to pay $4,500 in criminal penalties, and to get psychological counseling.

He also agreed to a five-year ban on entering the Missisquoi refuge and he forfeited several hunting-related items, including a pontoon boat, frozen duck carcasses, a shotgun and some mounted animals.
 

ghrousseau

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Good!!!!!!!!!! No tollerance for poaching...............especially from so-called professional guides..................
 

steve

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Shouldn't give his license back.He has shown no regard for laws in two countries.5 years is no way long enough.
 

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