Illinois hunting and fishing

Jeffrey Foiles (striped shirt) leaves the Federal Courthouse in Springfield Thursday afternoon. Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register.

Foiles will serve 13 months in jail

June 23, 2011 at 04:48 PM

Fallin’ Skies video star Jeffrey Foiles will serve 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges Thursday in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Foiles, 54, a professional waterfowl hunter and call maker from Pleasant Hill, was facing a 23-count federal indictment for violating federal wildlife laws.

Foiles said little during court except to answer, “Yes, sir” when U.S. Magistrate Byron Cudmore asked Foiles if he did the things listed in the plea agreement.

If Cudmore accepts Thursday’s agreement, the government will drop its indictment.

Foiles also agreed to serve another year of supervised release, pay $100,000 in fines and give up his hunting and guiding privileges for two years following his release from jail.

As part of his plea agreement, he agrees to make public service announcements admitting wrongdoing and encouraging others to observe wildlife laws.

His business, the Fallin’ Skies Strait Meat Duck Club, LLC, entered guilty pleas to two felony charges through Foiles’ attorney Steven Beckett.

Beckett agreed the club unlawfully sold wildlife through illegal guided hunts and falsified records.

He pleaded guilty to unlawful sale of wildlife in violation of the Lacey Act and unlawful taking of migratory game birds in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

In the plea agreement, Foiles admits to participating or guiding hunts where participants routinely shot more than their limit of ducks 15 times between 2003 and 2007.

On Dec. 7, 2007, the agreement says Foiles hunted both during the morning and afternoon with a group of hunters that killed 39 ducks, nine in excess of the sum of the hunters’ individual daily bag limits.

On Nov. 24, 2007, Foiles and two others killed at least 22 mallards, 10 in excess of their combined daily bag limits. The practice, known as “party hunting,” is illegal according to the agreement.

During the hunt, Foiles is heard on videotape talking about shooting the bag limit of a person who was present but not hunting.

The plea agreement states that false records were kept and that Foiles knew the behavior was wrong.

“The defendant contacted hunters and obtained their name and license information, which he then recorded (or instructed others to record) in the Club’s records as if those hunters had killed birds on that day when in fact they had not,” the agreement said.

Formal sentencing for Foiles will be Sept. 21, but he still has to answer wildlife charges in Canada.

In the plea agreement Foiles also agreed to similar violations of wildlife laws in Canada, including a hunt in Oct. 2004 where he exceeded his own personal bag limit by 16 ducks.

Illegal hunts often were included in Foiles’ Fallin’ Skies video series.

Beckett asked the court to allow Foiles to be able to travel to Canada if necessary but told Cudmore the case might be resolved by video-conferencing.

Chris Young can be reached at 788-1528.

Read the complete plea agreement here: