EDMONTON - A U.S. fowl hunter who sells videos of his outdoor adventures admitted in an Edmonton court Wednesday that he had hunted illegally and caused birds pain and suffering.
The unlawful hunting activities of Jeffery Burdett Foiles - captured on video while in Alberta and Saskatchewan - included him calling the wounded birds by names and hamming it up on camera by talking to them, quacking, hitting and slapping them and wrenching their necks.
"The duck would have been experiencing distress and pain," said prosecutor Michelle Ferguson, referring to one incident where Foiles "wrenches" a duck's neck so the bird is looking at him and says, "Look at me when I'm talking to you," while wagging the neck back and forth.
Ferguson also cited another incident where Foiles bangs the beak of a duck with a live shotgun shell, roughly manipulates the duck's head and then places his fingers over the nostrils of the duck and holds its beak closed.
He then asks the duck: "Is this how you want to die?"
As well, the 54-year-old Illinois man, who markets his videos under the name "Fallin' Skies," illegally hunted waterfowl from a powerboat and repeatedly exceeded his maximum daily bag limit and those of his fellow hunters.
Foiles pleaded guilty in provincial court to several charges under the Migratory Birds Convention Act and two criminal charges of causing cruelty to animals.
A joint sentencing proposal for a $14,500 fine was put before the court, however the matter was adjourned to next week so the judge could review the legal material.
Foiles has also agreed to be slapped with a three-year hunting ban in Canada.
Ferguson told court the aggravating factors in the case included Foiles being a visitor to Canada, making the videos for profit, purposefully shooting over his limit and his attitude and lack of concern towards the wounded ducks.
"His actions promoted the needless suffering of those animals," said Ferguson.
Defence lawyer Steve Fix told court Foiles was a divorced father of four adult children and said he was not in a position to dispute the charges because they are dated and the hunter does not recall all of the events.
"He regrets this matter from the outset and simply wants to move on," said Fix.
Foiles declined an opportunity to address the court extended by the judge, saying: "No ma'am."
According to agreed facts, the majority of the hunts in Alberta and Saskatchewan were in 2007 and included expeditions to Edmonton, Bentley and Pigeon Lake.
During the hunts, Foiles would address the birds by names, including "Mr. Honker" and "Mrs. Mallard," and he would not immediately dispatch wounded fowl.
He also once held a wounded Canada Goose - brought to him by his dog 24 minutes after he shot it - up for the camera and rubbed its head against his own cheek before eventually breaking its neck.
Court also heard Foiles tried to get his cameraman to shoot fowl despite him not having a permit and chuckled on camera while joking about exceeding the bag limits.
In June, Foiles pleaded guilty in the U.S. to violating federal wildlife laws and is slated to be sentenced on Sept. 21 to 13 months in jail and a $100,000 fine.