SF men pay price for poaching wildlife

Hunting season is now closed for five San Francisco men who pleaded guilty to illegally hunting wildlife on their private Central Valley ranch, the Department of Fish and Game said Thursday.

The five men, identified as Zon Chu, 56, Howard Lai, 43, Kenneth Wong, 29, Jiale Yu, 43, and Chi Wong, 34, were caught poaching in western Glenn County.

This was no small operation. Authorities said the poaching took place for more than a decade.

Under state law, wild animals — even on your own private property —  belong to all Californians and may not be hunted outside guidelines established by the state.

Wardens discovered a hunting expedition in progress on Chu’s property Oct. 21. They saw a spotlight and a group of hunters shooting wildlife from the back of a truck and on ATVs.

When the wardens arrived at the hunters’ camp, they found a grisly scene: Five men and two minors in blood-stained clothing and a slew of dead animals. Deer, western screech owl, wild hog and rabbits carcasses were reportedly strewn all over the camp.

Wardens confiscated three scoped rifles, the spotlight and all of the dead animals from the property.

The five men involved were cited for numerous violations, including hunting without a license, hunting after legal shoot times, possession of a non-game bird, hunting with a spotlight and unlawful take of wildlife.

They each will have to pay a total of $12,855 in fines. The minors were not charged.