Watch: World Champion Goose Caller Sent to Prison After This Video of Flock-Shooting Snow Geese from Truck

Shots from the video that launched a federal investigation into Josh Neuwiller. USFWS / Outdoor Life

A Maryland-based waterfowl guide and eight-time world champion goose caller was sentenced to 90 days in prison on Sept. 8 for violating his probation and outfitting without a license. The prison sentence for Josh Neuwiller, who owned Wye East Outfitters, was handed down in U.S. District Court in Salisbury, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal prosecutors pointed to a pattern of “exploitive and unethical practices” that Neuwiller has engaged in since at least 2016, when USFWS law enforcement agents obtained this video of Neuwiller and others, presumably clients, flock-shooting more than 80 snow geese from his truck.

As a result of that video, Neuwiller was prosecuted and put on federal probation in October 2021, which prohibited him from hunting, guiding, or outfitting for snow geese for three years. But a subsequent investigation by USFWS revealed that he continued to book waterfowl hunts throughout the remainder of the 2021-22 season—even though he and his company lacked the proper licenses to do so.

“When he continued to book snow goose hunts, which is outfitting for snow geese, he violated his terms of probation,” USFWS special agent John LaCorte told Chesapeake Bay Magazine on Wednesday. “The other part was the lack of license to guide or outfit for snow geese, or any waterfowl for that matter.”

Drive-by Poaching Leads to “Bait and Switch” Operation

LaCorte explained that the agency’s investigation into Neuwiller all started with the video that surfaced on social media sometime in 2016. In the video, Neuwiller is driving his truck down the side of a highway and towing a trailer full of shooters (not visible in the video) when they pass a field full of resting snow geese.

“The coast is clear, no cars coming?” someone in the cab asks. Neuwiller slows down, picks up the shotgun resting in his lap, and aims out the open window. Someone shouts “Cut ’em!,” prompting Neuwiller and the people riding on the trailer to shoot into the flock of resting birds, killing more than 80 geese.

“He admitted to shooting those geese,” LaCorte said. “He also made a statement that they should have shot more.”

Federal wildlife officer Chad Coles visited the scene of the poaching the following day, according to USFWS. It’s not immediately clear when or how officials were tipped off about the incident, or how the video reached them. Coles found ruts from Neuwiller’s truck, along with spent shells, wadding, and feathers on the ground.

Five snow geese that were killed during an illegal hunt with Wye East Outfitters. USFWS

Neuwiller was convicted of unlawfully taking snow geese in October 2021 and sentenced to three years’ probation. Roughly two months later, however, LaCorte began receiving calls from hunters about Wye East Outfitters. They complained that Neuwiller, whose reputation as champion goose caller made him well known in the local waterfowling community, had canceled their trips or changed the dates at the last minute without offering a refund. In other instances, Neuwiller would tell his clients that he was leading a hunt, only to pass them off to another guide when they arrived.

A subsequent investigation over the course of the 2021-22 season uncovered more details about Neuwiller’s illegal scheme. Working with the law enforcement arm of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, USFWS agents documented a litany of violations by Wye East. A combination of search warrants, subpoenas, interviews with witnesses, and compliance checks revealed that the outfitter booked more than 40 hunts over the course of the 2021-22 waterfowl season, even though neither Neuwiller nor his company had the proper guide or outfitting licenses. These hunting trips amounted to well over $40,000 in income, according to USFWS.

“He was essentially conducting a bait and switch operation,” LaCorte said. “He knew he wasn’t able to guide the snow goose operations, so he would show up at the field and then pawn the hunters off on guides that were not him.”

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All told, the federal investigation resulted in 36 separate hunting and license violations committed by Neuwiller, his wife Kellie, and four of Wye East’s guides. The Neuwillers and the four guides pled guilty to all charges on Sept. 8. In addition to Josh’s 90-day prison sentence, Kellie Neuwiller was fined $250 and sentenced to one-year probation from hunting, guiding, or outfitting for waterfowl.

Wye East Outfitters did not respond to requests for comment. However, LaCorte told reporters that the company is now under new ownership.

The post Watch: World Champion Goose Caller Sent to Prison After This Video of Flock-Shooting Snow Geese from Truck appeared first on Outdoor Life.

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