Texas hunter who shot whooping crane: ‘I didn’t read regulations’

Juvenile whooping crane killed by Texas hunter

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports shed more light on the circumstances surrounding Worthy D. Wiles III, of Dallas, who recently pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act after he shot and killed a juvenile whooping crane.

Wiles was with three other hunters when he shot and killed a young whooping crane on Jan. 12 near St. Joseph Island, according to the reports and this article from the Rockport Pilot. The reports also show the manager of the St. Charles Bay Hunting Club contacted the department when notified a crane had been shot.

Wiles was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and make a $10,000 community service payment to the nonprofit organization Friends of Aransas and Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuges.

Wiles and three other hunting companions fired at three cranes, which they thought to be sandhills, according to the reports. The area where they were hunting is closed year round to sandhill crane hunting because of their resemblance to the endangered whoopers.

“I did not read the regulations before. If I had, I would not be here today,” said Wiles, according to the reports.

Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.