gaveldecision.jpgFive San Francisco men who illegally hunted wildlife on a private ranch in the Central Valley will have to pay $12,855 each in fines after pleading guilty to poaching animals, the Department of Fish and Game announced Thursday.

Zon Chu, 56, Howard Lai, 43, Kenneth Wong, 29, Jiale Yu, 43, and Chi Wong, 34, admitted to poaching wildlife on property in western Glenn County owned by Chu. The poaching took place over more than a decade, department officials said.

Although Chu owns the property, the wildlife living on it or passing through it belong to all Californians, according to the department.

Wardens cited the men after stumbling upon the poaching operation on Oct. 21. The wardens observed a spotlight sweeping over a wooded area in the county and spotted a group of hunters shooting wildlife from the back of a pickup truck and several ATVs.

When the hunters returned to their camp, the wardens moved in and found seven people–the five San Francisco men and two minors–with blood-spattered clothing and dead animals, including deer, wild hog, rabbits and a western screech owl, strewn about the camp.

Wardens seized three scoped rifles, the spotlight and numerous dead animals.

The men were cited for 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.

The men entered their guilty pleas in Glenn County Superior Court, where the local district attorney’s office had filed the case against them.

The minors involved were not cited.

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