Out for a hunt with some friends last month, Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) hoped to bring home a duck or two. Instead, he bagged a $100 citation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Northern Virginian, described by a spokesman as a casual hunter, was cited for hunting in an area that had been baited with corn kernels, although the spokesman said Parris had no knowledge that the corn had been distributed.

The spokesman, Mark Strand, said a federal game warden issued citations to Parris and several companions while they were hunting on a friend's property on Maryland's Eastern Shore in late October. According to Strand, the owner had been feeding the ducks up until a month before the hunting season, and several corn kernels remained on the bottom of the pond.

"When the game warden came out the day before hunting season he was able to scoop up a few grains of corn in about five feet of water," Strand said. "When the hunting party arrived and several members began shooting, the game warden emerged from the trees and wrote the citations, Strand said.

It is against the law to lure birds to a hunting area with food.

"Obviously {Parris} had no knowledge that there was any bait in there," Strand said. "It was a technical, innocent violation." Rather than contest the matter, Parris chose to pay the fine and put the matter behind him, Strand said.

A fish and wildlife spokeswoman said the baiting law, which dates to 1934, prohibits the "placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain, salt or other feed so as to constitute a lure, attraction or enticement."

In writing the baiting law, the spokeswoman said, intent was not considered, largely because it is so difficult to prove.