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Upper Peninsula man charged with 125 wildlife crimes, including killing eagles, wolves

John Myers, Duluth News Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

A Chippewa County, Michigan, man has been charged with 125 wildlife crimes, including killing protected bald eagles and wolves.

The charges -- filed earlier in May against Kurt Johnston Duncan, 56, of Pickford -- were the result of a months-long investigation by the Department of Natural Resource's Law Enforcement Division, officials said in a statement.

Duncan is accused of illegally harvesting 18 wolves in the last 18 months as well as killing and disposing of three bald eagles. Wolves are protected in Michigan and are on the federal endangered species list. Bald eagles are protected under state law, as well as the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Duncan also is charged with illegal taking of deer, turkey, bear and bobcat.

"DNR law enforcement detectives said that Duncan was using the animals for a variety of reasons, including crafts, selling or disposing of them, and stated that he was catching the animals because he could and 'likes to do it,'" the agency said.

Conservation officers have also identified other suspects who are expected to be charged, the DNR said.

 

Duncan was served with four search warrants in March. He was arraigned May 20 and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Bond was set at $500 and he was ordered to have no contact with any co-defendants, have a firearm or dangerous weapon or hunt and fish.

He faces up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each wolf and eagle; $1,500 in restitution per eagle and $500 per wolf; and up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine each for the other wildlife crimes. The Chippewa County Prosecutor's Office also is seeking $30,000 in restitution to the state for animals.

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