SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — A Michigan man will serve a jail sentence and lose his hunting license permanently after pleading guilty to wildlife crimes for killing wolves and bald eagles in the Upper Peninsula.
Kurt Duncan was sentenced to 90 days in jail after making a plea deal in a Chippewa County court. He is banned from helping anyone in trapping or hunting activities and prohibited from hunting in 48 states listed as members of an multistate compact.
Duncan of Pickford was investigated by the state DNR and charged with numerous wildlife crimes, including illegally harvesting 18 gray wolves. He was also accused of killing and disposing of three bald eagles.
Bald eagles and wolves are protected under Michigan and federal laws.
Duncan, 56, expressed remorse Tuesday and said the eagles were not intentionally caught. Defense lawyer George Tschirhart said Duncan was trapping coyotes and “things got out of control.”
“This is a historical case for the division and department,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s law enforcement division. “We hope this poaching case acts as a deterrent to criminals for committing future wildlife crimes such as this.”
Duncan won’t have to serve 30 days of the 90-day sentence if he timely pays penalties and meets other conditions while on probation. He’s required to pay $ 27,000 for the animals illegally taken and $ 9,240 in court fees and costs.
Chippewa County prosecutor Rob Stratton said lawmakers should consider stiffer penalties for poaching. Duncan’s crimes were misdemeanors.
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