A federal judge in Boise, Idaho, sentenced two men to fines and probation, as well as a hunting and firearm ban after they were caught shooting and killing federally protected raptors in a conservation area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
According to a US Department of Justice press release, the latest ruling culminated a joint investigation into the men’s activities that began in March 2021 and involved agents from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Bureau of Investigation. Land management.
Agents began the investigation after sending in multiple reports of dead raptors found under power lines paralleling a road in the Morley Nelson Snake River Preserve area. In the field, agents found red-tailed, iron-legged and ragged-legged hawks, along with many golden eagles. All of the above species of hawks are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, while golden eagles are protected under the Bald Eagle Act of 1940. All raptors showed signs of being shot.
On April 10, 2021, investigators were making observations in the conversation area where the killed birds were found when they noticed two men shooting raptors. Colton Ferdinand and Wyatt Noi were leading the way with powerful spotlights at night, capturing eagles and hawks. Law enforcement officers approached and arrested the duo. Both confessed to their crimes. The agents searched the area and found a freshly killed golden eagle and five dead red-tailed hawks.
“The brutal killing of migratory birds, including the majestic golden eagle and red-tailed hawk, is meaningless,” said US Attorney Rafael Gonzalez Jr. “We take our mission of supporting fish and bird laws very seriously, as do our federal, state, and local law enforcement and land management partners. The slaughter of migratory birds will not be tolerated.”
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United States Magistrate Candy W. Dale sentenced the two men to two years probation and fifteen hours of community service, in addition to a two-year hunting ban and two-year ban from owning or possessing firearms. The men were ordered to confiscate their rifles, pistols, ammunition, and flashlights and imposed combined fines of more than $6,000.