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U.P. man facing 125 charges for deaths of bald eagles and wolves

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer investigates snares that Pickford resident Kurt Johnston Duncan was charged with using to illegally capture animals.
A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer investigates snares that Pickford resident Kurt Johnston Duncan was charged with using to illegally capture animals.(WJRT)
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 7:19 PM EDT
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(5/21/2020) - An Upper Peninsula man was arraigned this week on 125 misdemeanor wildlife charges involving the deaths of several bald eagles and wolves.

Both species are protected under state and federal laws, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Kurt Johnston Duncan of Pickford is accused of killing 18 wolves over the past 18 months, three bald eagles and several other animals without proper licenses. He is facing the following penalties if convicted:

-- Up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine for each wolf.

-- Up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine for each eagle.

-- Restitution of $1,500 per eagle and $500 per wolf.

-- Up to 90 days in jail and $500 fine each for the other wildlife crimes.

The Chippewa County Prosecutor's Office plans to seek $30,000 in restitution for the state in compensation for the dead animals.

DNR conservation officers served four search warrants at Duncan's property in March. They allegedly found evidence of him killing the wolves, eagles, deer, turkeys, bears and bobcats.

Police say he was using illegal snares to capture the animals.

Investigators believe Duncan was using the animal carcasses for crafts or selling them. Duncan allegedly told police he captured some them because he "likes to do it" and later disposed of them.

Additional suspects may face charges in connection with Duncan's alleged crimes.

“Investigations like this require a long-term commitment from everyone involved,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.

Duncan was released on $500 bond after arraignment with requirements that he avoid hunting, fishing, firearms, weapons and any co-defendants in the case.

Anyone witnessing a natural resources crime or having information about such a crime is encouraged to call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

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