Judge fines Wisconsin falconer for poaching northern goshawk

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge fined a Wisconsin falconer and ordered him to forfeit his truck for poaching a raptor.

According to prosecutors and court documents, 69-year-old James Kitzman of Oak Creek took a female northern goshawk from its nest in the wild in Vilas County in 2017. He traded the bird for a Finnish goshawk supplied by Michigan falconer Edward Taylor. Selling or bartering northern goshawks is illegal because they’re migratory birds protected by federal law.

Both men filled out false reports with Wisconsin and Michigan wildlife officials to cover up the swap, prosecutors said. Kitzman told his associates to keep his deal with Taylor “hush-hush,” they said.

Kitzman pleaded guilty in December. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker on Monday fined Kitzman $15,000, ordered him to forfeit to the government the Toyota pick-up truck he used to illegally transport the bird and barred him from participating in falconry for three years. Prosecutors said Kitzman paid the fine immediately.

Crocker fined Taylor $10,000 last month.

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