Michigan Man Facing Jail for Killing Wolves, Bald Eagles Said He 'Likes to Do It'

A Michigan man has been charged with more than 100 wildlife crimes after he allegedly killed wolves, bald eagles and other animals because he "likes to do it," authorities said.

Kurt Duncan, 56, pleaded not guilty to all 125 misdemeanor charges during his arraignment ­in Chippewa County's 91st District Court on Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said in a news release.

Duncan, of Pickford, is accused of illegally killing 18 wolves over 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 faces up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine for each wolf and each eagle, and up to 90 days in jail and $500 fine each for the other wildlife crimes. He also faces restitution of $1,500 per eagle and $500 per wolf.

DNR
A conservation officer with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigates snares that Kurt Johnston Duncan allegedly used to illegally capture animals. Department of Natural Resources

Prosecutors in Chippewa County are also seeking $30,000 in restitution to the state for the illegally culled animals. Other animals involved in the charges against Duncan include deer, turkeys, bears and bobcats.

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

Duncan was charged after a months-long investigation by the DNR and was served four search warrants in March.

"We had a team of conservation officers that worked well together throughout this investigation," said Gary Hagler, the chief of the DNR's Law Enforcement Division. "Investigations like this require a long-term commitment from everyone involved. I want to thank the prosecutors in this case who worked with our officers. We are happy with the outcome and hope this case sets an example to prevent future natural resource crimes."

Conservation officers collected evidence to support the charges and also identified additional suspects who are expected to be charged soon, the DNR said.

Duncan's cash bond is set at $500, according to the DNR. Other conditions of his bond include having no contact with co-defendants, no possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon, and no engaging in hunting or fishing.

Anyone who witnesses a natural resources crime or has information about such a crime is urged to call or text the DNR's Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.