Mich. poacher loses hunting privileges for life

John Myers
Forum News Service

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — A Michigan man accused of more than 100 wildlife violations, including killing 18 federally protected wolves, was sentenced Oct. 13 to 90 days in jail and fined more than $36,000 as part of a plea agreement.

Kurt Johnston Duncan, 56, of Pickford, near Sault Ste. Marie, will also lose hunting and trapping privileges for the rest of his life in Michigan and all 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, including Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Duncan pleaded guilty Sept. 24 to seven crimes, including three counts of illegally taking and the possessing wolves; three counts of illegally taking and possessing bald eagles; and one count of illegal commercialization of a protected species (wolves.)

Additionally, Chippewa County District Court Judge Eric Blubaugh sentenced Duncan to pay $27,000 as reimbursement for the animals he killed as well as $9,240 in court fees.

“This is a historical case for the division and department,” Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement announcing the sentence. “We hope this poaching case acts as a deterrent to criminals for committing future wildlife crimes such as this. Our officers did an excellent job working as a team and building this investigation so it could move quickly through the criminal justice system.”

The months-long investigation of Duncan identified 125 wildlife misdemeanor crimes involving other animals, including deer, bobcats and turkeys. Duncan also was ordered to forfeit all items, including firearms and snares, that were seized during the execution of search warrants.