Man Sentenced For Illegal Vilas Co. Raptor Theft

Feb 25, 2020

Northern Goshawk
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A Michigan man has paid a five-figure fine for taking a Northern Goshawk from a Vilas county nest on state land so it could be bartered for another raptor.

The sentencing was in federal court in Madison.

On December 11, 64-year-old Edward Taylor of Fruitport, Michigan pleaded guilty to arranging with his coconspirator James Kitzman to barter a northern goshawk taken from the wild in Vilas county in exchange for a captive-bred Finnish goshawk.

Court documents indicate it was part of the conspiracy that they covered up the receipt and transport of the northern goshawk from Wisconsin to Michigan, in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and the Lacey Act.

It is illegal to sell or barter northern goshawks because they are migratory birds under federal protection. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker imposed a $10,000 fine payable to the Lacey Act Reward Fund, in care of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The northern goshawk was turned over so the bird could be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator. It will eventually be released back into the wild.

Taylor turned the northern goshawk over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday morning.