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Judge fines Michigan man for poaching Wisconsin raptor

Goshwak in flight

MADISON — A federal judge fined a former master falconer from Michigan $10,000 on Tuesday for poaching raptors.

According to prosecutors and court documents, 64-year-old Edward Taylor of Fruitport, Michigan, was a master falconer and raptor propagator. He traded a captive-bred Finnish goshawk for a female northern goshawk that his co-conspirator, James Kitzman, illegally removed from a nest on state land in Wisconsin’s Vilas County in May 2017. Taylor traveled to Kitzman’s home in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to pick up the bird and brought it back to Michigan.

Selling or bartering northern goshawks is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Prosecutors also alleged Taylor and Kitzman filled out false reports with Michigan and Wisconsin wildlife officials to cover up the trade and Kitzman told his associates to keep it “hush-hush” that he was giving the female northern goshawk to Taylor.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker levied the fine against Taylor on Tuesday morning in Madison. Prosecutors said Taylor paid the fine immediately and turned the northern goshawk over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday morning.

Kitzman is set to be sentenced March 2.

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