Wahpeton Man Sentenced for Trapping Bald Eagle
FARGO - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Dec. 19, 2012, Jay P. Schuler, Wahpeton, N.D., pleaded guilty and was sentenced by Magistrate Judge
Karen Klein on a charge of taking and trapping a bald eagle in violation of the Federal
Magistrate Judge Klein ordered Schuler to pay a $1,000.00 fine and make a
community service payment in the amount of $6,500.00 to the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation to benefit eagles in North Dakota. A $25.00 special assessment was also
ordered to be paid immediately.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Act prohibits the taking, killing, or trapping of eagles.
The charge is a Class A Misdemeanor which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of
up to one year and a fine of up to $100,000.00.
On Dec. 24, 2011, a North Dakota game warden responded to a report that an
eagle was caught in a trap near Wahpeton. The warden found an adult bald eagle that had
a leg caught in a spring trap which was staked to the ground. A turkey carcass had been
placed near the trap. The carcass was exposed. It is a violation of North Dakota law to
place a trap within 25 feet of an exposed bait (North Dakota Century Code, Section 20.1-
Schuler admitted that he was trapping, set the trap that caught the bald eagle, and placed the turkey carcass next to the trap. The bald eagle was freed from the trap and transported to the Wahpeton Zoo for care and treatment of its injuries. The eagle has permanent damage to a talon but has been released to the wild.
Individuals who set traps are reminded and warned that setting exposed baits next
to trap sets is illegal and attracts eagles and other raptores. Moreover, pole trapping is an
illegal trapping method that attracts raptores and migratory birds. Pole trapping is the
setting of leg hold traps on top of fence posts in an attempt to kill eagles, hawks and owls.
Federal authorities will continue to prosecute offenders who use these illegal trapping
methods to kill raptores.
The case was investigated by the N.D. Game and Fish Department and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Hayden prosecuted the case.