Two Kansas men have been charged with a federal crime for allegedly shooting and killing a golden eagle in Wallace County, near the Colorado border.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged Michael Dusin, 22, of Phillipsburg, Kan., and Elijah J. Kuhlman, 22, of Sharon Springs, Kan., with violating the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
According to court documents, the two men were driving around in Wallace County on Dec. 11 when they saw what they later described as a large, black bird. Prosecutors say Dusin told Kuhlman to back up so he could take a shot at the bird and then fired, hitting it and knocking it to the ground.
On Dec. 12, a natural resource officer with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism investigated a report of a dead eagle and found the bird’s remains in a field. Two spent shotgun shells lay in the road nearby.
With help from the Wallace County sheriff, investigators identified a Ford F-150 pickup truck that had been seen in the area as belonging to Kuhlman. An autopsy performed at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., found 41 metal pellets in the eagle’s body.
If convicted, the men face up to a year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000.