BATON ROUGE, La. (LDWF) - A Homer man has been accused of killing a bald eagle and other wildlife crimes in Claiborne Parish. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries also arrested two other men and cited a juvenile for alleged hunting violations.
LDWF says Daniel Smith, 18, was arrested for violating the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act, illegally taking a Hawk, taking deer during a closed season, hunting from a moving vehicle, taking deer during illegal hours, discharging a firearm from a public road, intentional concealment of wildlife, hunting turkeys during a closed season, criminal mischief and hunting from a public road.
LDWF also says they arrested Jacob E. Lee, 19, of Bernice, Jared I. Lee, 19, of Bernice, and cited a juvenile from Homer, for hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, taking deer during illegal hours and discharging a firearm from a public road. Jacob Lee and Jared Lee were also cited for taking deer during a closed season. The juvenile was also cited for intentional concealment of wildlife.
LDWF received anonymous tips from two different sources in October and November of 2019 that claim Smith had shot and killed a bald eagle in Claiborne Parish. LDWF contacted Smith, and they say he denied the accusation.
Through the course of their investigation, LDWF was able to secure a search warrant for Smith’s truck and phone. Their agents found a bald eagle feather in Smith’s truck on Dec. 13. On Dec. 14, LDWF says Smith admitted to agents that he shot and killed the bald eagle in February of 2017 off of Colquitt Rd. with a .223 rifle. LDWF also found photos and videos of Smith participating in several illegal activities including some with Jacob Lee, Jared Lee and the juvenile. Agents found evidence that Smith killed a turkey in July of 2019, killed a Hawk in November of 2018, shot out street lights in July of 2019 and harvested three deer at night and dumped them over a bridge in November of 2019. Most of these infractions occurred from his vehicle and on public roads.
Smith, Jacob Lee and Jared Lee were arrested and booked into the Claiborne Parish Jail. The juvenile was released back to his parents.
Violating the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act brings up to a $100,000 fine and up to one year in federal jail.
Taking deer during a closed season, intentional concealment of wildlife, hunting turkeys during a closed season and hunting deer during illegal hours brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking a Hawk carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Criminal mischief carries up to a $500 fine and six months in jail. Hunting from a moving vehicle carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Hunting from a public road brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Discharging a firearm from a public road carries up to a $50 fine and 30 days in jail.
Smith may also face civil restitution totaling up to $9,225 for the replacement value of the illegally taken bald eagle and three deer. Smith, Jacob Lee and Jared Lee also may face civil restitution totaling $1,624 for the replacement value of an illegally taken deer.
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