North Louisiana man accused of killing bald eagle

Bald Eagle, Photo Date: 2006 (Source: Carl Chapman / CC BY 2.0)

CLAIBORNE PARISH, La. (KNOE) - A North Louisiana man is accused of killing a bald eagle in Claiborne Parish.

The Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries says 18-year-old Daniel Smith, of Homer, was arrested for violating the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

LDWF says they were tipped off in October and November of 2019 that Smith had shot and killed a bald eagle. Smith initially denied the accusation. After a search warrant was secured, agents say they found a bald eagle feather in his truck. They say Smith later admitted to killing the bald eagle.

Agents say they also found photos and videos of Smith engaging in other illegal activities, sometimes with three other suspects. Those activities include 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.

Agents say they 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. In most cases, they happened from his vehicle and on public roads.

The other suspects were identified as 19-year-old Jacob Lee, of Bernice, 19-year-old Jared Lee, of Homer, and a juvenile.

Jacob and Jared Lee were arrested and the juvenile was cited. The violations include hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, taking deer during illegal hours and discharging a firearm from a public road. LDWF says 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 says 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. Civil restitution may be in order for the replacement value of the eagle and deer.

LDWF adds:

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.