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MI: Michigan poacher who killed 18 wolves, bald eagles loses hunting license for life

By Brandon Champion

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, MI – A Michigan man will lose his hunting license for life after he pleaded guilty to numerous wildlife crimes, including poaching 18 gray wolves.

Kurt Johnston Duncan, 56, of Pickford was sentenced Tuesday under a plea agreement before Chippewa County District Court Judge Eric Blubaugh.

The lifetime ban also prohibits Duncan from assisting anyone else in any hunting or trapping activities. He will also not be allowed to hunt in 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

Duncan must also pay $27,000 as reimbursement for the animals illegally taken and $9,240 in court fees and costs. He will also serve 90 days in jail, be on probation for 18-24 months.

Finally, all items and evidence seized by the DNR during the execution of search warrants, including, firearms and snares must be turned over.

“This is a historical case for the division and department,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We hope this poaching case acts as a deterrent to criminals for committing future wildlife crimes such as this. Our officers did an excellent job working as a team and building this investigation so it could move quickly through the criminal justice system.”

The Michigan DNR’s months-long investigation of Duncan identified 125 wildlife misdemeanor crimes. During an 18-month period Duncan committed numerous wildlife crimes of various species, including: wolves, bald eagles, deer, turkey and bobcat.

On Sept. 24 Duncan accepted a plea agreement offered Chippewa County Prosecutor Robert Stratton. Duncan pleaded guilty to:

  • Three counts of the illegal take; possession of wolves.
  • Three counts of the illegal take; possession of bald eagles.
  • One count of illegal commercialization of a protected species (wolf).

Anyone witnessing a natural resources crime or having information about such a crime is encouraged to call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.