BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A rancher in eastern Montana was fined and sentenced to one-year probation after pleading guilty in August to killing a bald eagle through a poisoned calf carcass.
The Billings Gazette reports a federal judge issued the ruling on Thursday in Billings and ordered 66-year-old Dale Duwayne Buerkle to pay a $1,000 fine and $1,000 in restitution.
Prosecutors say Buerkle injected a carcass with a pesticide in an attempt to kill coyotes that were attacking his calves last year. The poison killed three coyotes as well as a hawk and the eagle.
Judge Timothy Cavan says Buerkle did not intentionally try to kill an eagle, but his actions were unlawful.
Buerkle’s attorney Albert R. Batterman says his client made a mistake and “wants to put this behind him.”