Louisiana man, 18, accused of killing bald eagle, hawk


HOMER, La. (AP) — An 18-year-old Louisiana man is accused of wildlife crimes that include killing a bald eagle and a hawk.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says in a news release that when investigators looked into two tips that Daniel Smith of Homer had killed a bald eagle, he denied the allegation.

However, agents got a search warrant for Smith’s truck and phone, and found a bald eagle feather in the truck, department spokesman Adam Einck said Tuesday. He said they also found photos and videos of other wildlife violations, including some with 19-year-old twins and a juvenile.

The day after the search, Einck said, Smith admitted shooting the eagle in Claiborne Parish.

Smith and the twins, Jacob and Jared Lee of Bernice, could not be reached for comment. An online search and directory assistance did not locate their phone numbers and Einck said he did not know whether either Smith or Jacob and Jared Lee had an attorney who could comment.

Agents arrested Smith on 10 charges. They include violating the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which carries up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Other charges were illegally taking a hawk, taking deer out of season and during illegal hours, hunting from a moving vehicle, intentional concealment of wildlife, hunting turkeys out of season, criminal mischief and hunting and shooting a gun from a public road.

The eagle was killed in February 2017, the hawk in November 2018, and a turkey in July 2019, the statement said. It said agents also found evidence that Smith shot out street lights in July and killed three deer at night in November, then dumped them over a bridge.

Einck said the Lees were arrested on charges of hunting from a public road, hunting from a moving vehicle, taking deer during illegal hours and discharging a firearm from a public road, and the juvenile was cited on the same charges and released to his parents.

The Lees also were cited for taking deer during a closed season, and the juvenile for intentional concealment of wildlife.

If convicted, Smith could face not only criminal penalties but a total of up to $9,225 in civil restitution for the eagle and three deer, according to the department. The Lees could also face $1,624 restitution for a deer.