3 Years and $70K Restitution In Eagle Protection Act Case


     A Montana man has been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $70,000 restitution for killing golden eagles in Montana and selling the feathers and other parts in South Dakota.

       59-year ol Harvey Hugs of Hardin was convicted by a federal jury in February of 3 counts of violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The act makes it a crime to kill, sell, buy, or barter bald and golden eagles or any of their parts and feathers.

     Hugs was convicted on similar charges in 2012, and Montana authorities received information in February 2020 that Hugs was again trafficking in eagles. 

     A 3-month investigation later in 2020 recorded phone calls and intercepted text messages in which Hugs offered to sell various eagle feathers – including selling a set of golden eagle wings and a tail for $1,000.

        To conceal his activities, Hugs mailed them to South Dakota and requested payment to be wired under his daughter’s name in Montana. 

      A search warrant was executed at his Montana residence on March 3, 2021, that resulted in the seizure of multiple items, including several eagle tails and wings. 

     The U-S Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Ore, confirmed through genetic testing that the seized items matched the ones Hugs sold and shipped to South Dakota. 

      The laboratory’s findings revealed that a total of 14 juvenile eagles were genetically identified from the seized items.