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Father and son charged with poisoning wildlife, including bald eagles


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- A father and son from Sugar Camp have entered into plea agreements after being charged with illegal possession of bald eagles. 65-year-old Alvin Sowinski and 46-year-old Paul Sowinski were charged under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act for the death of the birds by poisoning.

The eagles were not the only casualties of the poison. Department of Natural Resources wardens found that Alvin Sowinski was using the insecticide Carbofuran, to kill wildlife on their family farming operation, which has about 4,000 acres tilled and another 4,000 acres not in production.

U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil says the Sowinski’s have agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution and lose all rights and privileges to hunt, fish and trap for a period of not less than five years. The government reserved the right to request that the Court impose extended revocation of the hunting, fishing and trapping privileges.

Plea hearings are scheduled for May 8th before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker at 1:00 p.m. for Alvin Sowinski and 1:30 p.m. for Paul Sowinski.

DNR wardens say the indiscriminate poisoning of wildlife to improve hunting opportunities impacted more wildlife than the two eagles. The three-year investigation began in 2007.

In May 2007, a DNR warden found dead a bald eagle, a crow, a gray squirrel, and a bobcat, within 100 yards of a deer carcass that was found to contain the insecticide Carbofuran. The bald eagle, crow, gray squirrel, and bobcat were also tested by the lab and lab personnel concluded that the animals died as a result of ingesting Carbofuran.

During the 2010 execution of warrants, Wardens, Oneida County deputies, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigators found 21 dead crows and ravens, four coyotes, one hawk, two songbirds, one weasel and two small unidentified mammals. Several other dead animals were found in another area included two bald eagles, a black bear, two ravens, and a coyote. All of the animal deaths were traceable to Sowinski’s poisoned animal bait.