Kentucky Man Charged With Illegal Trafficking of Bobcats and Hawks

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A Breathitt County man was arraigned in federal court earlier this week on four felony charges alleging violations of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Danny Gayheart, 32, of Noctor, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday, July 18. The charges were filed May 5 in a federal indictment, following a 17-month undercover investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation officers with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

According to the federal indictment, in March of this year, Gayheart tried to sell a red-tailed hawk, a federally protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

State conservation officers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents arrested Gayheart on Wednesday, July 6. His trial on the federal charges is set for Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court in Lexington.

Kentucky conservation officers also charged Gayheart with 46 violations of state wildlife law.

Kentucky conservation officers allege that Gayheart illegally sold seven live bobcats and three live red-tailed hawks to undercover officers, beginning in February 2010. State conservation officers said they purchased fox and coyote carcasses from Gayheart as well.

State conservation officers Rufus Cravens and Sgt. David Marques joined state undercover officers and special agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in making the arrest.

Gayheart was scheduled for arraignment on the state charges July 25 in Clark District Court.

Comments

GooseHunter Jr's picture

Some of the things that

Some of the things that people will do to make a buck in this world.  Gald he was caught and hopefully they are able to throw the book at him, yet again another good oppurtunity to make an example out of someones wrong doing to help stop other from following in their footsteps!

Ca_Vermonster's picture

This is exactly what I was

This is exactly what I was talking about in the mountain lion story. 2,000 miles is a long way for a critter like that to travel, and I suggested that maybe he was caught as a kitten and sold to someone ont he east coast.

Now, we see this guy who was trafficking in bobcats and hawks, right int he middle of the South Dakota/Connecticut line.  Kentucky is almost half way, so I am not saying it's him, obviously, but someone like him that could have done this.

As with you arrow, I wonder how he got them.  He's sold 7 of the kittens, so either he knows where the den is, or he has a breeding pair somewhere at his house and keeps selling the litters.

Amazing what people think is a "smart" thing to do.  I am sure most family members would love to play with a bobcat. Might make quick work of the family chihuahua....... lol

arrowflipper's picture

Tough racket

Boy, there has to be an easier way of making money! As long as you know it's illegal, you might as well sell drugs. And I'd guess the chances of getting caught aren't any worse.

What kind of effort does it take to catch live hawks and bobcat? This guy must have had a lot of extra time on his hands. And after you catch them, what is the market? I dont see or hear of people wanting live bobcats or hawks every day. What would you do with either?

I am glad to see that they caught the guy. Will it cost hism or will he spend time? Who knows? I just know that if I was going to find a way of making some easy money, this ain't one of them.

I would be interested in knowing how the game department got a lead on this guy. Are there snitches out there telling on hawk sellers? It never ceases to amaze me how people try to make a buck.