Wildlife Legal Issues

For details on these laws visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and State of Illinois, Department of Natural Resources websites

Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Establishment of a Federal prohibition, unless permitted by regulations, to "pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, cause to be shipped, deliver for transportation, transport, cause to be transported, carry, or cause to be carried by any means whatever, receive for shipment, transportation or carriage, or export, at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird, included in the terms of this Convention . . . for the protection of migratory birds . . . or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird." (16 U.S.C. 703)

P.L. 105-312, Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 1998, amended the law to make it unlawful to take migratory game birds by the aid of bait if the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is baited. This provision eliminates the "strict liability" standard that was used to enforce Federal baiting regulations and replaces it with a "know or should have known" standard. These amendments also make it unlawful to place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of taking or attempting to take migratory game birds, and makes these violations punishable under title 18 United States Code, (with fines up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. The new amendments require the Secretary of Interior to submit to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Resources a report analyzing the effect of these amendments and the practice of baiting on migratory bird conservation and law enforcement. The report to Congress is due no later than five years after enactment of the new law.

P.L. 105-312 also amends the law to allow the fine for misdemeanor convictions under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to be up to $15,000 rather than $5000.

from http://laws.fws.gov/lawsdigest/migtrea.html

Endangered Species Act

The purposes of this Act are to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species, and to take such steps as may be appropriate to achieve the purposes of the treaties and conventions set forth in subsection (a) of this section

SEC. 11.
(a) CIVIL PENALTIES. -
(1) Any person who knowingly violates, and any person engaged in business as an importer or exporter of fish, wildlife, or plants who violates, any provision of this Act, or any provision of any permit or certificate issued hereunder, or of any regulation issued in order to implement subsection (a)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F), (a)(2)(A), (B), (C), or (D), (c), (d) (other than regulation relating to recordkeeping or filing of reports), (f), or (g) of section 9 of this Act, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $25,000 for each violation. Any person who knowingly violates, and any person engaged in business as an importer or exporter of fish, wildlife, or plants who violates, any provision of any other regulation issued under this Act may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $12,000 for each such violation. Any person who otherwise violates any provision of this Act, or any regulation, permit, or certificate issued hereunder, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $500 for each such violation. No penalty may be assessed under this subsection unless such person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing with respect to such violation. Each violation shall be a separate offense. Any such civil penalty may be remitted or mitigated by the Secretary. Upon any failure to pay a penalty assessed under this subsection, the Secretary may request the Attorney General to institute a civil action in a district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found, resides, or transacts business to collect the penalty and such court shall have jurisdiction to hear and decide any such action. The court shall hear such action on the record made before the Secretary and shall sustain his action if it is supported by substantial evidence on the record considered as a whole.
(2) Hearings held during proceedings for the assessment of civil penalties by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with section 554 of title 5, United States Code. The Secretary may issue subpoenas for the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant papers, books, and documents, and administer oaths. Witnesses summoned shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid to witnesses in the courts of the United States. In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena served upon any person pursuant to this paragraph, the district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found or resides or transacts business, upon application by the United States and after notice to such person, shall have jurisdiction to issue an order requiring such person to appear and give testimony before the Secretary or to appear and produce documents before the Secretary, or both, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no civil penalty shall be imposed if it can be shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant committed an act based on a good faith belief that he was acting to protect himself or herself, a member of his or her family, or any other individual from bodily harm, from any endangered or threatened species.

(b) CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS. -
(1) Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Act, of any permit or certificate issued hereunder, or of any regulation issued in order to implement subsection (a)(1)(A), (B), (C), (D), (E), or (F); (a)(2)(A), (B), (C), or (D), (c), (d) (other than a regulation relating to recordkeeping, or filing of reports), (f), or (g) of section 9 of this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. Any person who knowingly violates any provision of any other regulation issued under this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
(2) The head of any Federal agency which has issued a lease, license, permit, or other agreement authorizing a person to import or export fish, wildlife, or plants, or to operate a quarantine station for imported wildlife, or authorizing the use of Federal lands, including grazing of domestic livestock, to any person who is convicted of a criminal violation of this Act or any regulation, permit, or certificate issued hereunder may immediately modify, suspend, or revoke each lease, license, permit, or other agreement. The Secretary shall also suspend for a period of up to one year, or cancel, any Federal hunting or fishing permits or stamps issued to any person who is convicted of a criminal violation of any provision of this Act or any regulation, permit, or certificate issued hereunder. The United States shall not be liable for the payments of any compensation, reimbursement, or damages in connection with the modification, suspension, or revocation of any leases, licenses permits stamps, or other agreements pursuant to this section.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, it shall be a defense to prosecution under this subsection if the defendant committed the offense based on a good faith belief that he was acting to protect himself or herself, a member of his or her family, or any other individual, from bodily harm from any endangered or threatened species.

from http://endangered.fws.gov/esa.html

Summary of Illinois Wildlife Laws

The summary of the Illinois Wildlife Laws prepared by the Institute of Public Law, University of New Mexico School of Law.

The State of Illinois Laws make it unlawful at any time to take, possess, sell or offer for sale, any such wild birds (dead or alive) and parts, including nests and eggs, wild mammals (dead or alive) and parts, including green hides contrary to provisions

Click here to view the complete summary http://ipl.unm.edu/cwl/statbook/illino.html

Whose (Wild) Life Is It , Anyway?

An article from the June 2001 Issue of Outdoor Illinois published online via the Illinois Periodical Online project at Northern Illinois University.  This article addresses the Illinois Wildlife Laws and how they apply to the sometimes well intentioned animal lover. 

Click here to view Whose (Wild) Life Is It, Anyway written by John Allen.