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A Geneseo man has been fined and placed on probation for using pole traps to protect his exotic waterfowl from predatory birds, a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Jesse James Mertins, 40, was fined $15,000 and ordered to serve five years on probation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley.

Mertins in 2017 set 19 pole traps around an enclosure in which he raised exotic waterfowl. U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents recovered at least 26 protected birds in and beneath the traps, according to the release. Among them were 10 great horned owls, a sharp-shinned hawk, a Cooper’s hawk, a great blue heron, a hooded merganser, seven common grackles, four American robins and a yellow-headed blackbird, all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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(Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com)

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