A man from Homer, Louisiana, who was arrested for killing a Bald Eagle, learned a valuable lesson: if you're going to commit crimes, don't record it with your phone.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Daniel Smith, 18, was booked with shooting and killing a Bald Eagle, a federally-protected species.

Enforcement officials received several tips from concerned citizens stating that Smith had killed the bird. Upon initial questioning, Smith denied the accusations. Officials were able to obtain a search warrant and, upon its execution, found a Bald Eagle feather in Smith's truck. When confronted with the evidence, Smith confessed to the crime.

The search warrant also allowed enforcement officials to search Smith's phone and other digital devices. It was through the search of these devices that Smith was slapped with additional charges:

  • Illegally taking a Hawk
  • Taking deer out of season
  • Hunting from a moving vehicle
  • Intentional concealment of wildlife
  • Hunting turkey out of season
  • Hunting from a public roadway

Through evidence obtained on his phone, wildlife officials were able to arrest 3 additional people and charge them with crimes.

Agents also found photos and videos of Smith participating in several illegal activities including some with Jacob Lee, Jared Lee and the juvenile.  Agents found evidence that Smith killed a turkey in July of 2019, killed a Hawk in November of 2018, shot out street lights in July of 2019 and harvested three deer at night and dumped them over a bridge in November of 2019.  Most of these infraction occurred from his vehicle and on public roads. - LDWF

Hunting laws and restrictions are in place to protect species and to ensure that wildlife thrives in Louisiana. Those who disregard these laws should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and, in my opinion, should lose their hunting privileges for life.