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Man found guilty of selling eagle feathers in South Dakota sentenced

A Montana man convicted of killing eagles and selling their feathers in South Dakota has been sentenced.

Harvey Hugs, 59, will spend the next three years in federal prison, according to the District of South Dakota U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Hugs killed 14 golden eagles and sold their feathers and other body parts to buyers in South Dakota in late 2020. Investigators searched Hugs' home in March of 2021 and found several eagle tails and wings. A lab later genetically matched these to to the items sold in South Dakota.

A jury found Hugs guilty on three counts of violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in a February 2023 trial. This act makes it a crime for anyone to take, sell or purchase bald or golden eagles and any parts and feathers of eagles.

Hugs was convicted in a similar scheme in 2012, officials said.

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.