November 20, 2003

The following special report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.

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U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas

1100 Commerce St., 3rd Fl. Telephone (214)659-8600
Dallas, Texas 75242-1699 Fax (214)767-2898

CONTACT: 214/659-8707 NOVEMBER 20, 2003

United States Attorney Jane J. Boyle announced that Dallas resident, Donald W. Jones, was charged yesterday in a federal information with transportation of wildlife taken and possessed in violation of law, in violation of 16 U.S.C. 3372(a)(1) and 3373(d)(2). If convicted, Jones faces a maximum statutory sentence of one year imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. Jones, age 48, will appear before United States District Judge Jerry Buchmeyer on December 12, 2003 for his arraignment.

The information charges that on November 14, 2003, Donald W. Jones knowingly transported various species of migratory birds, including a whooping crane, a Gadwall, a blue-winged teal and a northern shoveler, when he should have known that the wildlife was taken and possessed in violation of law, specifically the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whooping cranes are also listed as endangered under federal law. The crane recovered from Jones is believed to be one of four spotted in the Lake Bardwell area, south of Dallas, during the week of November 10. The bird was apparently shot late Friday, November 14. Biologists believe that the three remaining birds left the area Sunday, resuming their annual migration south for the winter. There are an estimated 318 wild whooping cranes within the United States. The other waterfowl in Jones' possession -- Gadwall, blue-winged teal, and northern shoveler -- are species that can legally be hunted during the waterfowl season in Texas. That season, however, was not open when the birds were killed.

"Waterfowl hunters have many opportunities each year to enjoy a resource that belongs to all Americans, and most do so within the boundaries set by federal and state regulations," said Special Agent in Charge of Law Enforcement Richard McDonald. "But there are specific times set aside for hunting and no open seasons at all for whooping cranes," McDonald

"We hope that the charges in this case remind hunters and the public of our shared responsibility to conserve the Nation?s migratory birds," added H. Dale Hall, Southwest U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director.

"The law enforcement partnership between the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife led to the quick apprehension and resolution to this phase of the investigation," said McDonald.

"I'm proud of our game warden, who just graduated from our academy five months ago. He did a thorough job while checking this duck hunter and discovered this whooping crane. We are pleased to be working on this case with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," said Col. James Stinebaugh, director of law enforcement at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The case is being investigated by agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and game wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark D. McBride.

- Tom Stehn

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Where applicable, CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFWS is US Fish and Wildlife Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both countries, plus many volunteers and non-profit organizations along the way.

Anyone wanting to contact Tom about the report or the whooping crane projects can reach him via email at: . Other information, including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping Crane web site at

Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, TX