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News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

Utah man pleads guilty and is sentenced for Airborne Hunting Act violation

For Immediate Release

March 11, 2015

 Credit: USFWS.
Photo credit: USFWS

DENVER--Dell Schanze, age 45, of American Fork, Utah, pled guilty to using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City Friday afternoon. There was no plea agreement, and federal prosecutors made no concessions to Schanze as a part of his guilty plea to both counts of the Misdemeanor Information.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson took the plea and imposed a sentence of one year of court probation. Schanze will forfeit an orange parasail as a substitute asset for the paraglider involved in the illegal conduct. Judge Benson also ordered him not to land a paraglider in a federally-designated Wilderness Area or in any area closed to motorized access by a federal agency.

In 2013, a video on YouTube showed an individual piloting a para-glider pursuing, and even possibly kicking, a barn owl. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) investigated the incident which created widespread controversy, and countless tips from the public indicating the subject operating the para-glider was Schanze. However, the video was inconclusive, as Schanze’s face was never revealed.

Investigators determined that the video revealed another individual piloting a para-glider nearby, and an interview of that witness confirmed Schanze was the pilot pursuing the barn own as well as provided a timeframe for the violations. Additional forensic analysis of the video corroborated the witness’ account and confirmed the authenticity of the video, and that the pilot pursuing the owl was indeed Schanze.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Information Network, and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City, Utah

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels:Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.



– FWS –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228


303-236-3815 FAX



Steve Segin
(303) 236-4578

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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: April 14, 2015
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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