A nationally known Perry Hall taxidermist, convicted of exploiting waterfowl by selling mounted ducks to wildfowl carvers in several states, was ordered yesterday by a federal judge to pay a $2,500 fine and serve two years on probation.
Prosecutors regarded the case as important because of the large-scale commercial exploitation involved and sought a $10,000 fine for Michael G. Dison.
But Senior U.S. District Judge Herbert N. Maletz in Baltimore imposed the smaller fine, agreeing with the defense attorney that a higher one would be a hardship.
"I have to say that I am disappointed," said Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Warren Hamel Jr., who prosecuted the case. "I hope the hunting and taxidermy community does not take this to mean that we will not pursue these cases."
Defense lawyer Robert B. Green argued that "this case arises out of a serious mistake that Mr. Dison made at a vulnerable point in his life." He said publicity about the case had done "substantial" harm to Mr. Dison's business.
Mr. Dison, 48, pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Mr. Hamel did not seek a prison term for Mr. Dison, who the prosecutor said was cooperative and had no previous convictions. Prosecutors also agreed to let Mr. Dison keep his federal taxidermy permit.
Federal law restricts the sale of mounted waterfowl to the people who provided the birds, but Mr. Dison was selling his mounts on an open market, officials said, putting pressure on declining waterfowl populations.
Federal wildlife agents said Mr. Dison sold thousands of dollars worth of mounted ducks to world-class carvers in Maryland, Virginia and other states. The carvers, who sometimes charge thousands of dollars for each decorative piece, use the mounts as references for their exacting works.