South Dakota men sentenced for shooting 200 protected birds

WEBSTER, S.D. (AP) - Two South Dakota men have been sentenced for illegally shooting and killing more than 200 pelicans and double-crested cormorants.

Sixty-six-year-old Brant Nelson and 63-year-old Kirk Nelson, both of Webster, pleaded guilty in federal court to taking, killing and possessing migratory birds.

U.S. District Judge William Gerdes sentenced the men to 36 months of probation and ordered them to pay nearly $11,000 in restitution. They were fined $500 each and had their hunting privileges suspended for three years.

Authorities say the birds were killed in the spring of 2016. The Nelsons allegedly shot them from their property that borders a small lake in Day County.

Both species are migratory birds and by federal law cannot be hunted or killed under any circumstances