Man Charged in Deaths of 2 Endangered Cranes

Article excerpt

An 18-year-old St. Augustine man has been cited with four misdemeanor charges in the shooting deaths of two endangered whooping cranes last month in northwest St. Johns County, state wildlife officers said.

William Bush Jr. was given a notice to appear Dec. 19 in St. Johns County Court on two counts of taking a species of special concern and two counts of taking wildlife from a county road right of way, said Lt. Robert Lee of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Lee said federal authorities, who cooperated in the investigation, have agreed not to prosecute.

"He [Bush] cooperated fully with us. There is a lot to be said for that," Lee said last night.

Authorities were led to Bush after an anonymous tip was called in to a wildlife hot line Friday, Lee said. The caller said Bush was attempting to have his truck repainted after learning wildlife officers were looking for a two-tone blue pickup truck.

He was cited after bullets found in the birds, which were taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crime lab in Oregon, matched those from Bush's . …