By Brad Hanson
CRESCO (KWWL) - A Howard County Supervisor and Conservation Board member is facing either state or federal charges for allegedly shooting a red-tailed hawk in the Cresco city limits.
Donald Burnikel is also facing charges from Cresco for discharging a firearm within city limits -- a simple misdemeanor, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said.
According to court documents, Burnikel shot what witnesses say was a handgun around noon on Sunday, June 14. It was in the backyard of the home of Lavone Maland, at 756 3rd St. W, according to documents.
Witnesses say he was shooting a red-tailed hawk, which is a protected bird under both the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Burnikel had no comment for KWWL. His son, Justin, spoke to KWWL to say that the story out there is not true, but refused to say more, citing advice from a lawyer.
Officials with the DNR say that the Howard County Attorney had to step aside in this case, and is working to put a special prosecutor into place.
Officials are working to decide if they'll bring state or federal charges against Burnikel. They anticipate that decision to come very soon, they said.
The investigating officer in this case, Conservation Officer Marc Waterlander, said they will release more details about the incident once those charges have been filed.
Cresco Police also say a video was taken of the incident.
The neighbor who took it wanted to remain anonymous, but said that the video was a Snapchat and he didn't know how to save it. He says the authorities have seen the video, though. Video.