Not So Wise: Utah Man Charged With Chasing Owl in Paraglider

Dell Schanze of Salt Lake City, in a booking photo released in 2011.
Dell Schanze of Salt Lake City, in a booking photo released in 2011. Clatsop County Jail via AP file

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A Utah man is facing federal charges for allegedly chasing a barn owl with a motorized paraglider.

The United States Attorney's office in Utah on Tuesday charged Dell Schanze, 45, with two misdemeanor counts of "knowingly using an aircraft to harass wildlife" and "pursuing a migratory bird." The alleged incident happened in March, 2011.

The first count alleges that Schanze violated the Airborne Hunting Act, and count two of the document alleges Schanze violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Schanze did not return a call to NBC News Thursday.

Schanze is a minor celebrity in Utah who once owned a chain of computer stores and worked as a TV pitchman. As a candidate for Utah governor, he received less than 3 percent of the vote in the 2008 election, according to NBC affiliate KSL. He also failed in a 2009 mayoral campaign.

The harassment charge sprung from a video posted on YouTube in April 2013 that showed a man chasing a barn owl in his glider. Members of the paragliding community asked federal and state officials to investigate, and the probe led to Schanze.

If convicted, he could face up to a year and a half in jail and a fine of $100,000.

— Hasani Gittens