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The senior bird trainer for Salt Lake City's Tracy Aviary, convicted three years ago of illegally killing a duck with his peregrine falcon, has been found not guilty of a new hunting charge.

A 1st Circuit Court jury determined Steven R. Chindgren, 38, did not illegally hunt sage grouse with a 2-year-old falcon.Chindgren was cited by the State Division of Wildlife Resources for hunting grouse with the falcon on Feb. 17 in the Dry Basin area.

The defendant contended he was exercising his falcon with a pheasant, which is not illegal, said defense attorney Wally Bugden.

"The contention was, was he hunting or was he not hunting, and he was not," Bugden said. "He was simulating a hunting experience by releasing a pheasant for his bird to capture. You do that to exercise your bird."

Chindgren was convicted last summer of illegally hunting a mallard duck in Davis County on Aug. 12, 1986, using a 6-week-old peregrine falcon. Chindgren was ordered to pay a $200 fine, and his license to hunt with falcons was suspended for one year, beginning Jan. 11, 1990.