DNR: Hunters From Metro Detroit Confess To Shooting Eagle

WWJ News
October 08, 2019 - 5:27 pm
Golden eagle

A golden eagle (Getty)

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(WWJ) A young eagle couldn't be saved, according to authorities, after it was shot down by hunters in Manistee, Michigan, over the weekend. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says two men, ages 24 and 53 from New Boston in Wayne County, confessed to shooting the 2-year-old female eagle in a wooded area near the Bear Creek access site on the Manistee River in Brown Township on Saturday.

eagle shot down
Shot eagle taken to Wings of Wonder. (Photo: Michigan DNR)
“They said they saw the bird coming across the sun and thought it was a goose," said Conservation Officers Steve Converse. "After they shot it, they realized it wasn’t a goose. When they walked away, they knew it was still alive but claimed they had no phone service so they couldn’t call to report the eagle.”

A pair of local fishing guides called the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline to report the shooting; and Converse, along with DNR Officer Joseph Myers, went to the scene.

A river guide escorted the officers downriver from where the tipsters believed they saw the eagle go down. The officers hiked about 150 yards up a hill, where they found the eagle crawling on the ground.

The injured bird was transported in a dog crate to Wings of Wonder, a raptor education, rehabilitation and research facility in Leelanau County.

Staff there evaluated the eagle, determined it would not be able to survive surgery, and euthanized it on Monday.

“The pellets caused multiple fractures in both of her wings, some of which had completely shattered some of the bones,” said Rebecca Lessard, Wings of Wonder executive director. “There was just too much damage; she was not a surgical candidate.”

The name of the hunters responsible have not been released. 

The DNR will submit its report to the Manistee County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if they will face charges. 

“I commend the tipsters who reported this crime immediately,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “They did the right thing.” 

Anyone who witnesses or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the RAP hotline at 800-292-7800. Dispatchers are available 24/7.