When a Klickitat County, Washington sheriff’s deputy detained three teenagers for carrying a loaded rifle in their vehicle, he was shocked to find out the kids had killed five deer “to bait and shoot eagles.”
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police, the deputy had initially planned to cite the teens with a warning for the rifle, but quickly found out none of them were licensed to drive. In addition, besides the loaded rifle, the officer observed fresh blood and deer fur. During a search of the area, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police found a doe recently killed. Alongside of the doe, there were four other deer carcasses in various stages of decomposition.
“During this piece of the investigation, another juvenile was detected hiding on the hillside above the officers. After disarming the 17 year old, investigators learned he had been looking for an eagle that he admitted to shooting. The eagle was not recovered. Two rifles were seized for intended forfeiture and criminal charges will be referred to the County Prosecutors Office.”
Two of the teens are 17-years-old and the two others are 15-years of age. They face charges of killing an eagle which is a legally protected bird in the State of Washington. In addition the youths can be charged for hunting deer out of season and carrying firearms.
Bald eagles and golden eagles are two types of eagles found in Washington state and are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act. There are currently more than 550 active Bald Eagle nests in the state.
“These federal laws prohibits the take, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles and eagle parts, nests, or eggs without a permit. Native Americans are able to possess these emblems which are traditional in their culture.”
If found guilty of illegally killing an eagle, the guilty person can be fined up to $5,000 and be sentenced to one year in prison. The dead eagle has not been found.
(Photos Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police)
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