Law Enforcement
Northeast Region

Four bald eagles shot in West Virginia: Reward offered for information about shootings

News media: for further information, contact Bill Butcher, USFWS, 413-658-7356

WV Eagle
This juvenile bald eagle was found wounded, shot in the right toes. The eagle was later euthanized because of its injuries. (Click on photo for full size image) Photo credit: USFWS

Officials are seeking assistance from the public with the investigations into the shootings of four bald eagles in West Virginia. From Jan. to April of this year, four bald eagles were found shot in the state, two already dead and two that later died from gunshot wounds.

Special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and officers from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Law Enforcement Section are investigating the incidents. Anyone with information should contact Lieutenant Tom Stuckey at the Department of Natural Resources Office in Romney, W.Va. at 304-822-3551 or Special Agent Bryce Findley at 304-636-6586, ext. 14.

In Jan. 2011, a bald eagle was found shot, but alive along Clover Run near Parsons, W.Va. However, due to the extent of trauma, the eagle was later euthanized. Also in Jan., a dead bald eagle was found along the South Branch of the Potomac River along River Road near Fisher, W.Va. Fishermen along the bank of the North Fork, just downstream of the Jordan Run Road and Route 28 intersection near Hopeville, W.Va., found a third bald eagle carcass in March. In April, a fourth eagle was found wounded, but alive, along Route 219 in Marlinton, W.Va. This eagle later died from its injuries. X-ray images showed that all four eagles had been shot.

Bald eagles are protected by both federal and state law. Under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, a first offense violation carries a criminal penalty of up to $100,000 and/or one year in federal prison. A reward of up to $2,500 is offered to the person or persons who provide information that leads to a conviction. W.Va. state law provides for fines of $500 to $5,000 and/or up to one-year imprisonment in the county jail. Under the W.Va. state code, one half of any fine imposed shall be paid to the person or persons providing information that leads to an arrest and conviction. W.Va. law also requires a $5,000 replacement cost for any person who is convicted of violating a criminal law of the state that results in the injury or death of a bald eagle. Second offenses under either the state or federal law can result in felony charges.

Until 2007, bald eagles were protected under the Endangered Species Act.


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Last updated: January 9, 2012