POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (WLF) are asking for the public's help in finding the person responsible for killing a bald eagle.
"It looked like a gunshot wound straight in the breast, straight in the chest, but we won't know what type of weapon was used, whether it was a large caliber gun or a small caliber rifle," said Wildlife & Fisheries Sgt. Cliff Ortis.
Sgt. Ortis said that way they would be able to do some ballistics and hopefully backtrack a gun used. He added the baby eagle had not developed the recognized white head yet.
"It could have been mistaken for another type of bird though most birds right now are protected. There's no hunting season," said Sgt. Ortis.
Elie Jarreau, who lives on Island Rd. in Ventress, has had the eagle's nest in his backyard for the past 20 years. He said it was on a different tree prior to Hurricane Gustav, but the hurricane knocked that tree down so the eagles rebuilt their nest in another tree, also in his backyard. He is the one who found the eagle.
"I was riding a four wheeler & about 200 yards back, I came up on it and I thought it was a big hawk until I started looking at it good. Then I realized it was one of the off-springs of the adult eagles," said Jarreau. "It was obvious gunshot cause it had blood on the chest. You could see where the bullet hit. It went through the wing."
Jarreau said he found the eagle on Wednesday just before Noon. The night before, he said he heard a gunshot, but did not think much of it because he said gunshots are often heard around where he lives.
"Tuesday evening around 6:30pm, I heard a 4-wheeler running and I heard a gunshot & I heard the 4-wheeler crank back up and take off. Then I found the eagle at 11:45am Wednesday," said Jarreau.
Eagles are no longer endangered so they are not protected by the Endangered Species Law, but they are protected by two other federal laws: Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act, which carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars & fine of $100,000 & the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which carries a maximum sentence of six months behind bars and fine of $15,000.
Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call the WLF's Operation Game Thief at (800) 442-2511 or the Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office at (225) 694-3737.