Bald Eagle Poaching Is Real
When one hears the word poaching the first thing that comes to mind for most is deer. While deer poaching is a problem there are many other forms of poaching that people should be aware of. Every year I read a story about wildlife kills that I would never have understood because, for example, I would never even consider shooting a bald eagle for any reason but there are those that will and do. Hawks are poached along with owls and other birds. Keep in mind that there are many forms of poaching, and it is not just the popular game animals and fish species that are affected by poaching.
Our forefathers decided that the bald eagle, with its courage, strength, beauty, and independent nature was the perfect symbol for America. Whether myth or truth, I must say that I’m happy that Benjamin Franklin’s idea of the wild turkey as the symbol fell through. Living on a boat in Alaska and working in the bush of Alaska for many years I grew very fond of the bald eagle and could not fathom anyone wanting to shoot one. Unfortunately, some people do.
I have read a few articles this past year about people killing or maiming bald eagles. Two such killings took place in Indiana. Two juvenile bald eagles were determined to be shot in west Indiana. The bald eagle has been under special protection since 1940 with the Bald Eagle Protection Act. The protection act includes not only the eagle but its nest, its eggs, and its young. This also includes the tree that the nest is in.
This special protection doesn’t deter everyone. While all animals are worthy of protection against poaching the bald eagle is one that is truly incomprehensible to me. Poaching isn’t just game animals like deer and turkey, poaching includes any animal protected by law from killing or over-harvesting i.e., limits, is considered poaching. The bald eagle holds a special place in my heart, and I want people to know that there are ways to report anyone killing or harassing a bald eagle.
Like many states now, Indiana has a program they call T.I.P. The Turn In a Poacher program is a great way to easily and anonymously report violations and can even carry a cash reward if an arrest and conviction are obtained. Remember. Killing a bald eagle is a serious crime and carries a max fine of $100,000 and 1 year in federal prison.
If you see or hear of anyone killing or harming a bald eagle in Indiana please contact the Indiana Department of Natural Resources directly at Call 800-847-4367 for immediate response. Dispatchers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is easy to remember 1-800-TIP-IDNR.
Over the years I have enjoyed the return of the bald eagle to lakes and rivers on the waters I love in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and others and I hope to see more. This goes for hawks and osprey too. These birds of prey are protected and should be reported when poached or harassed in any way. Let’s keep our big birds around especially the bald eagle, our national symbol.
Protect Indiana Wildlife
Turn in a Poacher, Inc. (TIP) is a non-profit conservation organization that protects our fish and wildlife resources by increasing public support and involvement in bringing violators to justice.
A poacher is a thief who illegally steals wildlife that belongs to each Indiana citizen. Indiana DNR manages wildlife for everyone. Every person can help TIP support DNR’s efforts by reporting potential violations. This will help conserve wildlife for future generations.
Call TIP if you see, hear, or learn about a poacher or another fish and wildlife violation. If your “TIP” leads to an arrest, you may receive as much as a $500 reward, and you can remain anonymous.
Check Out Turn in a Poacher Indiana