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Golden eagles falling victim to snare traps

Jaime and Lisa Johnson: Last Few Months &emdash;

WILDLIFE — A sudden spike in golden eagles being caught in snare traps in Montana this week is setting off alarm bells.  The eagles feed often on road-killed and winter-killed deer this time of year and are susceptible to bait. 

  • The image above was photographed this week by Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson, who found the golden eagle and several others feasting on a dead  deer near Lincoln, Mont. Some of the birds were so full of meat they could barely fly, he said.

The  Missoulian story linked below does not look into the potential for eagles to become victims of the increased emphasis on trapping wolves in Montana, but that's a possibilitly if the new surge of wolf trappers in Montana and Idaho isn't properly trained.

One of the golden eagles snared in Montana had been working for science, packing around a radio transmitter for nearly three years. Raptor View Research Center in Missoula had been tracking the eagle, learning the bird had summered in the Brooks Range of Alaska before heading south for Montana each winter.

Loss of 3 golden eagles to snare traps in Montana worries raptor groups

While it's not uncommon for golden eagles to get caught in traps, the big birds usually get caught in leghold traps.  However, in the past few days, biologists have been alarmed to find three golden eagles have been caught in snare traps in Montana, killing two of the birds and injuring the third. — Missoulian

Eagle-killers sentenced in Yakima

WILDLIFE CRIMES — Two Yakama Nation tribal members have been sentenced to six months in federal prison for killing and selling more than 100 bald and golden eagles.

Alfred L. Hawk and William R. Wahsise, both in their 20s, pleaded guilty to taking, selling or transporting eagles. They were sentenced Friday in federal court in Yakima.

Prosecutors say they killed more than 100 eagles around the reservation.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports the poverty-stricken men relied on subsistence hunting, but they are now barred from possessing guns.