A bald eagle is seen soaring in southern Manitoba in this photo taken in 2016 near Lockport. Manitoba Conservation officers say a man is now facing fines after allegedly shooting a bald eagle last Friday, and leaving the animal for dead.Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A man is facing fines after Manitoba Conservation officers say he illegally shot a bald eagle with a high-powered rifle, and left the animal for dead.

According to the province, Manitoba Conservation officers received a tip through their Turn In Poachers (TIP) program last Friday about a bald eagle that had been shot, and left wounded near the community of Grunthal, south of Winnipeg.

A provincial conservation officer, along with volunteers from the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre responded to the call last Friday, and found a bald eagle, a species protected under conservation laws in Manitoba, badly injured with a bullet lodged in its chest area, and a broken wing.

According to the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, their staff captured the eagle and tried to save its life, but it succumbed to its injuries about two days after being shot.

The witness who called in the incident also helped conservation officers to locate the man who is alleged to have shot the animal, as according to the province that witness was able to provide a description of a truck involved in the incident, and an officer later located and interviewed the man they say shot the eagle.

According to Manitoba Conservation, a 50-year-old man from the RM of Hanover has now been charged under the Wildlife Act for hunting on private land without permission, and for killing or attempting to kill a protected species, and now faces a maximum fine of $1,158.

The accused also had a high-powered rifle confiscated.

Manitoba Conservation is also reminding Manitobans and those who hunt that they take the illegal killing of protected species and all illegal hunting activities “very seriously,” and are also asking that citizens who see illegal hunting call and report those incidents.

“The Conservation Officer Service relies on tips from the public to help stop dangerous and illegal activity,” Manitoba Conservation said.

“Anyone with information on illegal activity is asked to call a local Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources office, or the Turn in Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.”

Illegal hunting activities in Manitoba include hunting protected species, hunting at night or out of season, discharging a firearm from a roadway or in a closed area, exceeding hunting or fishing limits, or injuring or mistreating wildlife.

Manitoba Conservation is also reminding citizens that they should never directly approach or confront someone they believe is hunting illegally, but should instead call authorities immediately.

— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Original Published on Dec 12, 2023 at 18:53