Maine bald eagle found shot, stuffed into a bucket

June 2, 2018 GMT

A reward has been offered and state and federal officials are investigating a bald eagle found shot dead and stuffed in a bucket in Maine.

A Maine game warden found the bird on Memorial Day after a caller tipped him off to it, according to USA Today.

Game Warden Alan Curtis said it was clear the federally protected bird was shot with malicious intent.

“We need to find out who did it,” Curtis told USA Today.

The game warden found shot pellets from a shotgun at the scene. The bird’s body was X-rayed and dozens of shotgun pellets were found. The Maine Warden Service believes the bird was shot at close range. Investigators believe the bird was shot several weeks ago.

Whoever shot the bird could face thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison. The federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act sets a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year in prison for a first offense and up to $10,000 in fines or not more than two years in prison for a second offense. Felony convictions carry up to a $250,000 fine and two years in prison.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $2,500. Maine Operation Game Thief is offering an additional $1,000.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at aaupperlee@tribweb.com, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.