TWRA investigates 2 Bald Eagle shootings - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TWRA investigates 2 Bald Eagle shootings

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Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

BLEDSOE COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Tennessee Wildlife officials are hunting down leads in the deaths of two bald eagles. Both were found dead within a month.

The first was found in Big Springs Gap Road area of Bledsoe County. The other was discovered approximately thirty miles away in the Crab Orchard community of Cumberland County.

It has many wildlife officials wondering if the national symbol is under attack. TWRA is taking this one personally. One saying he's never seen anything like this.

The locals seem to be just as angry. Many of them saying they would give back the reward money if they could help officials make an arrest.

"To go out and just purposely kill our nations symbol, that's wrong," said disgusted local hunter Mickey Gooden.

Two bald eagles shot, two symbols of our country dead.

TWRA Agent Mark Patterson is sick to his stomach. He found the first eagle in Bledsoe County, three weeks later the second was found less than 30 miles away.

They're offering almost $9,000 for info leading to an arrest on each bird.

Paterson said that's a lot of money, "and we're hoping that will make people want to turn it in, give us some info."

The bald eagle was moved off the endangered species list in 2007 and onto the threatened species list because they've been making a comeback.

Still, killing one is a federal offense punishable by up to a year in prison, and a $100,000 fine.

Patterson believes who ever shot these birds knew exactly what they were doing, Gooden feels the same way.

Gooden said you can't mistake a bald eagle, "no, no, no. They are unique."

It takes four to five years for a bald eagle to develop the one of a kind white head and tail feathers. These were clearly mature bald eagles.

As for a motive. Patterson shook his head and said, "I don't have a clue, don't have a clue, I don't see any motive to it."

Gooden the avid hunter followed suit saying, "I'm glad I don't understand it, because if I did, that would be scary for me."

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