Maine Game Wardens Investigating Illegal Shootings of Bald Eagle, Moose

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Todd Rybum Photography/Getty Images)

Game wardens in Maine are looking into the illegal shooting of a moose and the injury of a bald eagle. Officials found a moose skeleton in Aroostock County, Maine, and the Warden Service is investigating a poaching incident. They believe someone shot the moose in late September. The poacher covered the moose in tree branches in an attempt to camouflage it.

Additionally, the Service responded to a call about an injured bald eagle in Mattawamkeag. The eagle couldn’t fly, and an X-ray revealed shotgun fragments in its body. Maine’s Operation Game Thief, a program where residents can alert officials to any instances of poaching, is offering $4,500 for information about the eagle and $3,000 for the moose that would lead to a suspect.

Maine Investigates Illegal Shootings of Moose and Eagle, While Oregon Faces Poaching Problem With Another Wolf Death

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is facing an increased poaching problem of wolves in the state. Recently, department officials found the body of OR-88, the breeding female gray wolf from the Lookout Mountain Pack. The alleged poacher shot the wolf in the shoulder. In photos of the animals, she has a gaping, bloody wound on her back.

Additionally, this is the fifth gray wolf poaching incident in Oregon this year. “It’s tragic enough when a wolf gets killed,” said Amaroq Weiss, the senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “And it’s even more tragic when a wolf has been illegally killed.”

Since 2015, when Oregon removed Endangered Species Act protections from the gray wolf, poachers killed at least 21 wolves in the state. In 2021, poachers killed 8 wolves, which is more in a year than the state had seen in a decade. Protections for the gray wolf were restored last year, but that hasn’t stopped poachers.

“[Wolves] are really valuable to wild nature. They’re really valuable as part of our cultural and natural heritage,” said Weiss. “No matter what you think of wolves, poaching is wrong.”

Allegedly, wolf populations remain stable enough for the time being, even with all the poaching. In 2021, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife counted a minimum of 175 gray wolves in the state. According to the department, if human-wolf interactions stay below 20%, the population will continue to grow.

Family Faces Consequences for Poaching in Colorado

Three men, a father and his two sons, were arrested in Colorado recently on suspicion of poaching. Police arrested David Schlitt, 64, Robert Schlitt, 36, and Richard Schlitt, 33, on Oct. 18 in Park County, Colorado. Allegedly, they possessed two illegally hunted elk and one bear.

“When you poach an animal, not only is it illegal, but you are stealing from the people of Colorado,” said Mark Lamb, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s area wildlife manager for Park County. “We do not tolerate poaching and take these crimes very seriously.”