Two Iowa teens have been charged and will have their hunting licenses suspended after allegedly shooting an eagle last month.
Poweshiek County Sheriff Thomas Kriegel said that the two 15-year-old boys had been charged with unlawful manner of conveyance (loaded gun), shooting a rifle from the roadway, prohibited hunting near buildings or feedlots and killing protected non-game, according to KCCIM.
One of the teens was also facing additional charges for violations of conditions of minor's school license and operating a motor vehicle without registration.
The cases were being referred to juvenile court.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was expected suspend the teens' hunting licenses, and seek restitution for veterinary bills.
On Feb. 12, the two boys had been shooting at things after school near Montezuma when a witness noticed the eagle fall out of a tree outside her window, Kriegel said. She observed the eagle struggling on the ground, but then heard a second shot.
The witness contacted the sheriff, who picked the bird up and transported it to a veterinarian.
Veterinarian K.C. Cornish determined that the eagle could have lived if it had not been shot the second time.
Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles were taken off the endangered species list in 2007, but shooting them is still punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to one year in jail. However, a permit can be obtained from the Department of Interior to legally shoot the birds.
Watch the video below from KCCI, broadcast March 3, 2014.
[A beautiful American Bald Eagle as it searches for prey via Shutterstock.com]