Shooting Of 2 Eagles In Southeast Washington Under Investigation


Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police are asking the public for information on who shot two eagles, a bald and a golden, in southeast Washington. 


The first bird was found near Payne Hollow, close to the Columbia/Walla Walla county line last week. A radiograph scan revealed that the bird had been shot, probably five to seven days before being found. The bird was still alive but so badly injured that it had to be euthanized.  

A second eagle was found a day later, in the Tucannon Habitat Management Unit, which is located downriver of Little Goose Dam. A radiograph revealed a gunshot to the leg of the juvenile bird. Estimates are that this eagle was also shot about a week prior to being found.  

The bald eagle is no longer considered endangered at either the state or federal level, but is listed as a “sensitive” species in Washington. The number of golden eagles is low in Washington and it is currently a candidate for the state threatened and endangered species list and is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) under the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP).  

Both species of eagle are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both are federal acts that prohibit  pursuing, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting or disturbing these birds.  

“Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, such activities are a misdemeanor violation with a maximum penalty of six months in prison and $15,000 fine,” said Officer Chase Copenhaver with WDFW Police. “The Bald and Golden Eagle Act also has a penalty for a first offense- a maximum fine of $5,000 and one year’s imprisonment.” 

People who come forward with information that leads to an arrest in this case may be eligible for a cash reward.  Information can be provided to Officer Copenhaver at (509) 730-0828 or on WDFW’s Report a violation page, by calling 877-933-9847, emailing, or by texting 847411 (TIP411) then entering WDFWTIP, followed by a space, and then entering your information. Tips can be submitted anonymously.  

“While eagles are no longer listed as endangered, they are still a sacred symbol for many. Illegally killing wildlife of any kind steals opportunity from the rest of us that respect the legal regulations that protect them,” said Copenhaver.