Jimmie Nichols was among a group of hunters who found this injured bald eagle in Rankin county Sunday.
"That's probably the most majestic animal I've ever seen," said Nichols. "Words can't describe the look in it's face. It's like the eagle knows that he's hurt. At the same time he's like, I'm hurt but you don't want to mess with me."
Nichols says another eagle flew off as they approached it. He suspects it was the injured eagles mate. The birds usually mate for life.
X-rays showed buck shots in the eagles groin area. It's being treated by vets, but still refuses to fly, although X-rays showed no signs of injury.
Jim Walker spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks says,
"To shoot our national bird you can't explain it," said Mississippi DDepartmentof Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks spokesman Jim Walker. "The penalty for that is 100 thousand dollars and a year in jail. If we apprehend these individuals were going for the max in Federal court."
Wildlife officials say the bald eagles are protected by federal and state laws. They're now hoping a reward of $2,500.00 will help find those responsible.
"Most people who are out in the woods handling a firearm are ethically honest and do the right thing," added Walker. "Like everything else, you got some who are always going to go and break the law."
Anyone with information on the shot bald eagle is asked to call the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks at 1-800-237-6278. Or USFWS Special Agent Brad Rabalais at 601-331-0292.
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