There are certain things in life that I've never been able to fully understand. Like killing things for absolutely no reason other than to kill something. If there's a thrill, or an incredible sense of joy that comes with doing that, I simply cannot wrap my head around it.

Then, when someone decides to do what an unknown person (at least for right now) in Wisconsin did earlier this month, shoot and mortally wound a bald eagle, my inability to comprehend why gets shoved aside and is replaced with good, old-fashioned anger.

Getty Images
Getty Images

The Bald Eagle That Was Found Badly Injured In A Wisconsin Field On December 7th Has Died From Its Gunshot Wound During Surgery

The eagle did make it through its first surgery Thursday of last week, but went into cardiac arrest and died Monday during a second surgery that was attempting to stabilize the eagle's condition.

An examination at the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Milwaukee revealed that the eagle had been shot with a firearm, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday. It had a broken beak, fractured humerus bone and a substantial wound to muscle and other soft tissues in its wing.

"Despite lifesaving efforts, including CPR, he was unable to be resuscitated," the Humane Society said in announcing its death. "We are mourning the loss of this eagle alongside our community."

Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Wisconsin Humane Society, Facebook
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Wisconsin Humane Society, Facebook

So What Happens To Someone Who Shoots A Bald Eagle If They're Ever Caught?

I would love to tell you that they get the same treatment that they gave the eagle, but we're not really an eye-for-an-eye society (most of us, anyway), so that's not what happens.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) website, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act's wording says that there are criminal penalties for persons who "take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle ... [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part (including feathers), nest, or egg thereof."

The word "take" means pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb.

The person or persons involved, if caught (and let's hope that happens) are looking at fines of up to $100,000, a year in prison, or both.

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