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(NECN: Lauren Collins - Salem, N.H.) – Long-time hunter Jim Ransom and a friend were out scouting deer on Thanksgiving afternoon when they came across a rare sight.
“My buddy and I both grabbed our cell phones to get a picture of it,” Ransom said. “Yeah, you don't see them all the time.”
It was majestic: a bald eagle in the brush along Interstate 93.
“But we ended up having to help it,” Ransom said.
The bird was in trouble. It had stopped to feast on a beaver carcass when its talon got caught in a trap. The trap was legally set by another local hunter, most likely to catch coyotes or foxes, and chances are, the eagle hadn't been in it very long.
“When they were walking, they might have disturbed the eagle,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Conservation Officer Chris Brison. “The eagle might have ended up going into this particular foothold trap, which is not designed to hold birds at all.”
Ransom and his friend called Salem Police. Sergeant Mike Wagner arrived, and together, the men covered the eagle in a blanket, released its talon from the trap, and before they could check to see if it was injured, “it just flew off and it circled and [it was] gone,” Ransom said.
“I had a good feeling that he was going to be fine,” Wagner said. “Especially when I saw him fly away.”
Bald eagles are a federally-protected threatened species and our national bird. Of all days to rescue one, “this is certainly a Thanksgiving I will never forget,” Wagner said. “I will remember this one for a long time to come.”
Ransom doesn’t think he’ll ever see anything like it again: “I doubt I'll ever touch one again. It was awesome, for sure.”