Posted: Aug 30, 2014 3:47 PM GDTUpdated: Aug 31, 2014 12:51 AM GDT
By Ashleigh Holland, Reporter - email
Jasper County, S.C. -
UPDATE: Birds like the great horned owl and the red tailed hawk are protected by law.
“People were killing more birds in their summer area, and then by the time winter would come, there would be no birds there that would normally be there, so they enacted what's called the Migratory Bird Treaty,” Robert Rommel says.
Rommel is the Vice President of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Club. He says it's no surprise the treaty is sometimes violated, but he is shocked by what he hears went on at a Jasper County plantation.
“It was shocking and mind-opening, to think that people had been engaging obviously knowingly. It's not that they didn't know that they were harming the animals," Rommel says.
Three men were caught trapping and shooting more than 30 great horned owls and red tailed hawks at Mackay Point Plantation, in an operation that lasted for about two years. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, birds were left in cages for days sometimes.
"It would be days before the hunter would, I imagine, check on the traps to see if they caught anything. So, the bird's not eating or getting any water, and may be in the hot sun. I don't know where the traps were located, but yeah it's very inhumane," Rommel says.
He also believes crimes like this impact the species' population. He's just glad the men were stopped this time.