Michael and Neil Fletcher were hunting for grouse when they went into a wooded area near Sudbury, Ontario, where they ended up finding quite a different bird than they were after.

The hunters said that while walking through the snow near Windy Lake last Tuesday, they discovered a bald eagle caught in a leg hold trap.

“It was attached to a stake and the eagle was trying to fly up, but it only had a foot of slack in the chain,” Michael Fletcher told The Sudbury Star.

It was impossible to know how long the bird had been trapped there, but it still appeared to be healthy and active. Still, eventually the bird would exhaust itself and make it that much harder to release successfully, so the brothers decided not to wait for wildlife officials and free the bird as soon as possible.

“As soon as he realized we were trying to help he kind of calmed down a little bit. His head would kind of move back and forth to look at us, but that was the most he’d do,” Neil Fletcher told the CBC.

The eagle actually held onto the trap instead of releasing it, making their job that much harder. The hunters eventually draped a sweater over the eagle and were able to calm it down enough to be released. The eagle was exhausted after the ordeal so the brothers decided to take advantage of the unique opportunity and take a selfie with the bird of prey, which later went viral on Facebook. It may have looked tame, but the two men said they were lucky to have escaped without being clawed or bitten.

“I was surprised by the size, and that it’s such a beautiful bird,” said Michael. “When you see the eyes up close, they’re really amazing.”

Me and Neil found this eagle in a trap

Posted by Michael Fletcher on Tuesday, November 24, 2015


After recovering for about 10 minutes, the eagle flew up and perched on a nearby tree. It remained there until they left. The brothers later contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which informed them that they did the right thing—but bald eagles should always be approached carefully. After all, Canada’s largest bird of prey—or just about anything with talons that big—deserves some respect. Coincidentally, the brothers say they saw no grouse in the area. Perhaps the eagle’s cries scared them all away.

Posted by Michael Fletcher on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Image from Facebook

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