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Corps members attempt to capture golden eagle

Corps members from our southern district spent three weeks in late January and early February attempting to trap a golden eagle so it could be outfitted with a GPS tracking device. Working with the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Dylan Olson and Brittany Schmit set traps using live and recently put-down turkeys, tethered to the ground high on a bluff. Olson and Schmit spent most of their time (160 hours each) outside, warmed by a propane heater, watching and hoping for a golden eagle to take the bait. Corps member Dave Smith also assisted one day.
 
The National Eagle Center is currently tracking three golden eagles trapped over the past several years. Each year, the Center attempts to trap more, not always successfully. Though the corps members ultimately didn’t net an eagle, they fine-tuned the strategy. Instead of parking their Suburban in plain view, they moved it to a more hidden location and positioned themselves in blinds and deer stands. They spotted up to six golden eagles each day and had a number of close catches, where eagles swooped in and strafed the bait to see if it moved, but were not able to close the deal. As they finished their final week, they left one trap and set up two trail cams, hoping to monitor what attracts eagles to the bait and further hone their strategy. Read an article by Adam Voge of the Winona Daily News on the challenges faced by Olson and Schmit.
 
Photo: Dylan Olson sets a bow trap to catch a golden eagle near Wabasha. Photo courtesy of Andrew Link, Winona Daily News.