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Federally protected hawk shot, killed in South Salt Lake

Posted at 11:27 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 01:37:33-05

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Wildlife officials are looking for whoever shot and killed a wild hawk in a South Salt Lake neighborhood earlier this week.

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a resident saw a sharp-shinned hawk that was perched in a tree get shot and fall to the ground Sunday around 12:30 p.m.

The DWR said the bird was shot by what appeared to be a small-caliber firearm — possibly an air rifle or a .22 that may have been suppressed. The witness didn't hear a gunshot, nor did they see the suspect.

The bullet went all the way through the hawk and there were bullet fragments found inside its body, DWR conservation officer Nick Vidrine said.

Sharp-shinned hawks are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"They're important," Vidrine said. "They're protected, there's no [hunting] season on them, there's no reason they should be shot."

There are no known suspects at this time, nor any other witnesses.

The DWR asks anyone who saw something suspicious that day in the area of 3600 South and 500 East to call the Utah Turn-in-a-Poacher (UTiP) hotline: 1-800-662-3337. They can also contact Vidrine directly at 385-335-0093 or submit a poaching report on the department's website.

If found, the culprit would be charged with class-B misdemeanor wanton destruction of protected wildlife, Vidrine said. There is a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the poacher.