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Salem police officers rescued this American Bald Eagle from a hunter's trap on Wednesday. Police are now investigating who set the trap. (COURTESY)

Salem police rescue American Bald Eagle from trap

SALEM - An American Bald Eagle caught in a hunter's trap in a wooded area near the state line was rescued by two police officers on Wednesday afternoon.

While the eagle turned out fine, police are now investigating who set the trap after notifying federal authorities about the incident.

Sergeant Mike Wagner and Officer John O'Donnell responded to a call about 3 p.m. by a Methuen, Mass. man who found the eagle while scouting hunting spots with a friend.

The caller, James Ransom, brought the two officers to a clearing about 100 yards off of Garabedian Drive where the bird was found.

The eagle's right leg was caught in a metal snap-type trap, police said. The trap was set up alongside the remains of a recently skinned beaver, which likely drew in the eagle, police said.

Wagner and O'Donnell approached the eagle and covered it with a blanket. O'Donnell held the blanket while Wagner and Ransom first untangled the eagle's wing from around a small tree, police said. They then went to work on the jaws the trap.

Once they released the jaws of the trap, the officers discovered that the eagle only suffered a minor laceration on one of its talons where the trap snapped shut.

The officers were still unsure if the eagle was able to fly. Wagner attempted to pick the eagle up with the blanket, but it flew right out of his hands.

The three men watched the eagle fly several hundred yards away, where it landed on top of a large pine tree.

During the rescue, officers found an identification band on the eagle's leg that had a serial number used to track the bird. Police notified federal authorities about the eagle rescue and filed a report to them on the matter.

American Bald Eagles were removed from the list of threatened and endangered species in August 2007, but they are still federally protected and monitored, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Police removed the trap from the area and are now investigating who is responsible for setting it up. New Hampshire Fish and Game also have been contacted to assist in the investigation.

Police said that anyone with information about the trap at that location is being asked to call Wagner at 603-893-1911.

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