Northern Ontario angler has close encounter with a bald eagle
GREATER SUDBURY -- A northern Ontario angler captured the incredible moment a bald eagle swooped in and snatched a large fish off of a man's boat paddle.
Fisherman Kevin Labrosse, 29, tells CTV News that he has spent his whole life in the Temiskaming area and a recent encounter on a local lake has him in awe.
Labrosse was fishing with his girlfriend on Lake Temiskaming one evening this week when he caught a walleye on his line using a normal pink jig. As he was reeling in the fish, a bald eagle swooped down at his head and tried to take the fish.
The angler says he felt intimidated because the large bird was wider than the width of the boat they were in and the bird began circling overhead. Labrosse says he sees eagles in the area once in a while, but never that close.
He decided to sacrifice his 13-inch walleye to the bird of prey and held it over the water with a paddle.
It wasn't too long after that the bald eagle swooped down again, this time snatching the fish.
His girlfriend, Claudie Morin, who was sitting at the front of the boat, was ready with her camera and was able to capture the bird of prey in action.
The eagle flew to a nearby tree to enjoy its meal and when it was done, continued to watch the pair in the boat from a branch on shore.
A few comments on the CTV News Facebook post featuring the video express concerns over the legality of what transpired in the video.
Karen Passmore, of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, says that this situation would not be considered falconry, which is the use of a specially trained bird of prey used to hunt wild game. In Ontario, you must have a licence to practice falconry.
The ministry official also says it is not illegal to feed a bird of prey, however:
"If the eagle was injured as a result of the activity, it could be considered a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) - unlawfully hunting an eagle (as hunting includes harassing and this could be considered harassment). The use of a fish that was suitable for human consumption could be considered an infraction under the FWCA; it is an offence to abandon fish that you have caught, or permit the fish to become unsuitable for human consumption."
Passmore also advises against feeding any wildlife.
"Wildlife needs to be able to fend for itself; feeding wildlife may result in the wildlife becoming habituated to humans, which may result in wildlife-human encounters that cause safety concerns for the wildlife and the humans," said Passmore.
Labrosse's video has over 2,300 views on social media already.
The local paper mill employee says the encounter has not deterred him from partaking in one of his favourite past times, but in fact, has him even more excited.