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New York man shoots bald eagle over dead deer used as coyote bait

CAROLINE, N.Y. (AP) -- State environmental conservation officials have charged an upstate New York man with fatally shooting a bald eagle drawn to dead deer placed as bait for killing coyotes.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says an enforcement officer responded Saturday to a report of gunfire in a field in the rural Tompkins County town of Caroline, 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Syracuse. He found a dead adult eagle near deer carcasses.

Authorities say the man said he mistook the eagle for a turkey vulture, which is also a protected species. Bald eagles are listed as "threatened" in New York.

The man was charged with three violations of state environmental conservation law, including illegal taking of a bald eagle and killing protected wildlife.

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