We have an update on the status of charges filed against a McKean Township man for intentionally shooting and killing a protected adult bald eagle last month.

Court records confirm that Daniel Haddix, 77 entered a guilty plea on Friday to one count of unlawful taking or possessing game or wildlife.  The plea was entered before Magisterial District Judge Denise Stuck-Lewis in McKean.

A second summary charge against Haddix for hunting unlawfully in a safety zone was withdrawn.

State Game Warden Michael Stutts who investigated the case said it was the first time he was called to pick up a bald eagle that had been shot. "Normally we pick them up for various reasons, either hit by cars, injured from fighting each other, hitting power lines or just sick birds in general, but this was the first bird that I’ve picked up that had been shot."  

Haddix told game commission investigators that he shot and killed the eagle because he feared it would harm his barn cats. He told them he knew he hit it and saw it fly over his home and heard it hit the ground in his neighbor's field across the road. 

Game Commission officials said the eagle was the largest one they have seen in the region.  It was shot behind the Haddix home on South Hill Road, then fell and died in the neighbor's yard across the street.

The judge fined Haddix $200 on the charge of unlawfully taking wildlife, and ordered him to pay $2,500 in restitution as well as court costs.

Haddix had a lifetime senior hunting license which may also be revoked.

As we first reported, the bald eagle has been held as evidence until prosecution of the case is completed.  After that the eagle's remains will be turned over to the Native American community for religious purposes.