Protected Birds Shot And Killed On Lake Palestine - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/27/07- Chandler

Protected Birds Shot And Killed On Lake Palestine

Two Tyler teenagers are facing a list of charges Saturday after shooting and killing two white pelicans.  It happened Saturday morning off FM 315 in the Northwest corner of Lake Palestine. Henderson County Game Wardens say they received an anonymous call around 8:00 a.m. from someone who witnessed the shooting.

It's an early start to hunting season this weekend just for kids 16 and under.  Game wardens say the two teenagers who killed the protected pelicans were illegally hunting because they are 17 and 18-years old.  White pelicans migrate to the waters of Lake Palestine during the summer.  Game wardens say these beautiful birds are off limits to hunters.

"They're available to view and look at and think that they're pretty cool birds, but not to shoot," said Smith County Game Warden Chris Green.  The white pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

"They're protected because they're not in abundance," said Green.  "There's three species. They are threatened, endangered and protected.  Most of our birds are protected," said Green.  The fact that two of these birds were shot and killed concerns and saddens many residents living near the lake.

"That really gets to me," said Lake Palestine resident Sam Oliphant.  "They're beautiful animals, and we love to sit out here on the porch and look at them in the morning.  It's just not right for them to do that.  The crime was reported by an anonymous call on the game wardens tip line. It's something they encourage every hunter to use.  Game wardens also say the two teens responsible made a big mistake, not realizing the seriousness of the crime.

"I don't think they did it out of just pure meanness," said Green.  "I think it was just kids out there.  They shot a few water fowl, and unfortunately shot the white pelican.  It was a little bit of peer pressure, and they made a bad decision."  A bad decision that they hope will be a lesson learned.

Game wardens say the teens could lost their hunting licenses for a year.  They also say the teens will pay several fines, ranging up to $500 dollars a piece.  They will also pay restitution fees of about $250, which will cover the cost of replacing the birds.

Courtney Lane, Reporting.

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