Dead Bald Eagle With Deer's Severed Head in Talons Spotted in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin hunter made a bizarre discovery on Wednesday, when he stumbled across a dead bald eagle with the severed head of a deer still clutched in its talons.

Barron resident Neal Herrman was on the hunt for turkeys when he came across the bizarre scene.

"I noticed something white out in the field, just a white spot... I put my binoculars on, and I thought, 'I'm pretty sure that's a bald eagle over there,'" Herrman told FOX31 Denver KDVR.

When the hunter approached the dead bird, he was surprised to find the head of young deer in its talons.

"I walked down to it, I saw it had a newborn fawn in its talons," Herrman said. "I would guess the deer had been dead for three days or so. And the eagle only about 12 hours."

The hunter posted several pictures of the eagle and deer head to Facebook on Wednesday.

"For sure one of the crazier things I've come across while out hunting," he wrote in the post.

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Herrman knew that he should notify Wisconsin wildlife officials as soon as possible. But there was no cell signal in the area where he made the find.

So, the avid hunter drove a few miles away to a spot where he had service and called his brother-in-law Greg Moen—an employee of the Dunn County Sheriff's office—who in turn contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR.)

The DNR asked Herrman if he could bring the eagle with the fawn's head in its talons to the department's offices.

"When I picked up that fawn, it stayed right in [the eagle's] talons," Herrman said.

Bald eagles are the national bird of the U.S., with their range spanning across vast swathes of North America from Alaska and Canada down to Florida and northern Mexico.

The birds of prey are opportunistic feeders, with a diet consisting mostly of fish, small mammals and carrion. While it is rare for bald eagles to prey on live deer, it is not uncommon for the birds scavenge on dead deer, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

It is not clear how the eagle Herrman spotted died, but the DNR told the hunter that they would inform him if they uncovered anything.

"Everybody's got a theory on it," Herrman said.

The hunter said one of his friends believed that the eagle was likely electrocuted by power lines that were located nearby.

"Anything's possible. I don't know," Herrman said. "That eagle definitely had a death grip on that fawn. It was pretty crazy."

A bald eagle.
Stock image of a a mature bald eagle. A hunter in Wisconsin stumbled across a dead bald eagle with the head of a deer in its talons. iStock