There are only 35 pairs of nesting bald eagles in New Hampshire. But that compares to just 22 pairs in 2010 as the bird — once near extinction — is making a comeback, Martin said. That figure was in the teens only five years ago, he said.
Extensive use of pesticides, such as DDT, in the 1940s and 1950s nearly wiped out the species, Martin said.
“There were no breeding pairs in the state for about 40 years,” he said.
The banning of those pesticides and the use of special metal wraps placed around trees with eagle nests has protected the eggs and eagles from predators such as raccoons, Martin said.
Predators are responsible for wiping out about half of the young eagle population, he said.
The Fish and Game Department determined the trap had been legally set, Wagner said. The trapper’s name has not been released.
“Everything is up to snuff,” Wagner said. “He abided by all the laws.”
Fish and Game biologist Patrick Tate confirmed there were no violations. He said people are required to check their traps on a daily basis.
Wagner said it took him, O’Donnell and Ransom about half an hour to free the eagle. Wagner and O’Donnell said the rescue was one of the most rewarding moments of their police careers.
“I would do anything to help a poor animal in distress,” Wagner said. “It was probably one of the most exciting calls I’ve ever had.”