A Look inside Badges, Bears and Eagles: Chapter 1, “The Eagle Case”
Early on the morning of February 15, 1985, Inspector Dave Nelson, enforcement chief for the California Department of Fish and Game’s Redding office, arrived for work. As he pulled into the office parking lot, Nelson noticed a black garbage bag lying at the base of the locked west entrance gate. The bag contained a magnificent bald eagle that had obviously been shot—blood dripped from its nostrils and breast area. Attached to the eagle’s leg was an expletive-laden, handwritten note, threatening the life of Fish and Game Warden Merton Hatcher.
Determined to track down and prosecute the perpetrators of this heinous crime, I began a year-long investigation that would eventually involve the Smithsonian Institute, the FBI and the San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner’s Necropsy Department.
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