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Authorities search for suspect who shot sandhill crane to death with nail gun

This sandhill crane did not survive being shot with a nail gun.
This sandhill crane did not survive being shot with a nail gun. Justin Matthews/Matthews Wildlife Rescue)

Wildlife experts are trying to find the person responsible for shooting a sandhill crane to death with a nail near the Gates Creek neighborhood in East Bradenton.

Justin Matthews with Matthews Wildlife Rescue said he was called to check on the injured bird earlier this week.

When he arrived, he was able to find the young male bird and catch him. He took the injured bird to Save Our Seabirds for medical care.

During the exam, it was discovered the bird had been shot in the neck with a nail gun.

“There’s no way this is was an accident,” said Matthews. “You have to pull on the end of a nail gun in order for it to fire and then you just pull the trigger.”

The sandhill crane did not survive.

Matthews said the Florida Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident.

He said sandhill cranes are protected and whoever did this could face a fine of $5,000 or up to a year in jail.

A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case.

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