Owl dies after caught in trap

December 5, 2012

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The Great Outdoors doesn’t seem so great right now for Bryan Nace as he feels the loss of one of nature’s graceful gifts.

A great horned owl that Nace and his wife Karen had enjoyed seeing flying over their land for the last few years in southern Hood County died late last week after its right claw was caught in a double-spring animal trap.

Hood County Game Warden Deshanna Creager said that both owls and hawks are federally protected.

She said that when she worked as a game warden in East Texas, she once dealt with someone who tried to use traps to catch hawks that were eating his chickens.

But she said there was no indication of criminal intent or activity in this case.

“There are no neighbors close,” Creager said. “It flew with (the trap) for who knows how far.”

Nace said he had noticed two adult owls in the area for four or five years. Recently, the Naces also spotted a baby owl, he said.

“I was very upset because it was some wildlife that had been around probably for years and it had to die a pretty horrible death – and there wasn’t anything I could do about it,” said Nace, who moved to Hood County from Pennsylvania with his wife in 1989, and bought the land in 1998.

“What happened was, the trap got hung up in the tree and he couldn’t get free of the trap.”

Nace said he found the owl Friday afternoon, hanging upside down in a tree within sight of their home, which is on 82 acres off of Mitchell Bend Court in the Mambrino area about 10 miles from Granbury. He said there is no way of knowing how far away the owl was when it got tangled in the trap – which likely was intended for foxes or raccoons.

Nevertheless, he said losing the owl disgusted him. He wondered if the person who set out the trap had been checking it often enough.

“In my younger days when I used to trap, I had to visit my traps twice a day, specifically to avoid things like this,” said Nace, who is a wireless networking engineer. “If you get there soon enough, you can set them free.”

Nace estimated the owl’s wingspan at 36 inches.

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