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Salisbury man fined $124 for scuffle with 'protected' seagull at Hampton Beach

Union Leader Correspondent

September 06. 2018 2:49PM
Fish and Game says a seagull at Hampton Beach was not intentionally injured by a beachgoer on Aug. 26. (FACEBOOK)

HAMPTON - A New Hampshire man who says he accidentally kicked a seagull after another one made off with his cheeseburger has been fined $124.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department charged Nate Rancloes, 33, of Salisbury, with a violation-level offense after the bird was injured during a scuffle Aug. 26 at Hampton Beach.

Fish and Game Lt. Michael Eastman said he doesn’t believe Rancloes intended to harm the gull, but it is a federally-protected bird and it was injured during the incident.

“I don’t think there was any culpable mental state in what he did,” Eastman said.

Authorities began investigating after beachgoer April Novak reported the incident to Hampton police and posted photographs of the seagull and Rancloes on Facebook, claiming that he was seen “slamming a seagull with his foot.” At the time of the posting, Rancloes had not been identified.

Hampton police turned the investigation over to Fish and Game.

Rancloes told Fish and Game officers that he was at the beach with his daughter when some seagulls approached them. When one of the seagulls flew off with his cheeseburger, Rancloes explained that he spun around in the sand as he tried to fend them off and that his foot accidentally kicked another seagull.

Rancloes was charged with taking a protected bird during closed season, which is a violation punishable by a fine; there is no open season for hunting seagulls.

Eastman said “taking” covers a variety of things, including harassment of a protected bird.

The status of the seagull and its injury wasn’t clear. Novak claimed it appeared that one of the bird’s legs was broken.

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