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Any beachgoer can relate to the feeling of sheer dread and helplessness that takes hold when a seagull swoops into their vicinity — especially if food is nearby.
Adding to the anxiety for one New Hampshire man is a $124 fine. The man, Nate Rancloes, was levied the charge after a seagull shooing incident on Hampton Beach, also in New Hampshire, that went haywire. According to Rancloes’ version of events, he was just trying to enjoy a hamburger on the beach when an aggressive seagull swooped into his proximity. In a blur of shooing movements, Rancloes accidentally kicked the gull.
“I’d like to apologize and explain what happened,” Rancloes told local media outlet NH1.com. “I had just gotten back from getting a cheeseburger and fries. I was sitting on the sand. Seagulls got to my burger, and while still sitting in the sand, I spun around in a circle with my leg out to shoo it away, and unfortunately, did strike the seagull hard. It was a one in a million bad luck kick that couldn’t be repeated. This is no more than a simple mistake.”
Even though the kick was an accident, New Hampshire Fish and Game will move forward with charging Rancloes for harming a federally protected bird, for which the $124 fine is the punishment.
According to NH1, a witness corroborated to the fish and game department that the kick was an accidental repercussion of the shooing away from the burger, despite several people posting on social media that Rancloes had harmed the bird on purpose.
Almost all types of gulls are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, meaning all beachgoers in the US must be careful how they shoo away the pesky avians or face a fine for violating the federal law, like Rancloes.
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