ORLANDO, Fla. – PGA Tour golfer Tripp Isenhour was charged with killing a hawk on purpose with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show
Isenhour was with a film crew for "Shoot Like A Pro" on Dec. 12 at the Grand Cypress Golf course. The 39-year-old golfer, whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, was charged Wednesday with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.
According to court documents, Isenhour got upset when a red-shouldered hawk began making noise, forcing another take. He began hitting balls at the bird, then 300 yards away, but gave up.
Isenhour started again when the hawk moved within about 75 yards, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Brian Baine indicated in a report.
Isenhour allegedly said "I'll get him now," and aimed for the hawk.
"About the sixth ball came very near the bird's head, and (Isenhour) was very excited that it was so close," Baine wrote.
A few shots later, witnesses said he hit the hawk. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.
Isenhour's agent, John Mascatello with SFX World Sports Management, did not immediately return an e-mail or telephone message Thursday.
"He just kept saying how he didn't think he could have hit it, which I think is a stupid thing for a PGA Tour golfer to say," said Jethro Senger, a sound engineer at the shoot. "He can put a ball in a hole from hundreds of yards away, and here he is hitting line drives at something that's, I don't know, a couple hundred feet away?"
Senger said it was "basically like a joke to (Isenhour)." He said no one in the roughly 15-person crew intervened, and many later regretted it.
"It was one of those cases where there's some trepidation on whether or not they should speak up and do something," Senger said.
Senger said the killing was not captured on video. The bird was buried at the golf course and later dug up by Florida investigators.
Isenhour, of Salisbury, N.C., turned pro in 1990. He had two wins on the Nationwide Tour in 2006.