The late Elmer Keith, highly regarded as the best sheep hunter/ guide ever, wrote in his book, “Hell, I was there”, that he had no problem killing Bald and Golden Eagles, for doing the exact same thing. And this was a hundred years ago. Thing certainly have changed.
Have seen golden eagles working as a pair knock bighorn sheep lambs and ewes off the cliffs in the summer when I worked up at the Climax Mine in Colorado.
My grandad was a sheep rancher and I can remember him setting traps for eagles and shooting them any time he saw one. My folks had goats on their ranch down in SW Texas and the eagles would kill quite a few of their lambs in the spring. Adds up to some pretty big losses pretty quickly.
We have a golden eagle pair that lives near our place in Newfy. Their wingspans are huge. The gulls go nuts when they or the bald eagles are soaring over the water. Saw a baldy grab a gull in midair that was harassing him. I saw a baldy grab a young otter off the ice up here on the Androscoggin River, fly about 100 feet in the air and drop it onto the ice, killing it. It then ate part of it.
A friend of mine watched 2 Goldens take down a fawn Antelope a couple of years ago from a waterhole blind. Two more came in a fed after the initial takedown. He later walked over to see how much waste there was and it looked like a trained surgeon had went to work on it with a scalpel. They even split the skull cap and ate the brains. Judging by several other bone piles close by, this area was a routine spot for them to kill them. IMO they are basically a flying Coyote.
Birds of prey are very hard on most everything. Since it has become accustomed to let them live, plus a government designation of protection, Wild turkeys, Quail, grouse, and all other smaller game has declined in many areas. People say clean farming, coyotes, etc.... are the culprits. But, according to some biologists here, the raptors are killing more. Since we are not a huge agriculture state and, have seen the decline first hand, I tend to agree.