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Hunters guilty of shooting swans

Tom Jackson • Oct 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Three people were convicted Tuesday for the shooting and killing of two swans and the apparent wounding of a third in an Oct. 12 incident at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area in Sandusky County.

A surviving swan under the care of Back to the Wild died hours before the court hearing.

Robert Hagstrom, 54, of the 300 block of Deerwood Road in Huron, and his son, Mitchell Hagstrom, 20, of the same address, pleaded no contest to a charge of shooting a trumpeter swan, a fourthdegree misdemeanor. They appeared in Sandusky County’s municipal court in Clyde, court officials said.

A third defendant, Charles Catri, 72, of the 800 block of Curran St. in Sandusky, pleaded no contest to shielding and harboring an offender in a wildlife violation, and providing false information on the killing of the trumpeter swans.

Catri told wildlife officers he knew nothing about the swan shootings, but officers later learned he was with the Hagstroms, said Gino Barna, Lake Erie law enforcement supervisor at the Ohio Division of Wildlife office in Sandusky.

The Hagstroms are scheduled for sentencing Nov. 7 in Judge John Kolesar’s courtroom. Catri was given a three-day suspended jail sentence and fined $283 in fines and costs. He must also serve 20 hours of community service and six months of inactive probation.

One swan died at the scene Oct. 12, while another that was likely shot was never recovered. A third swan was wounded. It was taken to Back to the Wild, the animal care organization in Castalia, but it died on Tuesday, Barna said.

Back to the Wild founder Mona Rutger said the swan died from unknown causes. The bird had a wing wound, but that wasn’t the cause of death, Rutger said. It may have suffered internal injuries when it fell from the sky after being shot and hit the ground, or it could have had an undetected additional pellet wound.

“She didn’t do well from the time she came in. She just progressively got weaker and weaker,” Rutger said.

The Division of Wildlife will decide whether to order a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

“We have to hold her in our freezer for evidence,” Rutger said.

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