Not this lucky swan’s final song

Hunters face charges after shooting swans.
Tom Jackson
Oct 16, 2013


Trumpeter swans — huge white birds with long necks — are difficult to confuse with ducks and geese.

That’s why two hunters who allegedly shot three swans in the Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, located on U.S. 6 between Sandusky and Fremont, aren’t getting much sympathy from fellow hunters or wildlife officials.

Click HERE to help with the rehabilitation of the swan

One swan is dead and one is recovering from a wing wound at Back to the Wild in Castalia. A third swan also was reported shot but it was not found and its condition is unknown.

The two face misdemeanor poaching charges, said Kevin Newsome, wildlife officer supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife office in Findlay.

Newsome said he did not know the names of the hunters and said a report with more information will be completed later this week. The main investigating officer was off Tuesday, he said.    

Trumpeter swans are listed as a threatened species in Ohio. They were listed as endangered until about two years ago so they are doing better, but it’s still illegal to hunt them anywhere in Ohio, Newsome said.

Fellow hunters who witnessed the swans being shot phoned wildlife officers on the state’s 1-800-POACHER tip line after witnessing the incident. Officers soon arrived on the scene, and the hunters were tracked down the next day, Newsome said.

He said the reports from the other hunters were a key to the case.

“We have good witnesses,” he said.

The hunters face likely citations, possible suspension of hunting licenses and restitution that could cost $1,000 a bird, Newsome said. The judge also could order the hunters to reimburse Back to the Wild for the cost of nursing the wounded swan back to health, he said.

Newsome said swan shootings in Ohio are rare but not unknown. In many cases, the shootings are not deliberate and involve inexperienced hunters, he said. Waterfowl hunters should hunt with experienced hunters at first, he said, until they can tell swans from legally-hunted birds such as ducks and geese.

“It’s not like squirrel hunting or rabbit hunting, where everybody knows what a squirrel looks like,” he said.

Back to the Wild, located in Castalia, nurses injured wild animals and releases them back into their native habitat.

That’s the plan for the swan, which has an injury to the wing and is believed to be female, said Mona Rutger, Back to the Wild’s founder and leader.

“We got good news today. It might possibly be releasable by spring,” she said.

Trumpeter swans are the heaviest bird in North America. The huge birds are vegetarians, gobbling up grain and plants.

Their wings pack a wallop, as Rutger discovered when the swan hit her when Rutger was giving it medicine.

“It leaves a bruise. It’s like being struck by a two-by- four,” Rutger said.



On purpose or by accident, the "hunters", deserve punishment for being stupid.

Capt. Ford

Thanks Mona and staff and Bill and

Señor Clown

Aren't trumpeter swans protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act? If the US Fish & Wildlife Services weren't on shutdown, the fine would probably be much more costly, as in up to $15,000 per bird.


There is a BIG difference between a duck and a Trumpeter Swan. If these "hunters" didn't know the difference, they should NOT be hunting ANYTHING. Take the license. Take the gun permits. Fine the hell out of them!


I agree ladydye, What are they, Elmer Fudd wannabees, make sure you know what your aiming at. Be careful out there.


I was supposed to hunt Saturday in a zone close to where they were shot. I did not go but my buddies did. They seen them get up and one made the comment I hope they make it out of the marsh. They were limited to numbers to call so they called me for access to a phone book and the internet. Most numbers went to voice mail. I did get in touch with 1-800-POACHER as well as SCSO and they got someone there. Not hard to ID the hunters as the permits are drawn and mailed to the hunter. I offered to bring a dog out to look for the other swan but never heard back. My buddies as well as a group in another zone did the right things to bring justice.


Great job to you and your friends LabMan! Thank you!