Hunter ticketed after trumpeter swan killed near Plattsmouth

A 36-year-old Omaha waterfowl hunter has been ticketed on suspicion of shooting a protected trumpeter swan near Plattsmouth.

The swan was shot Dec. 27 at Schilling Wildlife Management Area near the Platte and Missouri Rivers, said Heath Packett, a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission conservation officer in Cass County.

The Omaha man, who was hunting for ducks and Canada geese in the area, was ticketed Saturday on suspicion of taking game in a closed season, which could result in a $200 fine, Packett said. The man also would have to pay a game replacement fee of $750 for taking the big bird, he said.

The man’s shotgun was not confiscated, Packett said.

“He said he made a mistake and thought it was a goose,” Packett said of the hunter. “It happens. People do mistake them for geese.”

It was the second swan shot in the area recently, he said.

There is no trumpeter hunting season in Nebraska.

Packett said about 30 to 34 trumpeters are migrating through the area. The snow-white birds will roost at Schilling, fly across the Missouri River into Iowa to feed and then return.

“They’ll stay for a while and rest up,” he said.

Trumpeter swans can have a wingspan of almost 10 feet and weigh 25 to 30 pounds.

Packett said the Schilling swan measured 5 feet from beak to feet. Canada geese are smaller and darker than the swans, with brown bodies, black necks and heads, and white chinstraps.

Since the shooting, he said, signs have been erected at Schilling warning waterfowl hunters about protected trumpeters in the area.

Packett had a few words of advice for hunters taking aim at waterfowl: “Be sure to identify your target before you shoot.”

He also urged hunters who witness any game violations to call 1-800-742-SNAP.

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