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Game commission investigating shooting of three protected trumpeter swans

Posted at 2:53 PM, Nov 09, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — State conservation officers are investigating the recent killing of three trumpeter swans in northwest Nebraska’s Sioux County.

The swans, which are a designated “at-risk” species that is not to be hunted, were found dead from gunshots on Friday near the junction of Nebraska Highway 29 and River Road, south of Harrison, according to Conservation Officer Josh Widhelm of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The site is the entrance to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument along the Niobrara River.

A white bird with a black bill, black legs and black feet, trumpeter swans have an 8-foot wingspan and are North America’s largest species of waterfowl.

A pair of trumpeter swans on a private pond west of North Platte in Lincoln County. (Courtesy of Nebraskaland Magazine/ Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)

The species was nearly driven to extinction in the early 20th century, according to a press release from Game and Park, but conservation efforts have been successful. Many breeding pairs have taken up residence in the Sandhills, and others migrate through Nebraska in the spring and fall.

Anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call the Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers hotline at 800-742-7627 or report online to the

Reports are anonymous. Information that leads to prosecution for a wildlife violation may be eligible for a reward.

Nebraska Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nebraska Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Cate Folsom for questions: Follow Nebraska Examiner on Facebook and Twitter.

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