Public Safety

Eastern Iowa men charged with illegally shooting trumpeter swan

Men thought protected bird was a snow goose, Iowa DNR reported

A trumpeter swan makes its way to open water at the Atherton Wetland south of Ely. Three Eastern Iowa men were charged with shooting a trumpeter swan in Muscatine County. They told investigators they thought the bird was a snow goose, which is legal to hunt. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A trumpeter swan makes its way to open water at the Atherton Wetland south of Ely. Three Eastern Iowa men were charged with shooting a trumpeter swan in Muscatine County. They told investigators they thought the bird was a snow goose, which is legal to hunt. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Three Eastern Iowa men have been charged with illegally shooting a trumpeter swan in Muscatine County.

The men — Austin McMillan, 27, of West Branch; Daniel Solorio-Oldenburg, 26, of Cedar Rapids; and Mitchell Kesterson, 28, of Van Horne — were charged with one count each of attempt to take wildlife and abandonment of wildlife.

The charges are simple misdemeanors that carry a combined fine of $320. The men’s hunting licenses could be suspended, depending on whether there are previous infractions, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Derrick Slutts said.

DNR officers received a call Sunday that a trumpeter swan had been shot at the Cedar Bottoms Wildlife Management Area in Muscatine County, the DNR reported Wednesday.

When the officers arrived, the men had left, but evidence at the scene led the officers to a possible suspect.

When the DNR later interviewed the men, they confessed to shooting the trumpeter swan, mistaking it for a snow goose. It is legal to hunt snow geese in certain seasons in the fall.

“The swan has been seized and will be preserved and displayed for educational and informational outreach purposes,” the DNR reported. “The DNR reminds of the importance of properly identifying targets before taking a shot.”

The bird was not wearing a band the DNR uses to track some swans, Slutts said.

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Trumpeter swans are native to Iowa, but their numbers were dramatically reduced by overhunting and draining of wetlands, the Iowa DNR said. The agency reported in 2017 a resurgence in the population.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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