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DNR officer out to catch trumpeter swan killer

A trumpeter swan, like these two pictured in this undated photo, was found dead in northern Kandiyohi County. The swan is on the protected species list. AP Photo

COLFAX TOWNSHIP -- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Jim Steffen is looking for the person who shot and killed a trumpeter swan in the northern part of Kandiyohi County.

The carcass of the protected species was found along a secluded gravel road near a large slough. Steffen said Wednesday that he estimates the bird was killed about 10 days ago.

The trumpeter was hunted to extinction in Minnesota for its feathers and meat. The DNR reintroduced the species in 1987 with a 21-bird release in Becker County financed by the Non-Game Wildlife Fund.

"There's no mistaking the trumpeter (for a game bird)," said Steffen. "It's fully protected. We're offering a (Turn in Poachers) award for information leading to conviction."

The killing occurred west of Timberlake Road along 240th Avenue Northwest where it rims a wetland on the south.

Steffen said such "thrill killings" are often done from a car or pickup window. Typically, it's not just one incident, but they may be part of a series while out "roading," he added.

"Someone out there can help us," said Steffen. "These people always boast about what they've done. It slips out."

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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