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Trumpeter Swan Found Dead on Flathead Reservation
The 3-year-old swan was shot by a high-powered rifle near Buffalo Bridge on the Lower Flathead River
Tribal officials are investigating the illegal shooting of a trumpeter swan on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Game wardens with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes received a call Jan. 21 that a dead swan was discovered near Buffalo Bridge on the Lower Flathead River. The 3-year-old swan was shot by a high-powered rifle, according to wardens. Its mate remained in the vicinity after the shooting.

Tribal officials are asking the public to report any information they may have regarding this incident.

“This bird was about to reach its reproductive start and help to increase the population," said Tribal Wildlife Program manager Dale Becker. "It’s too bad that shooters can’t be responsible enough to use paper targets instead of protected wildlife. Situations like this one shine an unfavorable light on all hunters and shooters because of negative public perceptions.”

Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced to the area beginning in 1996 and the reintroduction program has been highly successful, according to Becker.

The swans have been released at several sites on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and private properties that provided the proper degree of seclusion, stable water levels, adequate aquatic vegetation for food and limited hazards.

While the reintroduction has met with good success, the importance of maintaining that success rests upon continued protection and recruitment of swans into the local population, Becker said. He noted that this particular bird was old enough to reproduce.

The swans have been fitted with a red neckband with a white alpha-numeric code, such as 0T1 and a red leg band with an alpha-numeric code such as 0T1 to assist with tracking the migration movements of the birds.

Anyone with possible information regarding this shooting is urged to contact Mike McElderry, Fish & Game investigator at tribal dispatch, at 675-4700.
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