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Thread: Swan Poachers

  1. #1
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    Default Swan Poachers

    I have been mulling over whether or not to post this story for a week now. Anonymity bestows a certain peace of mind but I suppose if those who are in hot water right now really wanted to find me they could and this is a story worth telling. Here it is……….

    Last Sunday a couple of buddies and I headed out to Maud Road to do a little waterfowl hunting in the swamp despite the reports of ducks being few and far between. We launched at Mud Lake with the intent to run back to Swan/Leaf. However, our outboard was acting up and we decided to play it safe and came back to Mud Lake and try our luck there. We set-up on the backside of the ridge about a half mile straight out from the boat launch on the right and waited for the ducks to cooperate. It was a beautiful blue-sky day on the swamp and not unexpectedly the ducks were scarce and the ones interested in our decoy spread were even scarcer.

    I was sitting back enjoying the scenery when I heard three shots in quick succession off to my left. It sounded like the shots came from the boat launch area which I couldn’t see and peering in that direction I didn’t notice anyone around in my line of sight. However, a few seconds later a flight of three swans came into view on my left flying low over the water making a bee-line away from where the shots had come from. I was about 200-250 yards away but I could clearly see the swan in the back was hurting. This was confirmed when it hit the water in a crumpled mess and the other two swans made a graceful right turn landing 70 yards in front of me. I got out my binos and focused on the downed swan which had managed to pull itself together and despite what looked like a broken wing started slowly swimming away. I called over to my buddy 30 yards away and told him that I think someone had wounded a swan. He came over to where I was and at about that time a jonboat with two guys motored into view heading for the downed bird. My buddy dug out his video camera while I focused my binos on the boat and watched the guy in the front raise his gun and shoot the crippled swan on the water. I then watched as they retrieved the big white bird, wrung its neck and stashed it in the boat. All the while my buddy was recording events with his 1080p HD video camera on maximum zoom. It was about this time that I think the fellows in the jonboat noticed us watching them and quickly motored off to the far side of Mud Lake where we lost track of them.

    It took a few minutes to process what we had just seen. Could anyone really be so brazen/clueless/stupid to shoot a swan here? There was no mistaking those swans for any other waterfowl and the nearest unit that has legal swan hunting is 200 miles away. A quick check of my cell phone found that I had signal (barely) and the ADF&G violation reporting number was in my contacts list. The number got me to trooper dispatch and after a quick description of what I had witnessed they promised to send a trooper if one could be spared. About 10 minutes later I got a call back from the Palmer brownshirt on duty saying he was on the way. After packing up our spread we met the wildlife Trooper at the boat launch and described what we had witnessed and showed him the video on the small screen of the camera. After taking our statement (and checking our licences) we were about to leave when a suspiciously familiar jonboat began making its way slowly back to the launch. With another trooper on the way and the Federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officer not far behind we decided that all was well in hand and they didn’t need us around anymore.

    A few days later we got the full story of what happened after our departure. The two fellows in the jonboat were questioned when they made it back to the launch and after denying any knowledge of swan shooting eventually confessed when made aware of the witnesses and the video. The dead swan had been dumped in the swamp and was not with them at the time of initial contact but was retrieved. The case was handed off to Federal US Fish and Wildlife Enforcement and that is where my knowledge of events ends. I hope all the responsible sportsmen reading this will take heart in the knowledge that “the system” does work on occasion and if we take a little time and trouble to do our part in reporting violations it won’t always be in vain.

  2. #2
    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for reporting these guys. As you said, a swan can not be mistaken for any other species of waterfowl, and these guys were shooting them on purpose. They probably stashed the swan when they saw you guys. Glad to hear they got busted, and hopefully the punishment will fit the crime.

    I tip my hat to you sir!
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    "Swans are a gift" -DucksandDogs
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    Thank you.
    Jesse

    Values, integrity, honesty

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    Rep Inbound

    Thank you very much for reporting these guys. As you said, a swan can not be mistaken for any other species of waterfowl, and these guys were shooting them on purpose. They probably stashed the swan when they saw you guys. Glad to hear they got busted, and hopefully the punishment will fit the crime.

    I tip my hat to you sir!
    Ditto.
    ......
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    Great work!!!

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    In the words of Hannibal Smith... "I love it when a plan comes together..." Thanks for reporting these ass*****! When the good guys actually get the bad guys it makes it all seem right. I find the killing of swans in a closed area inexcuseable. Kinda like shooting an eagle... unmistakeable for any other bird. People who blatantly ignore the laws and requlations shouldnt be able to hunt anymore. In these days where most people have video capability on their phones, its kinda hard to understand why anyone would risk such a blatant violation. Thanks Redhead.

    dodger

    Just curious... do you have a general discription of these guys? Of their boat? Were they decked out as though they were waterfowl hunting?
    “The perils of duck hunting are great - especially for the duck.” Walter Cronkite

  7. #7

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    Redhead, thank you for sharing your story! I hope anybody that has ever been tempted to shoot a swan reads that. I'm glad you called! Those guys probably wont be shooting any more swans any time soon. Its been said before that 10% of people commit 90% of crime. Every time you get ONE guy, or two in this case, that is a significant catch!

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    I dearly love Justice.

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    Redhed,

    You are welcome around my campfire any time. Thank you!

    Jim

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    great response to a bad situation, Thank you, Bud
    Wasilla

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    Well done
    Then to make it worse they dump the meat

    Sweepint
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    Sponsor Duckhunter01's Avatar
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    Ditto...I salute you sir..great job!

    Quote Originally Posted by duckslayer56 View Post
    Rep Inbound

    Thank you very much for reporting these guys. As you said, a swan can not be mistaken for any other species of waterfowl, and these guys were shooting them on purpose. They probably stashed the swan when they saw you guys. Glad to hear they got busted, and hopefully the punishment will fit the crime.

    I tip my hat to you sir!
    President of Alaska Waterfowl Assoc.
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    You did it right now lets hope the judge gets it right

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    Quote Originally Posted by akdodger View Post
    In the words of Hannibal Smith... "I love it when a plan comes together..." Thanks for reporting these ass*****! When the good guys actually get the bad guys it makes it all seem right. I find the killing of swans in a closed area inexcuseable. Kinda like shooting an eagle... unmistakeable for any other bird. People who blatantly ignore the laws and requlations shouldnt be able to hunt anymore. In these days where most people have video capability on their phones, its kinda hard to understand why anyone would risk such a blatant violation. Thanks Redhead.

    dodger

    Just curious... do you have a general discription of these guys? Of their boat? Were they decked out as though they were waterfowl hunting?
    The swan shooters were wearing camo and travelling in a flat bottomed jonboat with a long-tail mud motor. They more or less looked like typical duck hunters acting in very atypical manner.

  15. #15
    Member AK375HH's Avatar
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    Default Swan Poachers

    No doubt they would have no problem breaking a truck window out and having a look either.
    It's not skybusting if you fold em'.

  16. #16
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    Default Swan Poachers

    Are they forum members?? Not too many guys sportin mud motors.

    Foolish to pull that sort of stunt at Maud area of all places.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

  17. #17
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK375HH View Post
    No doubt they would have no problem breaking a truck window out and having a look either.
    Now now, that would be 'profiling'; you're leaping to the assumption that these two scum bags are...uh...uh... oh, nevermind.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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    Good to see the good guys win every now and then. Good job.

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    Hopefully they will spread the word of what happened to them and it will cause somebody else to skip doing something as stupis as shooting swans.

  20. #20
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    Seems like this thing happened about 4 years ago. Same place two dead swans. Thank goodness there are good hunters out there keeping an eye out for the rescource.

    Well done!!!
    "Next time you feel important, try telling someone elses Chesapeake to do something"-- anonymous

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