JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning hunters to keep protected trumpeter swans out of their sights.
The warning Wednesday comes less than a month after five trumpeter swans were killed in the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area near Columbia. The hunters blamed for the shootings are due in court in February.
The hunters misidentified their targets, apparently thinking they were shooting at snow geese. Trumpeter swans can have 8-foot wingspans and are distinguished by their long neck and all-white plumage.
Snow geese are much smaller and have black wingtips.
Conservation officials say hunters who killed three trumpeter swans in 2005 in Lawrence County were fined $5,000 and sentenced to six months in jail.