Letters

Saving Swans

On behalf of The Trumpeter Swan Society, it is my honor to thank the Department of Conservation for recommending that restitution funds from the illegal shooting of trumpeter swans be donated to TT SS for swan conservation work. In the past two years there seems to have been an increase in illegal shooting incidents resulting in death or injury to trumpeter swans in the United States.

We commend the Department for suggesting that restitution funds be designated for swan conservation work. Although it is not unprecedented to allocate fines or restitution funds for wildlife management or research, it is not common. TT SS is a small, nonprofit conservation group, but has members and directors throughout North America. As you may know, the recent economic conditions have had adverse impacts on funding for many charitable organizations, including TT SS. The funds totaling $5,250 received from a recent case through Boone County Circuit Court have enabled us to maintain some of our programs that would have otherwise been significantly reduced.

One of the newest projects is called “Trumpeter Watch.” It is a citizen science project with the objective of improving our knowledge of the distribution and numbers of wintering trumpeters. During this past winter we received a number of swan sightings from Missouri as well as from other southern states. We are in the process of compiling and mapping the results from our initial winter and hope it will provide state and federal agencies and conservation groups with valuable information that will result in improved understanding of swan migration and wintering for all of us.

Trumpeter swan education and outreach are very important to us. Our membership is diverse, including avid hunters as well as those that choose not to hunt. When hunters take game or nongame animals illegally, it gives all hunters a bad rap. If trumpeter swans continue to increase as they have in the past two decades, more hunters will encounter them during waterfowl seasons. Education and law enforcement are both keys to reducing illegal take during future seasons.

We thank you for the work you do to help conserve wildlife and, specifically, for your assistance in swan conservation.

John E. Cornely, executive director The Trumpeter Swan Society

 

Early Bird

Thank you for your wonderful article on wild turkey management in Missouri. [50 Years of Missouri Turkey; April].

I live in Creve Coeur, a West County suburb of St. Louis. This morning, while waiting in the van for the school bus, Jacob, my son, pointed to my left. There I saw a young wild turkey sauntering across the street. He passed the van within 12 feet without fear.

Jacob got out and shot him. With his mobile phone video, that is.

Jacob played back the video and, though it wasn’t much, we saw the bird and smiled over the moment as father and son enjoying an outdoor adventure.

I told him about your article and how the state turkey management program helped the turkey population grow from a few thousand to over a half-million with gobblers in every county. He was impressed.

Then the bus came.

This morning’s experiences were probably the best educational experience today for Jacob. Again, thank you for writing the article and for your efforts to make Missouri a better place.

Andrew L. Mayer, Creve Coeur