A Lino Lakes, Minn., man was charged this week with shooting and killing protected trumpeter swans last fall.
Conner Benjamin Walsh, 25, was charged in Anoka County District Court with seven misdemeanors related to the shooting.
He has been charged with two counts of hunting protected birds and one count each of hunting small game without a license, illegally hunting migratory waterfowl, taking a migratory waterfowl in open water, not having a game license and not having a life jacket.
Trumpeter swans are federally protected birds and cannot be taken without authorization in Minnesota.
According to the criminal complaint, about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 28 the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received a report of a person hunting on open water on Rice Lake in Lino Lakes.
Officers saw Walsh in a blue kayak and red paddle following a swan, raising a shotgun to his shoulder and firing the gun at the swan.
The swan dropped over in the water. Walsh approached and grabbed the swan, dragging it alongside the kayak.
At this point, the conservation officers intercepted and saw that he had two swans draped across the bow of his kayak. Walsh told officers he left his hunting license in his car.
But the license Walsh produced was for 2016. He then told the officers he’d tried to buy one, but a search of the DNR licensing system failed to find a small game license issued to him for 2017 or 2018.
Walsh then explained that he’d been denied a hunting license because his driver’s license was expired. He said he thought the swans were snow geese.
Walsh’s criminal record shows he has been convicted of numerous petty misdemeanors since 2012 including drug possession, damage to property and traffic violations.