KEARNEY, Neb. — Two hunters were formally charged, and paid fines and
liquidated damages Tuesday for poaching two trumpeter swans along the
Platte River near Gibbon in December.
The hunters — Ronald Bazata, 59, of Kearney, and Chad Sheridan, 21,
of Sutton — each waived his right to a hearing before a Buffalo County
Court judge and pleaded no contest to charges of taking a swan in closed
season, a Class III misdemeanor.
There is no season for hunting swans in Nebraska, and "taking a swan
in closed season" is how the statute is phrased.
The men had been scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, but by entering
the pleas they didn't have to appear in court.
Bazata and Sheridan each paid $750 in liquidated damages, a $200 fine
$49 in court costs. The men had faced up to three months in jail and
Bazata and Sheridan were cited Dec. 31 after a witness told a state
conservation officer that he saw the men shoot at the swans.
Pecha said the men told a Game and Parks official they thought the
swans were snow geese.
Trumpeter swans are state and federally protected, officials said.
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