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Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS

Two plead no contest in poaching

January 18, 2012

From Omaha.com

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 and
$49 in court costs. The men had faced up to three months in jail and $500 fine.

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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