MERMET, Ill. -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say hunters thought they were shooting at a snow goose but actually killed a rare trumpeter swan at a conservation area in far southern Illinois.
Supervisor Chris McGinness says the bird was shot when it flew over two duck blinds in a public hunting area at the Mermet Lake Conservation Area.
McGinness says three duck hunters -- two in one blind and one in another -- shot at the swan that they misidentified as a snow goose. He says all three men have expressed remorse.
Federal investigators will determine which of the three is responsible for the swan's death.
Officials said after a 2005 survey that about 34,800 trumpeter swans live in three populations, including one along the Mississippi Flyway.