CONCORD — New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Conservation Officers are seeking help from the public in identifying suspects who were involved with shooting loons in two separate incidents this week.
On May 20 a loon was found dead on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford near Varney Point. I was later confirmed that the loon had been shot and killed.
The same day Fish and Game officials were given information that a loon was found wounded in a field near the Cocheco River in Dover. The loon was taken to an emergency veterinary hospital, where X-rays revealed that the bird had been shot. Currently, the loon is being cared for and expected to be released back into the wild.
Conservation Officers and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Officer are currently investigating both shootings. It has not been determined whether these two incidents are connected in any manner.
The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is protected by both state and federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. In New Hampshire, the Common Loon is listed as a threatened species, making it a misdemeanor if someone were to injure or shoot a loon; even to attempt to do so would violate the law.
Anyone with information that may be relevant to these cases is asked to call N.H. Fish and Game's Dispatch at 603-271-3361 (Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), OR contact Operation Game Thief (anytime) at 1-800-344-4262 or via the Operation Game Thief website, http://www.huntnh.com/OGT. Callers may choose to remain anonymous, and all information is welcome.