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Poetry in motion: Dickinson resident Bruce Orton shoots swan southeast of Killdeer

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson resident Bruce Orton holds up his swan he shot on Wednesday southeast of Killdeer in Dunn County.

Early Wednesday morning, Dickinson resident Bruce Orton set out to fill his swan tag.

When he returned to his home in the afternoon, he had filled his first-ever swan tag.

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“It’s a real thrill,” he said with a smile. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing where it is a lottery and I was fortunate enough to find where there were some.

“I didn’t even know you could hunt them until I saw the notice from the Game and Fish.”

Orton, who was one of 2,200 to receive a tag, shot his swan southeast of Killdeer in Dunn County. Yet, he wasn’t expecting to find a swan in western North Dakota. He was told his best chances of success were near Devils Lake or northeast of Bismarck.

Needless to say, Orton was pretty excited to fill his swan tag less than an hour away from his home.

“That’s a long haul, so I was tickled to death to find this where I go up and hunt deer,” he said. “This is fantastic to be able to find one in your backyard.”

Orton received information a group of swans had settled near a pond southeast of Killdeer. Wednesday marked Orton’s fourth day in the field and he can’t complain about the results.

Though he’s willing to display his swan, he’s not giving out information about exactly where he shot it, but he will tell a general area.

“I’m not telling anybody. They got to find their own,” Orton said with a laugh. “I’ll give them a general area, but they have to go out and search it out.”

After Orton shot it with his 12-gauge shotgun, the swan landed in the middle of the pond. He walked back to his pickup to get his waiters. But once he got back to the pond a gentle breeze pushed the swan to the edge of the pond.

Orton said it was a treat to go swan hunting. He said before the swan takes off to fly in the air, it beats its wings six times on the water to create momentum to travel in the air.

“When they take off, they are awesome,” he said. “They take off and they gradually come up. They are like poetry in motion. They are gorgeous.”