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Convicted felon shoots protected bird

WHITE CITY ' Charles Joseph Walton found himself in hot water Sunday when he reportedly confused a swan with a goose and shot the protected bird at the Denman Wildlife Refuge.

But Oregon State Police said Walton ended up cooking his own goose when the Medford resident admitted that he didn't have a hunting license and was, in fact, a convicted felon prohibited from using firearms.

Walton, 31, of the 2000 block of Connell Avenue, was cited and released by state police and fish and game officers on Sunday.

He was charged with unlawfully taking protected game, hunting without a license and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Court records show that Walton had been convicted of first-degree burglary in 1992.

Walton's hunting companion, Joseph A. Keith Jr. of the 1900 block of Pepper Street, Medford, was also cited with unlawful taking of protected game.

According to police reports, troopers confronted Keith, 35, and Walton Sunday afternoon after receiving a complaint.

Keith reportedly admitted that he accidentally shot a swan after mistaking the bird for a goose.

Eventually, police said Walton admitted to shooting at the swan as well.

According to state police trooper Janelle McFarland, swan cannot be hunted at Denman Wildlife Refuge.

McFarland said while waterfowl season is open and no special permits are required currently, hunters must have a license and state and federal waterfowl stamp to hunt at Denman.

She added that it's not difficult to tell the difference between a goose and a swan.

Most people would know the difference, McFarland said. Most hunters should know exactly what they are shooting at. There's no excuse for that.