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Portage Lakes community in shock over senseless killing of migrating waterfowl

Witness says snowmobiles crashed into flock of ducks and geese. Authorities are investigating.

NEW FRANKLIN, Ohio — *WARNING: Some of the images in the above video are disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

The rumble of snow machines echoes throughout New Franklin, the sound of winter at the Portage Lakes.

Local resident Lynne Jones always enjoyed their antics.

"There a lot of snowmobilers, four-wheelers zipping around on the lakes having a good time," she says.

But what she witnessed on the ice earlier this week was far from a good time. "Two snowmobilers were headed south, to the south end of the lake," she recounted. "They went by the ducks."

Migrating geese, coots, buffleheads, and scaup which need open water to feed. What happened next shocked Lynne.

"I looked up, and they're headed back, and they're headed toward the ducks," she told 3News. "They just plowed right through them."

According to Jones, injured birds were flipping and flopping everywhere. Several were killed in the collision.

"It looked awful," she remembered. "They didn't care about what they had done at all. It was a slaughter."

Ohio State Wildlife officer Evan Huegel says the incident is under investigation.

"You see something or hear something, and it never ceases to amaze you," he said.

While he can't comment on any specifics, he does say, if caught, the perpetrators face serious consequences.

"Any migratory bird is federally protected," he explained, "so they could face both state laws and federal laws."

Now the calls of crows and other scavengers feed on the carcasses left on the ice fill the air. For Lynne, they're a sad reminder of a senseless act.

"It was carnage out there," she said. "They're just helpless, you know? There's just no reason whatsoever to do that."

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife District 3 office or Portage Lakes State Park. If you see or suspect any harassment or abuse of wildlife, make a report by calling (800) 762-2437.

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