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Minn. DNR Investigating Trumpeter Swan Deaths

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Despite warnings to hunters, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it is investigating a number of trumpeter swan deaths. Five swans have been killed in the last few weeks across Minnesota.

Trumpeter swans are a federally protected species. The DNR warns hunters every fall to avoid mistakenly shooting trumpeter swans. People who shoot them face fines of up $1,700 plus a loss of hunting equipment and hunting licenses for up to three years.

But the DNR reports several recent cases where trumpeter swans were shot and killed. In Kandiyohi County, a trumpeter swan was found dead along a gravel road near a large slough. Trumpeter swans also were shot and killed near Brownton and near Pine River.

Two men also face charges for killing two trumpeter swans several weeks ago in the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area.

“In their panicked state, instead of thinking, ‘Oops. I made a mistake,’ they decided to pack up and get out of there, hope nobody caught them,” said Minnesota Conservation Officer Travis Muyres, who responded to that incident call.

Witnesses saw it happen, he said, and they gave him a description of the two brothers responsible along with a description of their vehicle. Muyres tracked them down and ticketed the two for misdemeanors.

Col. Jim Konrad, DNR enforcement director, says trumpeter swans are much larger than other waterfowl, with long necks and a wingspan of up to 8 feet.

“It’s like comparing a bus with a minivan,” he said. “There’s really no excuse for shooting one because Minnesota hunters won’t encounter any other waterfowl as large as a trumpeter swan.”

The difference between a trumpeter swan and a snow goose is also made clear on a special page of the DNR’s hunting regulations. All wild swans are federally protected.

“Responsible, ethical hunters need to know what they’re shooting, before they actually shoot,” said Muyres. “You need to know what you’re shooting before you take that shot.”

Anyone with information about these incidents are urged to call the Poachers Hotline at 800-652-9093.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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