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 All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (11)
  1. Venison says:

    Who cares. Probably some huntin’ hillbilly who wanted to make himself some jerkey.

    1. Sandy says:

      Your IQ is showing.

      1. Venison says:

        Are you one of these hillbillies Sandy?

  2. John W. Noraas says:

    Or anti hunters using the killings to manipulate people against legal and ethical hunters….

    1. Duh says:

      You’re insane. People are against hunting because they love animals. Why would they kill them? I’m not against hunters, but I am against unethical hunters who shoot first before they know what the heck they’re shooting. Don’t shoot giant white birds with long necks. It’s not that hard to comprehend. If you can’t understand that, then you shouldn’t be hunting.

      1. John W. Noraas says:

        Just like PETA and HSUS didn’t kill those dogs and cats released into their care and custody…or the staged events in Europe, anti hunters will do whatever it takes to further their own agenda. Poachers and criminals killed those birds not hunters.

        1. Sandy says:

          Just for the record, I DO NOT LIKE PETA! As for the HSUS, if people would be more responsible with their pets, they wouldn’t be forced to euthanize so many animals.
          I come from a family of hunters (including my mother and aunt, back in the day), and some of my best memories of my grandfather are of following behind when he was out pheasant hunting. I loved to watch his dog work the fields. So, while I don’t hunt myself, I don’t really have a problem with ethical and safety conscious hunters. I don’t believe poachers killed the swans, as they either take what they kill to eat, or they take body parts. This isn’t the case with
          the swans. Criminals? If you want to call careless hunters criminals, well I can
          go along with that. Farm animals, pets, and people are shot, and many killed,
          by careless hunters every year. My stand is – if you don’t know FOR SURE what you’re aiming at, don’t pull the trigger! There is NO EXCUSE for killing a swan.

  3. Delmar Fairchild says:

    Also swans do not have the black tipped wings like the snow goose has. It is not hard to tell the difference between the two if you really want to. The swan has a musical thrumpet like call and the snow goose has a high pitched cackling honk.
    Been hunting for over 50 years and will only shoot what we would eat. A person who shoots a swan would be the same type person who would shoot stop signs. Not very sane or ethical. Those are the type people that should not be able to hunt or carry a firearm.

  4. Sam says:

    Though I don’t hunt, I appreciate those who do so ethically (in no small part due to the fact that I love the taste of venison).
    Snapping off a shot at the first thing that moves isn’t any part of ethical (or smart) hunting. Not only does it create situations like this, where the wrong animal ends up getting killed (and its carcass often wasted), but it creates situations where people get shot.

    When I took a firearm safety course when I was a kid, it was drilled into us that you didn’t point a gun at anything until you were sure of what it was.

  5. Jake says:

    Yep, let’s make a really big deal about a few birds being illegally killed (no, I don’t like to hear about this either), but I reported a TON of shooting last Friday night, at about 8:45 pm, west of Onamia, MN. Heard maybe 40-50 rounds going off. Was the second time in 3 years that I have heard it. I reported it, haven’t heard anything since. These were high-powered rifle rounds going off, I suspect a group was baiting, shining and shooting deer right before the opener. Any news on that?

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