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September 14, 2010

Don't shoot a swan

MADISON -- With the opening of the regular Canada goose Exterior Zone hunting season on Saturday, Sept. 18, waterfowl hunters are reminded that swans and other non-game birds are also migrating and to carefully identify all birds before shooting.

Successful efforts to restore trumpeter swans in Wisconsin removed them from the state endangered species list last year. However, wildlife ecologists remind hunters that the swans are protected under state and federal law and caution waterfowl hunters to be sure of their target.

"Accidental or intentional shooting continues to be a concern for our expanding population of trumpeter swans," says Sumner Matteson, an avian ecologists with the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Endangered Resources. "Hunters need to know the difference between swans and snow geese to prevent accidents."

Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl species in North America. Adults are all white and stand up to 5 feet tall, weighing between 20 and 35 pounds with a 7-foot wingspan. Younger swans, called cygnets, have grayish plumage and are smaller, but are still are significantly larger than Canada geese, with which they are sometimes confused.

The unintentional shooting of a protected swan can result in state fines and restitution costs exceeding $2,000.

"Hunters have done a great job in learning the differences between swans and geese," Matteson said. "But with the growing number of swans in the state, we want to remind them to continue to be vigilant in identifying their game."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sumner Matteson - (608) 266-1571

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

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