The Wisconsin DNR is reminding hunters to know your target - and to not accidentally (or intentionally) shoot swans this season.
The DNR explained in a statement Thursday that it is illegal to hunt native trumpeter swans, tundra swans and non-native mute swans. It is also illegal to hunt American white pelicans and whooping cranes.
If a hunter does shoot a protected swan, you may face a fine and a revocation of all hunting, fishing and trapping privileges.
"Waterfowl hunters may encounter various swan species while afield. Swans are more abundant and widespread in Wisconsin than a generation ago and will start migrating through the state over the next few weeks," according to the DNR.
For instance the population of the trumpeter swan, which was once-endangered, now exceeds 11,000 since they were reintroduced by the DNR starting in the late 1980s.
This is how the DNR describes the illegal-to-hunt swans:
- "Trumpeter swans are North America’s largest native waterfowl species at 4.5 to 5 feet long, weighing between 20 to 30 pounds with a wingspan over 7 feet.
- Tundra swans are slightly smaller and are best distinguished by their high-pitched quavering call, unlike the deep, trumpet-like call of the trumpeter swan.
- Non-native mute swans are similarly sized to both trumpeter and tundra swans but can be distinguished by its orange bill – both native swans have black bills – and prominent black fleshy knob extending from the base of the bill to the forehead."
However, it is legal to hunt snow geese, which rarely visit Wisconsin. The DNR describes them as follows:
"Snow geese are 2 feet long, 5 to 6 pounds and have a wingspan of 4.5 feet. Snow geese also have pink bills and black tips visible on the underside of their wings during flight."