Poll: Should the Hunting of Trumpeter Swans in the Mississippi Flyway be Legalized ?

  • 109

Members of seven Chippewa Indian tribes in , Wisconsin and Michigan are allowed to hunt for swans during a two-month season that started Saturday.

It represents the first legal swan hunt in the Flyway and the first hunt anywhere that allows trumpeter swans to be legally killed.

While swan lovers have been critical of the hunt, its approval shows the trumpeter’s swan comeback from a population of nearly zero a few decades ago to perhaps 10,000 in Minnesota today, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

The hunt, approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is only allowed for tribal members and only on huntable waters across parts of east-central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A pair of tundra swans come in for a landing. Members of seven Chippewa Indian tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are allowed to hunt for swans during a two-month season that started Saturday. Photo by Brian M. Collins.

To protect the trumpeter swans, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission says the season will end after a total of 10 trumpeters are shot. Otherwise the season ends Dec. 31. Each hunter can shoot two swans of either species daily; there’s no season limit on tundra swans.

The 10- ceiling was new in the tribes’ proposal to federal authorities, after previous proposals were rejected. The two types of swans are nearly indistinguishable in flight, and the allowance of only 10 was an acknowledgement of that, the newspaper reported.

Under the hunt rules, every swan must be registered within 48 hours and must be brought, fully feathered, to a wildlife biologist for identification.

Steve Cordts, who oversees migratory bird hunting for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said there’s no biological issue in taking 10 trumpeter swans. Cordts said the DNR hasn’t expressed an opinion on the hunt. Trumpeters were never listed as a federally threatened or and were removed from the state’s list years ago.

Larry Gillette, a board member of the Plymouth-based Trumpeter Swan Society, said he fears more than 10 trumpeters will be shot.

“Our speculation is that mostly trumpeters will be shot,” Gillette said. “In most areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin right now, the only swans around are trumpeters. And they’re going to stay here until the water freezes. They’re easy to spot and they’re used to people, so they won’t be gun shy.”

The tundra and the trumpeter are the only two native swans found in Minnesota this time of year.

populations are strong: Flocks of 50,000 have been seen on the Mississippi River along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border. They’ve been legally hunted in Western states since 1962, and today they are hunted in three of ’s four migratory bird flyways: the Pacific, Central and Atlantic. North and South Dakota allow limited tundra hunts.

By the 1930s, trumpeters had disappeared from the contiguous United States, except in parts of western . The only large population was in Alaska. Carrol Henderson, who heads the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program, traveled to Alaska to find trumpeter eggs and bring them back to Minnesota.

Henderson said the goal was to ensure there would be about 30 nesting pairs of trumpeters by now. Instead, there are about 750, and the population is roughly doubling every five years.

“It’s mind-boggling,” he told the newspaper. “I never would have thought in my life we would be so successful.”

We invite you to share your opinion whether the hunting of Trumpeter Swans in the Mississippi Flyway should be legalized?

Should the Hunting of Trumpeter Swans be Legalized in the Mississippi Flyway?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

This article was first published by The Detroit News on 02 Nov 2014.


Founder and Executive Editor

Share this post with your friends

  • 109

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
John Tobias

I doubt if one of the goals of the conservation programs to save the trumpeter swan was to have enough to kill, regardless of who was doing the hunting.

Iain Gibson

Some traditions are best left to the annals of history, and this is clearly one of them. Native American culture is often cited for its respect for and affinity with nature, and the killing of ten Trumpeter Swans, although not a "biological issue", is unethical and pointless. There are far more important ways of respecting the rights and protecting the culture of native Americans.

Susan Lee

Karen Crawford , I'm considering the tribal traditions besides discouraging too "easy" killings because using guns of any sort is WAY too easy. If the tribal member creates their own tools and then uses those created tools to either miss or make their kill under the supervision of many others, in that way the rituals may be observed that would follow thousands of years of ancient tradition. Even this should be limited, however, to a SMALL number of birds. If we do not legalize the gun-shooting of these birds then all actual poachers could be caught more easily . I… Read more »

Delbert Smith
Delbert Smith

Do you know anything poached on tribal lands is protected from any state and Federal prosecution!

Karen Crawford

Oh yes, Susan Lee. Arrows and hunting spears would be so much better than using guns. The end result is still dead swans.

Karen Crawford

Allowing hunting of these beautiful swans is disgusting. My answer to this poll is NO .

Karen Lyons Kalmenson
Karen Lyons Kalmenson

ALL hunting should be banned…it is sadism, plain and blood simple

Susan Lee

I would restrict such hunting licenses only to "registered" members of the tribes and also NO guns. Arrows or hunting spears only AND under immediate supervision. Anyone using any guns in that way would be considered apoacher subject to arrest and hopefully super-heavy fines.