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Mistaking a swan for a goose is costly

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters not to mistake a trumpeter swan for a Canada goose during the September Canada goose hunt that begins on September 6. The cost is high for people who shoot swans in Minnesota with stiff fines up to $700, possible confiscation of their shotguns, and restitution charges of $1,000 for a trumpeter swan.

To avoid accidentally shooting a swan during the waterfowl season, hunters should become familiar with the differences in both size and markings, according to Steve Kittelson, DNR Trumpeter Swan Restoration Project leader.

“Swans are three to four times the size of a Canada goose,” Kittelson said. “The all-white adult swans and the light gray young swans (cygnets) are much larger than geese and have necks equal to their body lengths. The much smaller, dark gray Canada goose has a distinctive black head with white check patches and its neck is half of its body length.”

Minnesota now boasts the highest number of trumpeter swans in the Midwest. Kittelson noted, due to their increased numbers and expanding range, trumpeter swans may be found in areas where they were never seen before. “The DNR urges hunters to help teach young hunters in identifying swans by their long necks and all white bodies.”

To learn more about identifying trumpeter swans and their calls, visit the DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program at





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