Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson has been a Star Tribune outdoors columnist since 1993, before which, for 13 years, he held the same position at the Pioneer Press. He enjoys casting and shooting. Dogs, too, and horses. Also kids and, occasionally, crusading in his column for improved conservation.

Know the difference between swans and snow geese

Posted by: Dennis Anderson under Birding Updated: September 28, 2010 - 12:23 AM





Hunters should know the difference between snow geese and trumpeter and tundra swans. The DNR illustration above shows the relative size difference between the two — swans are much larger — and the fact that snow geese have black wing tips.

The issue arises because four immature trumpeter swans were shot at Brown's Lake near Warroad during the weekend of Sept. 18-19, which was the grouse opener and also the weekend of youth waterfowl day.

According to the DNR, the dead swans were left at Brown's Lake, about four miles southeast of Norris Camp, headquarters of the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area.

The trumpeter is a threatened species and shooting one can be charged as a gross misdemeanor, with fines up to $3,000 and possibe loss of hunting equipment and privileges.


Trumpeter Swan (threatened species)
Tundra Swan (protected species)

All white plumage
(Both species similar)
Long neck
Length: 4 ft.
Wingspan: 7 ft.
Weight: 20-30 lbs.

Snow Goose (legal game species)
White with black wing tips
Short neck
Length: 1 ½ ft.
Wingspan: 3 ½ ft.

Minnesota has more than 3,000 adult swans and at least 800 young swans, called cygnets. The birds can be found anywhere in the state.

Anyone with information about the  shooting should call the Turn in Poachers (TIP) Hotline at 800-652-9093 or DNR enforcement at 218-783-2521.








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