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Talk About Town: Will You Get A Permit to Kill Mute Swans?

The state Department of Natural Resources is looking to enlist residents to help control the ever expanding mute swan population.

It's a hot topic, especially in communities with a lot of lakefront property, how do you take care of a mute swan problem?

In response to the growing mute swan population in Michigan, the state Department of Natural Resources is now advertising a permit that will allow residents to kill mute swans. A practice that is upsetting some lakefront property owners in the area.

"I think that's horrible," Hartland Patch reader Sasha Klavon wrote on the Hartland Patch Facebook page. "I personally enjoy looking for the swans every year."

According to an article appearing on the Great Lakes Echo, the DNR is asking residents to help shoot and kill 13,500 mute swans. Michigan, the article states, has the largest mute swan population in North America with 15,500, according to the DNR.

Mute swans were brought to the United States from Europe in the late 1800s. The mute swan population in Michigan originated from one pair introduced in Charlevoix County in 1919. The swans are called mute swans because, overall, they don't make very much noise, especially when comparing them to other native swans such as trumpeter swans according to the DNR.

For many, the swans are a beautiful bird. There are several Hartland residents who have stated they enjoy seeing the birds on their lakes and lawns, along with the geese, and that they are against the killing of the birds.

"I am outraged!" Hartland Patch reader Erin Shutz Olford wrote on the Hartland Patch Facebook page. "We live on a large body of water and have never seen more than one or two pairs of swans and we love them. We watch the snapping turtles take care of population control as babies disappear almost as fast as they're born. Absolutely outrageous."

Although one reader says that they have witnessed some people getting too close to the birds, Patch reader Calahan Bidus still feels there is still no reason to for the high number of proposed killings.

"I have seen people who just get a little too close to them on a watercraft, which really does not have to be that close at all, get chased after by them viciously," Bidus wrote on the Facebook page. "They are certainly quicker to be agitated than most other birds I have seen, but I hardly feel that is a reason for such a high number to kill. Also, the section on that page has a response to why the Trumpeter Swan is so important, yet its response doesn't really answer the question."

Permits to shoot the mute swans, along with permits to destroy mute swan nests and eggs, are available here through the DNR. You must have a permit to shoot the swans.

So, Hartland Patch wants to know:

Will you be applying for a permit to kill mute swans on your lake? Does the plan to kill off most of the invasive mute swan species in Michigan upset you?

Michele Gonzalez May 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM
There is more of an issue with the Canadian geese than the swans. I see hundredx od geese and hardly ever any swans. I think they chose the wrong species to kill.
Kayla June 28, 2012 at 08:54 PM
The swans aren't the nuisense it's the geese! Don't shoot them!

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