Utah DWR closed the swan hunt on November 27. Starting on Saturday, November 28th hunters can no longer take any swans in the state. The swan season in the state opened on October 3rd and was meant to run until December 13th. However, the swan hunt was closed early for the second straight year. The closure comes from rules set in place to protect the trumpeter swan population. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has set rules in place to shut down the Tundra swan hunt if twenty Trumpeter swans are taken during the hunt. This quota was set because of the population of Trumper swans that live in the Greater Yellowstone area.
“This is the second year in a row that we have seen a higher number of trumpeter swans harvested because there were more migrating through Utah than in previous years.” – Utah DWR Migratory Game Bird Program Coordinator Blair Stringham
Swan Migration through Utah
Every year Tundra and Trumpeter swans migrate through Utah on their way south. The two swans have slight differences that can be identified in the field. Trumpeter swans are larger than tundra swans, lack a yellow-colored area near their eyes, and make a distinctive trumpet-like call.
Hunters that harvest any swan in the state are required to check in the bird at a DWR office or the Bear River Bird Refuge office within seventy-two hours of harvest. Likewise, hunters that do not harvest a swan need to fill out a hunt survey after the season. Swan hunters must also take an online course that helps them identify Tundra swans vs Trumpeter swans. Hunters that fail to do so may not be allowed to draw any hunting permits the following year. People who were unable to take a swan before the closure will not receive a refund, nor will they have their preference points returned to them.
“There was a really high harvest of trumpeter swans this year. We realize the early closure means that some permit holders may not harvest a swan. But we appreciate their understanding and support of our efforts to protect the trumpeter swan population.” – Utah DWR Migratory Game Bird Program Coordinator Blair Stringham
With more Trumpeter swans migrating through Utah, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may have to look at going back to the old quota of no more than ten Trumpeter swan are allowed to be killed.