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Each winter numerous species of waterfowl, wading birds and other waterbirds arrive in West Tennessee.  The largest and the most unique of the waterfowl species to make their return to West Tennessee are Swans.

The Trumpeter and Tundra Swans are the largest and the only native, all white waterfowl occurring in Tennessee.  Until the winter of 2001, the last live Trumpeter Swans documented in Tennessee was by John James Audubon during his 1820 flatboat trip down the Mississippi River.  As a result of reintroduction efforts in the eastern United States, Trumpeter Swans were observed last December in Lauderdale County in West Tennessee and are now reported to be returning this year to the same areas.  This reintroduction was a cooperative effort between State, Federal and non-governmental organizations including sportsmen and non-consumptive user groups.

"We are starting to receive reports from waterfowl hunters about seeing swans in  West Tennessee," stated Jack Colwick, TWRA Region I Waterfowl Biologist.  "We had a report during the first week of December of three swans in the Hatchie River drainage and I'm sure we will be getting more reports of sightings throughout the winter."

TWRA would like to urge waterfowl hunters to review the Tennessee Waterfowl Hunting Guide or go on line at to review the characteristics of swans and cranes that can be found in Tennessee during the waterfowl seasons.  These species are protected by both state and federal law in Tennessee and cannot be hunted.  Through careful study, accidental shootings of these protected species can be prevented.  "Don't Shoot Unless You're Sure."

   Last year, one waterfowl hunter was prosecuted after TWRA received a report of a juvenile Trumpeter Swan being shot and another West Tennessee waterfowl hunter will be going to court in December for killing a juvenile Trumpeter Swan on opening day of the second segment of this year's waterfowl season.
If you see swans, please report it to the appropriate TWRA Regional Office or if you have information regarding any illegal activities concerning protected species please call the TWRA Poacher Hotline in West Tennessee at 1-800-831-1173.

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