ANGOLA, Ind. – A proposed hunt for mute swans may be modified following complaints that the state was overreacting to reports of friction between the birds and swimmers and boaters.
About 100 people attended a meeting this week in North Webster, Ind., about the swans, with many speaking out against allowing the public to hunt the birds, which can weigh about 30 pounds and have a nearly eight-foot wingspan.
DNR Director Kyle Hupfer said the birds are majestic but they can multiply rapidly and cause damage to the ecosystem.
"They're not anyone's pet. They're wild animals," he said.
Hupfer said a temporary rule would be drafted before permanent guidelines are put in place for thinning the swan population during the winter months.
The goal is not to eliminate swans, he said, but to keep the population from growing out of control. A swan can eat eight pounds of vegetation a day and can discourage other native species from living on a lake, he said.
Laura Corya of Jimmerson Lake, Ind., said some personal watercraft users have taunted and attacked both adult swans and their young.
"The DNR has done nothing about these Wave Runners," said Joan Walsh, another Jimmerson Lake resident.