Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Outdoor Observations

Bill Parker

Michigan Editor

CLEARING’ÄàTHE’ÄàAIR. There were items in the past two editions
of MON that really got me thinking. A letter from Lee Andrus in the
May 9 issue questioned why the DNR posted signs on Lake St Clair
telling anglers that goebes (sic) must be returned to the lake. The
other was a DNR’Äàpress release that ran in the May 23 edition
reminding residents ’Äúto give mute swans space.’Äù

First the swans. Mute swans are not native to Michigan. They
were brought over from Europe as pets in the early 1900s and some
escaped in New York state in 1910. By the 1950s they had expanded
their range into several Atlantic coastal states, and by the 1970s
were reported in all four flyways.

Mute swans, unlike native trumpeter swans, are very aggressive.
They out-compete other swans, waterfowl, and even some threatened
shorebirds for nesting sites. The photo that accompanied the May 23
press release shows a swan chasing a Canada goose off her nest.
That nesting pair of geese abandoned the nest, and the lake,
leaving behind a pile of fresh goose eggs. Mutes also create
conflicts with human activities such as swimming, boating, and
fishing.

The DNR’Äàsays, for our own protection, to give them space.

I’Äàdisagree. If an exotic mute swan is harassing native species
like Canada geese, loons, etc., and runs them off a nest, that swan
is a nuisance bird and should be managed (removed/killed). If a
mute’Äôs aggressive nature keeps me from fishing in my favorite
spring flat, that bird is a nuisance and should be managed.
Remember, this is an exotic species, not a native species, and if a
few individuals are wreaking havoc with native species (including
humans), they need to be managed appropriately. If a raccoon,
coyote, bear, of wolf ’Äì all native species ’Äì acted in an
aggressive manner around humans, it would be dealt with
appropriately. It should be the same for non-native mute swans.

Now the goby. Another non-native species, the goby is believed
to have hitched a ride into the Great Lakes ’Äì along with about
180 other invasive species ’Äì through ballast water of ocean
freighters. According to the U.S.’ÄàGeological Survey, once round
gobies arrive in a lake they often become the dominant fish
species. They are very aggressive and compete with native fishes
for food and space.

Be certain of this:’ÄàThe DNR’Äàdoes not want gobies in any of
Michigan’Äôs lakes and streams. The sign in St. Clair Shores is not
an effort to protect gobies, but rather to protect the general
public from thoughtless anglers.

The sign in question was posted at a specific spot near Nine
Mile Road where shore fishing is available. In the recent past,
anglers who caught gobies there have been throwing the fish on the
shore. Other users of the park have complained to the city about
the unsightly, smelly, dead fish littering the park. The city of
St. Clair Shores actually posted the sign (hence the improper
spelling of gobies) in an effort to keep the park clean.

BOB’ÄôS’ÄàBACK. Bob Bauer’Äôs Outdoor World at Camp 2 Fires has
returned to the radio airwaves. Bauer and his crew ’Äì Mile Bushel,
Uncle Chuck, Doc George – The Outdoor Doctor, Chef Ray ’Äì can be
heard on Saturday mornings, 8-10 a.m. on WXYT, AM 1270 in the
metro-Detroit area. Outside the area, listeners can tune in by
visiting www.camp2fires.com.

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