Sandhill Crane Season Approved in Kentucky

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After listening to both sides, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday unanimously approved a Dec. 17 to Jan. 15 hunting season for cranes. There were members from the state's Audubon societies against the hunt, and then there were members from sportsmen clubs supporting the season. Those against the hunt believe the bird's population does not need to be managed by hunting, and that it is a majestic animal that benefits bird watchers. Sportsmen say that by giving the crane a season, gives the crane more value, and more dollars will be spent towards crane habitat.

The sand hill cranes have rebounded from their earlier numbers, almost wiped out from over hunting, in the early 1900s. The season would only allow 400 sandhills to be taken. With these low numbers there should still be population growth. 400 is less than 1% of their current population. The commission said that this decision can always be reversed if they see any issues with the crane's population.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife still must have a hearing on this season, since the crane is a migratory bird. They are expected to have their final say in August, from


groovy mike's picture

I wouldn't mind trying to hunt them sometime either.

I am always in favor of hunting as the most sane, economical, and efficient solution to any need to reduce game animal populations.  I applaud the state of Kentucky’s Fish and Wildlife Commission for opening up a hunting season for cranes. As long as the population can be successfully managed so that there will still be crane population growth. And if thirteen states currently have a Sandhill crane season, then they must be doing all right in their population numbers.  So I wouldn't mind trying to hunt them sometime either.  Especially if they have a good flavor (ribeye of the sky or smoked Hunter25!)  But, I can understand the state Audubon societies’ stance as in my area (at least New York State) cranes and heron hunting has not been done in modern memory.  In fact, the only cranes that we have locally (the Blue Heron) are actually protected as a threatened species.  Still they are such big birds, I would think hunting them would yield fine table fare.  It would seem almost prehistoric to put a bird that size on a plate!  They look much larger in body than even a big turkey or greater Canadian goose and I tend to think of them as immense!   

hunter25's picture

I read the report earlier

I read the report earlier that they were working on getting this season passed and I'm glad to see it happened. I saw my first ones in Wisconsin when I was a kid and just got to hunt some for the first time last year in Texas. The sky is literally covered with them down there around Amarillo. I'm sure the guys that will get to huny them are in for a real treat as they are unlike any other bird that you can hunt and are really quite wary without the proper decoys. The ones we used were full feathered mounts and worked very well.

And by the way they are in fact very good slow smoked.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Interesting.  When I think of

Interesting.  When I think of sandhill crane hunting, I usually think Texas, or maybe Oklahoma, but for sure somewhere along the central flyway.

I did not know they were in that area of the country, near Kentucky. What really surprises me is that in the article, it says that 13 states currently have a sandhill crane season.  I would not have thought it was that many. 

I have not seen many, but the few reports I have seen make it look like alot of fun, and the guys who shoot them, say they are the "ribeye of the sky" when it comes to taste. 

Wouldn't mind trying it sometime.  But, if it means going up against guys like the one quoted in the article, I may have to think twice.  He compares the idea of a crane season to be equal to ending medicare, in how it will be received... lol

And I did it again!  I just had to go and read the idiotic comments at the bottom.  I tell ya, it's like a moth to a flame......