U.S. Fish and Wildlife Approves Sandhill Crane Hunt in Kentucky

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Despite over 337 letters from as far away as Alaska, and petitions with over 3,000 signatures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has approved Kentucky's sandhill crane hunt. The U.S. agency did not receive any letters in support of the hunt.

There was concern that the endangered whooping crane may be shot in error, by mistaking it for the sandhill crane. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife put in safeguards to avoid this situation. Hunters must pass a crane identification test online, and Kentucky must have the sandhill crane season before the whooping cranes migrate to Kentucky.

Hunting regulations still need to be decided and approved through the general assembly. There is confidence that this can be done, and have a season by this December. However there are some opponents who think a lawsuit might be the next step to block the hunt. From Courier-Journal.com.


hunter25's picture

I have only hunted these

I have only hunted these birds one tome so far but it's a lot of fun and I hope they get there season set up with no problems. I read about the other cranes being possible but didn't see any while I was hunting them. These birds are usually found in huge flocks during the winter months but usually fly in smaller groups. With a little education identification should be no problem at all. We had ours smoked but I think they were in a bit too long and came out kind of dry. I'd like to see how other guys cook them up as I definately plan to go after them  again. I'm usually not much of a bird hunter but these things are so big it seems more like a big game hunt. Plus it's not uncommon for geese to be flying at the same time or with them so you may get some bonus birds as well.

Again I hope this hunt goes through as it's a great new experience everyone should get to try at least once.

niceshot_smitty's picture

well i have hunted sandhill

well i have hunted sandhill cranes now for 6 years and never seen a whooping crane in my sights.  if you can't tell the differents then you should not be hunting cranes!!!  I think hunting Sandhill cranes is fun and everyone should try it at least once.  i agree rib-eye in the sky!!  Can't wait for the season to open in about a month.  YUM!

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, as numb said, you can't

Well, as numb said, you can't worry about one or 2 hunters accidently shooting a whooping crane.  If they do, they should be held accountable for their actions.  Much like duck hunting, I know many, many people who shoot first, then retrieve the duck and say "Nice Mallard Hen".  There is no way they knew what it was prior to shooting, and if it had been another type of duck, say one that was protected, they would have to pay the consequences.

I have known guys who have hunted them, I think in Texas.  They said they were great birds, as Goose said, Ribeye of the sky!  Good for Kentuckians!

numbnutz's picture

All things considered thats

All things considered thats not that many people opposed to the hunt giving the total population. I can see there concerns though. I think the feds are on the right track on the crane id test also having the season before the whooping cranes migrate down. I say give it a season or two and see how it goes. Also if a hunter mistakenly shoots a whooping crane he/she should be held accountable. Hope everything works out and there are no problems.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

AHHHH.....ribeye in the sky. 

AHHHH.....ribeye in the sky.  I can see where people would be concerned about hunters shooting the Whooping Crane, but all it takes is some hunter edeucation.  make hunter take some sort of class or course where they can Identify the different kinds of crane on the wing before you give the permission to hunt them.