Sandhill Cranes hunting season approved 8-0 Friday by the KDFWR

   Sandhill Cranes may be in the hunters’ sights as early as December following an 8-0 vote Friday by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission in favor of a Sandhill Crane hunting season in the Commonwealth.
   The birds are regular visitors to the Barren River Lake region during their annual migration, December-February, and the center of attention during the annual Sandhill Crane Nature Watch Weekends, hosted by the Barren River Lake State Park.
   An element in the hunting proposal states, “The season proposed by KDFWR may limit some crane viewing (at Barren River Lake) in late December or early January, but it  will have no impact on viewing opportunities in late January and February when cranes are most abundant.” 
   The proposal, in its simplest form, calls for a three-year period, beginning with the 2011-2012 hunting season, of a 30-day hunting season with a two-Sandhill Crane per day bag limit and an overall harvest not to exceed 400 Sandhill Cranes.
   This season would begin in mid-December from sunrise to sunset during the start of the migratory season. Interested hunters would be required to obtain a permit and complete a survey at the end of the season for Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources analysis. The number of permits issued and surveys would then be used to monitor the population size and make sure the harvest level does not exceed the predetermined level.
   To read the proposal, click on Sandhill Crane Hunting Proposal.
   Before it is implemented in December, the proposal must also be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, which will discuss the proposal later this month, and take final action in August.
   With final approval, Kentucky will be the only state east of the Mississippi River to allow Sandhill Crane hunting.


  1. James Daniel says:

    Note that even with 400 hunter permits & 2 tags, it is theoretically possible for hunters to kill/maim 800 Sandhill Cranes in one day! The Flyway’s report below states: “However, as noted above as many as 200-300 EP sandhill cranes are being shot but not utilized each year as part of agricultural damage control activities.” That could mean that 1,100 birds could be lost from the EP breeding population annually. That is a lot of nests considering only one in 5 chicks live from fledgling to migration. According to ICF’s data, this “harvest” is completely unsustainable given the current habitat limitations.

    I predict that the 400 limit will be taken in 2-3 days. F&W biologists have done the studies and know exactly where they will be at the different water levels. Those with that insider info will be able to guide hunters to these areas, for a fee, where they will be easy pickin’s. These things glide in so slow and stall out when the get near the ground that you could shoot them with a .22. And they will come to a mop turned upside down with a smear of red paint on the top. Easy pickin’s.

    According to Loyd Ford, editor of The Lake News in Calvert City, and lifelong hunter, “While the KDFWR says hunter success rates will be low, some evidence points in another direction. First of all, the cranes stop over at two primary points in Kentucky, Barren River Reservoir and a four-mile square section of farmland near the town of Cecilia. The reservoir will be off limits to hunters, but the feeding grounds near Cecilia will be like shooting cranes in a barrel.” and “The cranes that pass through our state are some other state’s birds in the first place. They just pass through here. We aren’t going to manage them, we are going to shoot them.”

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