Federal agency approves the hunting of Barren River Lake’s Sandhill Cranes

   Hunting Barren River Lake’s Sandhill Cranes is getting closer to becoming a reality after the federal government’s Enviornmental Protection Agency approved it earlier this week.
   With the EPA’s approval, the hunting season for Sandhill Cranes could open as early as Dec. 17, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
   The last hope for the big birds is a review process by Kentucky’s General Assembly, which is expected to be done this fall.
   The KDFW Commission voted June 3 in favor of a Sandhill Crane hunting season.
   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.
   With final approval, Kentucky will be the only state east of the Mississippi River to allow Sandhill Crane hunting.

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