Sandhill Crane hunting draws nearer as subcommittee approves regulation

   Hunting Sandhill Cranes in the Commonwealth is one step closer to reality after a Kentucky legislature subcommittee approved a regulation Tuesday that will allow it.
   The state legislature’s Administrative Regulation and Review Subcommittee approved the measure that will make Kentucky the only state east of the Mississippi River that will allow hunters to kill the birds.
   While the measure must be approved by two other legislative committees, there is expected to be little doubt that it will pass and 400 permits will be issued to kill 400 Sandhill Cranes, beginning Dec. 15, and continuing for 30 days.
   The last hope for the big birds is the review process by Kentucky’s General Assembly. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources 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 Dec. 15 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.

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