Call to Action

Sandhill Cranes at Barren River, Kentucky

“Wildlife-Associated Recreation” –
how it all compares in Kentucky

The following excerpt was taken from the Foreward of the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife- Associated Recreation report prepared by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for Kentucky and released in 2008. The charts appear in the same report.

To read the entire report please click here.

“…But wildlife-associated and vital recreation—activities such as hunting, fishing, and birding—also provide significant financial support for wildlife conservation in our Nation’s economy. According to information from the newest National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 87.5 million Americans spent more than $122 billion in 2006 on wildlife-related recreation. And this spending supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in industries and businesses.

The Survey is conducted every five years at the request of State fish and wildlife agencies to measure the importance of wildlife-based recreation to the American people. The 2006 Survey represents the 11th in a series that began in 1955. Developed in collaboration
with the States, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and national conservation organizations, the Survey has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife-related recreation in the United States…”

Participants in wildlife-associated recreation in Kentucky: 2006 – USFWS 2006 National Survey

Chart of total expenditures by participants in Kentucky (in millions of 2006 dollars) – USFWS 2006 National Survey

KDFWR 2012 Commission Districts & Members map


KDFWR/District Commissioners CONTACT INFO:

KDFWR Commissioner Greg Johnson
Commissioner Greg Johnson
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
#1 Sportsman’s Lane
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Terry K. Teitloff – 1st District
788 Hillcrest Drive
Smithland, KY 42081

C.F. %22Frank%22 Williams_2nd Dist
C. F. “Frank” Williams
 – 2nd District
2555 Club Court
Madisonville, KY 42431
(270) 821-6392, Ext. 205


Russell Gailor_3rd district commissioner
Russell (Rusty) Gailor – 3rd District
7422 3rd Street Road
Louisville, KY 40114


4th District – VACANT
Jimmy Bevins_5th District
Jimmy Bevins
– 5th District
12545 Georgetown Rd.
Owenton, KY 40359-8905


Stephen M. Glenn – 6th District
100 Old Hwy 151, Loop 2
Frankfort, KY 40601

Voncel Thacker_7th District
Voncel Thacker
– 7th District
Box 252
Hindman, KY 41822


Bob L Wells_8th District Commissioner
Bob L. Wells
– 8th District
300 Sayre Drive
Morehead, KY 40351


Christopher Lee Godby_9th DistrictChris Godby – 9th District
100 Jamie’s Way
Somerset, KY 42503


James Rich, M.D. – Commissioner Emeritus
757 Carol Drive
Taylor Mill, KY 41015

39 Responses to Call to Action

  1. Diane Miller says:

    Enough with the hunting already! Kentucky get with the times – hunting is animal abuse at its worst.

  2. As a bird and wildlife photographer, I am saddened and shocked to hear this! When will we, the barbaric, greedy and cruel human race learn to respect and protect our fellow species?

  3. James Daniel says:

    Let me say at the onset that I am certainly not against hunting…in fact, I have hunted and fished all my life. However, as a licensed hunter I am very concerned that the proposal to establish an Eastern Population Sandhill Crane hunting season was not based on sound, objective science and that it will fuel the anti-hunting sentiment and damage our future funding mechanisms. Also, I am disappointed with the dishonest way that Fish & Wildlife has ginned up this issue in the hunting community as an attack on all hunting…it is not.
    Let’s be clear that reasonable people like me can oppose the hunting of Sandhill Cranes on scientific and financial bases and not be anti-hunting. From the testimony that was presented at both of the public hearings held at KDFWR, and from what I have learned since, I am perplexed about what exactly IS the case to hunt Sandhills. An open records request indicated that KDFWR only had one written request to start a season on them. But one thing is perfectly clear, this KDFWR proposal to kill 400-800 Sandhill Cranes is about as popular amongst the general public as death panels for old people.

    As a hunter I question how the implementation of this hunting proposal will effect public sentiment which could then negatively effect donations to the Kentucky Non-game Tax Checkoff, the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, and/or partnerships and gifts from major corporations to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation?

    According to the agency’s Operating Budget for Fiscal Biennium 2010-2012, out of the total operating funds, roughly 35% (a number that is on the rise) comes from non-hunting sources that rightly contend that they should be represented at the table when these decisions are made. To say that hunting and fishing licenses are footing all of the bills, as KDFWR contends in its “case” for the hunt, is both inaccurate and antiquated and it is dishonest to publicly state otherwise.

    At the June 3 meeting, we were also told by KDFWR that the implementation of this hunt was part of a long term strategy to make hunting more popular to our youth and thus, increase revenues for conservation through the sale of licenses and hunting equipment to them. True enough, there is real reason to be concerned about the future funding of KDFWR and conservation in general. According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, Kentucky has a hunter replacement ratio of only .66, which means that only 2/3 of our youth in hunting families are continuing to participate in the sport. It is abundantly clear that the primary traditional source of funding habitat and resource management programs is unsustainable, so how will we continue funding conservation and wildlife stewardship in Kentucky? Here is a clue…

    According to the KDFWR’s own web site, “wildlife watching is the fastest growing recreational activity in the world. In the U.S., wildlife watching generates more than $45 billion a year. In Kentucky, studies indicate that more people watch birds than play golf.” You have to wonder if the agency’s policy makers ever read there own stuff? Like it or not, these eco-tourists folks are the future of conservation and therefore, hunting in Kentucky. So, with the full knowledge of that, what does Fish & Wildlife do?Start a season on the most watchable bird! This proposal flies in the face of these facts…where is the sense in that? Just because we can shoot these birds doesn’t mean that we should. What the “Sandhill” is going on here?

  4. Pingback: Hunting the Eastern Population of Sandhill Cranes? Stop the Madness | The Birders Report

  5. Steve Zammit says:

    Why on Erath do you want to shoot at such beautiful Cranes??? Get a life and find something else to shoot insetad. Leave the Sandhill Cranes alone…Shoot the birds with your cameras and watch with your binoculars and not with your guns!! How can you shoot such a handsome creature? How sad indeed

  6. Pingback: Help Stop the Hunting of Sandhill Cranes | The Birders Report

  7. Patsie Peak says:

    Twice a year our family looks forward to first hearing and then searching the sky for the beautiful V of the Sandhills flying south in the fall and north in the spring. So exciting!

    Wouldn’t it be tragic if a Whooping Crane were accidentally shot, mistaken for a Sandhill.

    Please vote against hunting the Sandhill Cranes.

  8. loretta kent says:

    Please save the Sandhill Crane.

  9. Judy thompson says:

    I an fascinated at the sight of the lovely birds. I am against killing them.

  10. I am opposed to the killing of sandhill cranes in Kentucky
    Where are they? I have never seen one in Kentucky.
    I have seen them gracing the landscape in Florida and
    New Mexico.They are beautiful dignified birds that
    need to be preserved for our children and grandchildren
    to enjoy.

  11. Terri L. Koontz says:

    I was deeply chagrined to see a proposal that Sandhill Cranes might be hunted. I am baffled at this suggestion. What could possibly explain a desire to hunt these birds? Does someone need their meat? Are they an overpopulation nuisance? Is there some kind of historical precedent? (If so, is it stronger than the desire of so many to SEE this majestic bird overflying our state? Birders, like myself? Thousands of us?) I shudder to think: is this someone’s idea of a new way to raise revenue? (Licensing fees.) To boost our economy? (Hunters’ equipment; ammunition).

    Is this bird currently considered a game species in other states?

    I am not against hunting. I have a good friend who is a deer hunter (and from whom I am delighted to receive venison). As a biology teacher, I am well aware of the need to cull deer herds to prevent overpopulation and avoid environmental degradation. I am delighted to see the continuing increase in turkey populations; not only because I enjoy watching these birds, but also because I recognize their historic importance as a game species. They grace the tables of many a skilled hunter at Thanksgiving time.

    But Sandies?!!! What could POSSIBLY be the point of hunting this species?!!!

    • Mrs. Koontz,

      Sandhill Cranes are excellent table fare (they are often referred to as the “ribeyes of the sky”), and YES, they are a game species in other states and have been hunted in the central flyway for over 40 years. Both the federal and state widlife officials have deemed that this season will not have a negative impact on the eastern Sandhill population, as we are only talking about 400 permits. I really don’t see how anyone who is OK with turkey hunting having a problem with hunting Sandhill Cranes… I guess the wild turkey just doesn’t fall into the “majestic” category.

  12. ullin leavell says:

    It would be a great mistake to allow killing of sandhill cranes
    They are beautiful stately creatures that beautify our landscape
    Preserve them for our children and grandchildren .
    Inform the public where they are and encourage people to bring
    their binoculars and cameras and NOT THEIR GUNS!!!!

  13. Ceci Mitchell says:


  14. Claire Dixon-Conder says:

    I am completely against the killing of sandhill cranes. (In my opinion, it cannot be called hunting when using a firearm against an animal or bird). Hardly a day goes by that the news doesn’t report some type of animal cruelty occurring in this state. This proposal just perpetuates the mentality that God’s creatures are disposable at mans discretion.

    If this proposal is passed, I will no longer support in any way the Fish and Wildlife Department.

  15. Caryn Sappelli says:

    If the goal is to increase tourism, why not publicize the opportunity to view & photograph the Sandhill Crane migration? Now that would something everyone could get behind. I remain in full opposition to hunting these birds, for all the reasons mentioned in the previous comments.

  16. Bonnie Pagan says:

    The thought of one of these magnificent birds being shot in flight and then dragged into the back of a pickup truck (and for what purpose?) is enough to make me sick at my stomach. Surely we Kentuckians have a little more appreciation for God’s creation than to kill a beautiful bird just for the hell of it.

  17. lg says:

    What kind of meth addled “sportsman” thinks hunting Sand hill Cranes with a shotgun is Sport? Have you ever seen these birds fly? They are the poster birds for Slow Motion. It is about as much sport as shooting a White Tail from 500 yds away because your too inept to get any closer. Why not add a week long surface to air missile season too? Come on [KDFWR], Whose idea was this? Fire them, and move on. Please.

  18. Cathy Gilbert says:

    I just read an ad in Leo Magazine about a hunting season for sandhill cranes. I could not believe my eyes. Please do all you can to get the word out so sensible people will oppose this stupid, stupid idea.

  19. Judith Weckman says:

    Commissioner Gassett,

    Please do whatever you need to do to prevent the hunting of sandhill cranes. There is no compelling biological/ecological reason for opening a hunt of this species. There are, however, many reasons to allow these birds to use our Kentucky fields unmolested. Do not bend to the pressure of a few.

  20. Tom Welter says:

    You should trust your biologists and allow hunting of sandhill cranes. Look what has happened to the deer population.

    • Don Holt says:

      In response to Mr. Tom Welter’s comment that the commissioners should trust their biologists and allow crane hunting, and not knowing myself who their biologists are or what they say, nonetheless I would like to respectfully point out that sandhill cranes are not whitetail deer. In contrast to deer, Cranes reproduce at a slower rate, they disperse much more easily, are obviously migratory and therefore not a purely local concern (a temporary concentration in one area may easily contribute to the recovery of a population crash in another area), and they have different and more numerous predators. Concerning the possibilites of problems from overpopulation, any parallel one might draw between cranes and deer would be hard to defend.

      Don Holt
      Johnson City, TN

  21. Rae- Anne Embry says:

    My husband and I are definitely opposed to a Sandhill Crane Hunting season in Kentucky.

    We just arrive back from Florida and on our first day back in KY we were amazed to see these beautiful birds returning home as well. We watched for an hour as flocks flew directly over our home. For several years now we have been honored to have these birds land in our fields for rest and nourishment before they continued their travels. . . .never have they been a nuisance or have we wish they would not stay longer. In fact every Feb I hope to look out my windows or sit on the porch and see them in the fields or flying overhead.

    My husband and I have lived in KY our entire lives and I was proud to call myself a Kentuckian when legislators worked tirelessly to bring the World Equestrian Games here. . . .it seemed we may well be on our way to shake the image we have in this country. But now, if this bill passes, I will frankly be ashamed to call myself a Kentuckian. We should be promoting the beauty of Kentucky and all its natural resources through eco-tourism and wildlife viewing instead of exploiting them for a minor few.

    Please listen to the pleas of your constituents and vote no! If this plan is defeated you will be heros to all Kentuckians that love these beautiful birds and want them to remain a species that is not hunted in Kentucky!

  22. Ignatius J Riley says:

    I think hunters have plenty of other targets available. Although I do not hunt myself, I see that they actually do some good for some species- like deer- who are overpopulating and have few predators left. But sandhill cranes? Why??

  23. Jana McNally says:

    Thank you for this opportunity to express my opinion that Sandhill Cranes not be hunted in Kentucky. When my boys were younger, we would hear the gurgling, purring call of the Sandhill cranes as they flew over our farm during the months of November and February. Amazing flocks of differing sizes would fly over and sometimes we would be lucky enough to see them as they circled above us to gain altitude. My oldest son who died from leukemia 7 years ago was always the most excited when the cranes would fly over. Five days after his death, my husband and I are our youngest son, then three, were rewarded with seeing the largest group of Sandhill Cranes we had ever seen. They wheeled and circled above our heads as we were reminded of the love and joy they brought to our Isaiah, who at 6 years of age was a bird watcher and crane lover extraordinaire. Please know that these birds mean more to some people in Kentucky than you can ever know and that by frightening the cranes or killing them you are changing life not only for the cranes but for your fellow Kentuckians. Please show your nobility by being a considerate and non crane shooting hunter.

  24. linda craiger says:

    I am strongly opposed to Sandhill Crane hunting. These birds are a natural resources to all Kentuckians, not just hunters. They have only recently become plentiful enough for the average person to see them near a roadway in Ky. I dare say very few people in Ky have seen them up close. If they are hunted, I believe they will be harder to view without camouflage, high powered scopes and binoculars since they will not allow people or cars to get up close to them. They may even change their flight patterns. After all, their numbers have only recently increased in a couple of spots in Ky, for just a few months out of the year. This is by no means a common bird for us. Please protect this beautiful bird.

  25. W McCoy says:

    If the hunting of sandhill cranes is allowed in this state it will show once again the backwards mentality of many of the people in the Kentucky legislature and the people that voted them in. It’s an embarrassment to say I am from Kentucky when this type of idiotic thinking is even suggested, much more when it passes. It is no wonder we are battling it out with a couple other states (who will remain unnamed) to be 50th in education.

  26. Cathy VanArsdale says:

    I can only repeat what others have already written here. Please do not allow the hunting of sandhill cranes.

  27. Sandra L. Mooser says:

    I feel God put me on this earth to within my means, protect, speak out for creatures that have no say so in matters such as this…. I could write a novel for the reasons NOT to pass this proposal, but do I need to? This is insane. NO TO HUNTING SANDHILL CRANES….

  28. Matt Zurkuhlen says:

    Kentucky is a land of fantastic natural resources. I am a hunter and a fisherman, and I feel the hunting of these cranes would be extremely negative. They are majestic, and should not be hunted. We need to protect our natural resources, and opening up hunting on this bird would be big mistake.
    Matt Zurkuhlen

    • If you are truly a hunter, how you justify your opposition to this season? Because they are “majestic”? So we should only shoot animals/birds that are inferior? What about turkeys or geese? I realize Sandhills aren’t as common as these other birds, but both federal and state biologists have deemed that this season (with just 400 permits) will not have a negative impact on the population. There is no reason that both hunters AND wildlife watchers can’t both enjoy Sandhill Cranes.

      I have been reading every comment on this board and have yet to see one biological reason NOT to hunt Sandhills…

  29. Bonnie Avery says:

    I am against any hunting of these “birds of heaven”, one of the last bits of wildness in our State and Country. Everyone I know is in awe when a flock of cranes is heard, or seen flying overhead. It is unconscionable to imagine a reduction of these semi-rare birds in our lifetimes, and perhaps far fewer in the future for our children and grandchildren to experience with awe and reverence.

  30. Mary Zimmer says:

    I am strongly opposed to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission allowing the hunting of sandhill cranes. There is no information in the news articles that they are overpopulated which is the usual rationale for killing animals with automatic rifles with gunsights which isn’t exactly a fair battle, is it?
    Are sandhill cranes presenting any problem to any farmer, business or community in Kentucky? If not, then why allow them to be killed for sport? There’s no rationale for this proposal, other than some Kentucky hunters want to have something else to hunt. After all, the only animals they can hunt now are deer, elk, squirrels, rabbits, ducks, geese and wild turkeys. Are they all totally bored with that list? And how much of each one is killed and wasted?
    That’s an important statistic the Kentucky people need before the Commission votes on opening hunting to another beautiful bird, of which very little of it’s grace and beauty will become food for hunters and their families. None will feed the hungry of the Commonwealth, will they?
    Hunter boredom is not a good enough reason to kill a bird Peter Mathiessen calls a “bird of heaven.” And the Japanese consider cranes to be symbols of peace.
    I wish I thought such sentiments made a difference to men who love to kill for sport.
    At the very least, restrict it to bow hunting. Then the birds would have a chance to flee for their lives.
    There have been tourism boycotts for states for much less than opening the hunting of a beautiful and graceful bird which is an important part of Kentucky ecology. Nothing positive can come of opening sandhill cranes to be hunted. Is the state ready to deal with the tourism fallout? This state certainly does not need one more reason to reveal to the rest of the country how uneducated and thoughtless the culture here is. Opening hunting to cranes will be one more reason for Kentucky to be considered happily moving back toward the 19th century if sandhill cranes are allowed to be

    • More misinformation. Overpopulation is NOT the rationale for most hunting seasons. Population control is a benefit of hunting, but it is a heritage as old as man.

      NO ONE hunts with automatic rifles. It’s illegal. Only shotguns would be legal equipment to hunt Sandhills (along with all the other bird species).

      Sandhills are excellent table fare, just as much so as turkey, deer, ducks and geese. This hunt will have ZERO impact on the population, and will provide additional opportunity for the sportsmen of this state – who are the ones actually PAYING for wildlife conservation….the reason why there are enough Sandhills to hunt to begin with.

      • F. McWilliams says:

        Mr. Grossman,
        I believe you are contributing to misinformation when you state that only sportsmen of this state pay for wildlife conservation, and you are also misleading by making the assumption that all such sportsmen are in agreement with this crane hunting proposal. I am strongly opposed to the hunting of sandhill cranes, yet I also contribute to the KDFWR budget by purchasing “Nature” license plates, by sometimes contributing to the Kentucky Nature and Wildlife Fund on my tax return, and by occasionally purchasing Ky. fishing licenses (for myself and/or for my children). It is doubtful I will continue to support KDFWR in any of these ways should this proposal be enacted.

        Another question I have is: will this program be cost effective? Will it pay for itself? From the questions I have been asking of budget savvy and KDFWR-familiar people
        here in Frankfort, the answer is a resounding “no”. So why do it at all? Fish and Wildlife will be losing money, as well as alienating many previous supporters (I really find it unlikely that they will gain any NEW support over this!). The state of Ohio is selling permits for the VIEWING of sandhill cranes in the eastern flyway…yet Kentucky, in it’s great “wisdom”, is proposing to sell permits and be the first state within the eastern flyway to KILL them! I say let’s leave our antiquated (and embarrassing) ways behind and ditch this proposal!!

      • Mr. McWilliams,

        The only ones spreading misinformation are those opposed to the Sandhill Crane season. First of all, money spent on a nature license plate doesn’t go directly to the KDFWR and is not used for its operation. That money goes into a Heritage Land Conservation Fund where it is used to purchase land – which may or may not be managed by the KDFWR. My original point was directed at those who think because they are a taxpayer that they somehow have a stake in what the KDFWR does.

        I don’t think I ever said that ALL sportsmen are for this season, however, I would question any sportsman’s reasoning for opposing it.

        I don’t believe KDFWR’s mission involves creating a profit, so I’m not sure that questioning whether or not it will pay for itself has any bearing. Most of the KDFWR’s programs don’t “pay for themselves”…at least not monetarily. It boils down to this….1) Is there a reason to hunt Sandhill Cranes? Yes…they are excellent table fare. 2) Does it provide additional opportunity for Kentucky’s sportsmen? Yes it does. 3) Is it biologically sound? Yes it is. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason NOT to hunt Sandhill Cranes.

        I’m proud to support an organization that bases its decisions on sound science and refuses to bow down to a handful of zealots whose entire opposition is based on their emotional attachment to a bird.

        I’m sorry to hear that you will no longer support the KDFWR, but I seriously doubt that will have any bearing on their future. This season will be approved and life will go on, and no one except a very small group of birders will even remember this was an issue a year from now.

      • Linda Porter says:

        Mr. Grossman – I don’t usually participate in these conversations but I really have to say something to you about your single minded defense of all things hunting. I pay for fishing licenses every year and have relatives who are hunters. I also have volunteered countless hours and contribute funds at Salato Wildlife Center to support their habitat enhancement programs. So please, don’t assume that I am just another liberal crazy who doesn’t know squat about the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. I am opposed to shooting of sandhill cranes because I have yet to see any proof that opening up hunting for them is necessary or wise given their slow reproduction rate and their past history of sensitivity to stress in the environment. I have also been blessed to observe these creatures migrating over my home and to watch them doing their intricate mating dance. If KDFWR wants to do something to bring in more funds (they are desperate for funds I know) then why not work to encourage birding in Kentucky by protecting these migratory behaviors and seeking funding from conservationists to protect birding sites. This is a more thoughtful, creative and humane funding plan than providing your “table fare”.

  31. Judith Lyons says:

    Please do not allow hunting of these magnificent birds!

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