KY Sandhill Season

Sandhill Cranes in Kentucky/ video by Kentucky Afield

Sandhill flying over Hardin County KY, February 2014.  Photo by Mary W. Yandell

2021 season

115 Sandhills
Allen Co. – 2; Barren River area – 89; Bourbon Co. – 2; Grayson Co. – 2; Hardin Co. – 14;
LaRue Co. – 4; Todd Co. – 2

2020 season

65 Sandhills
Barren River area – 49; Hardin Co. – 12; LaRue Co. – 2; Lincoln Co. – 2

2019 season

96 Sandhills
Barren River area – 61; Hardin Co. – 29; Logan Co. – 2; Madison Co. – 1; Simpson Co. – 1;
Taylor Co. – 2

2018 season

60 Sandhills
Barren River Lake area – 39; Edmundson Co. – 1; Hardin Co. – 19; Monroe Co. – 1

2017 season

119 Sandhills
Barren River Lake area – 115; Hardin Co. – 3; Taylor Lake – 1

2016 Kentucky season ends

On January 15, 2016 the 2016-2017 Sandhill season closed with a total of 172 cranes killed. This is the highest take recorded since the Kentucky season was begun in 2011. Following is a breakdown by county: Barren River Lake area – 148, Hardin Co. – 18, Monroe Co. – 4, Mercer Co. – 1, Monroe Co. – 1. There were Whooping Cranes present in the state during the season.

KY Department of Fish and wildlife Resources 2016-2017 season summary.

2015 Sandhill season ends for 75 cranes

Sandhill Crane over Cecilia-Hardin Co KY_3 March 2015_IMG8037_MWYandell

Sandhill Crane over Cecilia, Hardin Co. KY, March 3, 2015.

The first official Kentucky season on Sandhill Cranes ended January 10, 2016 with a total of 75 cranes killed. The following is the breakdown by County: Hardin Co. – 41, Barren River Lake area – 30, Simpson Co. – 2 and LaRue County – 2. And, while there were Whooping Cranes in the state during the season there were no known mishaps in identification.

For KDFWR County Summary maps of the experimental SACR seasons, click on the following:
Sandhill Crane_County Summary 2011
Sandhill Crane_County Summary 2012
Sandhill Crane_County Summary 2013

92 Sandhill Cranes killed in second Kentucky hunting season  

Barren River Lake is possibly the largest staging area for Sandhills in Kentucky. Of the 92 Sandhill Cranes killed this season, the Barren River Lake area lead in kills (three birds on the WMA with the rest on private land). Ironically, it is also the setting for the only organized Sandhill Crane-viewing in Kentucky, sponsored by the Kentucky State Department of Parks – Nature Watch Weekends, Jan. 25-27 and Feb. 8-10, 2013.

Sandhill cranes. Photo by David L. Roemer

Sandhill cranes. Photo by David L. Roemer


Barren County – 66
Hardin County – 18
Hopkins County – 1
Harrison County – 2
Nelson County – 1
Fulton County – 2
Bourbon County – 2

Second of 3-year Experimental Sandhill Season Begins in Kentucky 

Sandhill Cranes over Cecilia KY

Sandhill Cranes over Cecilia KY

Saturday, December 15, 2012 marked the beginning of the second in a three-year experimental Sandhill Crane season in Kentucky. The season will run until January 13, 2013 or until 400 Sandhills are killed, whichever comes first, when the season will be closed.

Earlier this year the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources held a series of nine Town Hall meetings across the state. As was the case last year, the public was encouraged to share its concerns with Commissioner Jon Gassett and the District Commissioners in a public forum. As of this post, the KDFWR had not yet posted its responses to the Town Hall meeting questions and comments.

At the 3rd District Town Hall a discussion between Ben Yandell of the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, Commissioner Gassett and 3rd District Commissioner, Stuart Ray took place. To read more click here: Transcription of KDFWR:Third District Town Hall mtg_15 Feb 2012 (Word doc)

There was a question from a hunter in the audience asking about the quota being raised if permits are purchased but not used to kill cranes. Commissioner Gasset: “You know, we will keep an eye on it and make sure we adjust appropriately. Raising the limit, it is an experimental season with the Feds right now. It’s a three-year season, so we have to be very careful about what we change on that. We can change how we do the drawing, but we have to be careful about how, you know, as far as changing limits, season lengths or that sort of thing.”

Commissioner Gassett’s response is telling as it indicates the Department is prematurely considering the possibility both of raising the quota and increasing the length of the Kentucky season. But, according to USFWS’s Eastern Population Management Plan, decisions such as these are based on an overview of the entire eastern population across the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways. What happens to the population in one state affects the entire population.

50 Sandhill Cranes killed in first of
three-year experimental season

Kentucky’s first 30-day hunting season on Sandhills ended Sunday, January 15. It should not be a surprise that the two counties – Barren Co. (Barren River) and Hardin Co. (Cecilia) – with the highest numbers killed, are the main staging areas for cranes in Kentucky. Both these areas have suitable habitat – agricultural fields, mudflats, shallow lakes and ponds – for Sandhills to find food and roosting sites during their migration.

In the recent past, thousands of Sandhill Cranes could be viewed at any given time from roads in the area as they fed and especially at dusk when they dropped in to roost. However, with the start of the season, long-time roosting sites were abandoned for other sites and the now wary Sandhills fly whenever approaching cars slow to watch them. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the upcoming Barren River State Park crane viewing weekends.

Despite opposition by thousands across Kentucky and the eastern states Sandhill Cranes will be killed beginning  December 17  

For the first time in almost a century in the eastern U.S., Sandhill Cranes will begin falling dead from the sky Saturday, December 17, 2011. Regarded as a victory by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources over the thousands of individuals in Kentucky and other eastern states who expressed concern and opposition to this new season it will, in Commissioner Gassett’s words, provide Kentucky with yet another “hunter opportunity.”  And, since this eastern population of Sandhill Cranes has not been under fire in its collective memory, the hunt should prove to be like shooting fish in a barrel – providing true sport for the lucky 332 hunters drawn in the inaugural lottery.  May the Sandhills fly high and overfly Kentucky!

KDFWR Season Details
The experimental hunting season for sandhill cranes in Kentucky will begin Saturday, December 17th, 2011 and continue until January 15th, 2012 or until the harvest of 400 sandhill cranes.  The season will be a statewide season which would allow the harvest of a maximum of 400 sandhill cranes in Kentucky.  The hunt will occur from sunrise to sunset each day.  Hunters will be required to use shotguns with USFWS approved non-toxic shot to hunt cranes in Kentucky.  Successful hunters will be required to Telecheck harvested cranes the day of harvest.   An area closed to sandhill crane hunting will exist at Barren River Lake.  Sandhill crane hunting shall be prohibited within 100 yards of the normal summer pool level of 552 feet in the following embayments  of Barren River Lake: Beaver Creek; Peters Creek; and Skaggs Creek.

Persons interested in hunting sandhill cranes must have a sandhill crane permit to hunt sandhill cranes in Kentucky.  To obtain a permit, interested hunters must apply for a permit via the KDFWR Online License and Permit Agent between November 15th, 2011 and November 30th, 2011.  Applicants must possess a valid Kentucky hunting license or be license exempt pursuant to KRS 150.170 before applying.  Application via the online agent will cost applicants $3.00.  Applications will be accepted from both Resident and Non-Resident hunters.

The 400 permit holders will be randomly selected from all applicants via a randomized Electronic Drawing.  This drawing will occur on or before December 5th, 2011 and successful applicants will be notified immediately on the KDFWR website.  A Sandhill Crane Hunt web page will allow applicants to enter their name and Social Security number to see if they have been successfully drawn.

Successful Applicants
Sportsmen and sportswomen drawn via random drawing must complete and pass an online identification test before receiving their Sandhill Crane Hunting Permits.  Failure to complete or pass this test will result in a Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit not being issued.  Applicants will check for success via the KDFWR website.  During this check, successful applicants will be given a link to the online test.  At the completion of the test, applicants will be able to print a permit which must be carried in the field.  Successful applicants will also be mailed metal tags which must be permanently affixed to each harvested crane.  To hunt, a person must have the following in their possession: a valid Kentucky hunting license, a migratory bird or waterfowl permit, a metal Sandhill Crane Tag, and a Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit.
{CONCERN: How thorough is the KDFWR test? Do hunters only have to be able to tell the difference between obvious birds such as a white pelican, great blue heron and adult Sandhill Crane? Are juvenile Whooping cranes and Sandhill Cranes being taken into consideration – MUCH harder to tell apart in the field and in bad light conditions?}

Each sandhill crane harvest must be reported via Telecheck by midnight the day of harvest.  The Telecheck confirmation number will serve as permission to possess that crane.  {CONCERN: If hunters wait until late in the day to report via Telecheck isn’t there the possibility that more than 400 Sandhills will be killed?}

Each hunter MUST check the KDFWR website daily for notice of season closure.  While 800 tags will be mailed to permit holders, the season will close if harvest reaches 400 cranes.  If this harvest limit is reached, KDFWR will immediately notify hunters via the KDFWR website.  KDFWR will also post notices to warn hunters of the presence of whooping cranes in Kentucky. {CONCERN: If hunters wait until late in the day to check the KDFWR website for notice of season closure isn’t there the possibility more than 400 Sandhills will be killed? If hunters are in the field how will they read the KDFWR posts of the presence of Whooping Cranes? What will be done about the inevitable poaching of Sandhill Cranes after the limit of 400 is met (as they were already being poached in Cecilia KY this spring before the possibility of a season was even announced)?}

Post Season Requirements:
All permit holders must complete an end of season survey.  Anyone not completing this survey would not be eligible to apply for future hunts.

Read joint letter from 15 (now 17) Kentucky conservation groups requesting postponement of the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt here.

The International Crane Foundation Comments on the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Proposal for
a Sandhill Crane Hunting Season

“… In 2009 and 2010, approximately one in five nests fledged a chick to migration. Given this 18% fledging to migration rate, a harvest and crippling removal of 480 birds would require 2,800 nests to replace the hunting loss…for Sandhill Cranes that migrate through Kentucky…”

To read the entire report from the International Crane Foundation, please click here.

Read the International Crane Foundation’s May 25, 2011 clarification of points made in Kentucky assessment as requested by KDFWR.

Read the International Crane Foundation’s analysis of June 2, 2011 presentation by KDFWR to the Legislative Research Committee.

Final rule on 
Kentucky Sandhill Crane hunt published in USFWS Federal Register

The International Crane Foundation (ICF), Kentucky Resources Council (KRC), several other non-governmental organizations; 337 individuals from Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin; and several petitions containing signatures from over 3,000 people expressed both general and specific concerns about the scientific uncertainty of the Kentucky proposal, the EP Sandhill Crane Management Plan, and the potential taking of whooping cranes. All expressed opposition to the establishment of a new sandhill crane season in Kentucky. According to Alicia King, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service there were no letters that supported the hunt.

Read August 30, 2011 Federal Register Final Ruling on EP of Sandhill Cranes here (pages 3-4 pertain to the Kentucky season)

Read Courier-Journal article about ruling by Jim Bruggers here.

Sandhill Cranes_Barren Co., Kentucky

Barren Co. KY staging area for sandhill cranes

24 Responses to KY Sandhill Season

  1. Shirley White says:

    I for one have never seen one and hope to see one this week end. I have never understood the need for hunting in this day and time, and can’t see how this can improve anything.

  2. Luke says:

    I cant believe kentucky is hunting sandhill cranes OMG!!!!!! It breaks my heart to see these beautiful birds being hunted. Are you kidding me!!!!!!!!! Here in FLORIDA you get fined up to $5000 and go to jail if caught killing a sandhill crane in any way. I think I need to make a visit to kentucky and check this out. And yes I do know where all this is taking place up there. I think I need to pay a visit to these areas in kentucky and work my way into other states as well. I have plenty of time and money to help these sandhill cranes.

  3. gerald heath says:

    I appreciate that hunters support conservation, land acquisition , management and monitoring thru their Hunting permits fees, & season bird-specific license fees, Ducks Unlimited, etc.; but so do non-hunters through state taxes & tax check-off, environmental license plates fees. The only upside is that the law is provisional, limited to 3 year (test period. Perhaps, thru consistently letting our governor & legislators know our opinion that this ill-conceived law can be repealed & undone. =/gh PS: we need to have a crane festival, to celebrate nature viewing and teach environmental appreciation thru environmental tourism planning & promotion. Local schools and nature centers and environmental & bird organizations could offer a wide variety of programs, demonstrations, exhibits and nature viewing walks (also the removal of this law could remove yet another “stigma” from the nationwide persisting perception of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Kentucky politics and culture, and Kentuckians as being ignorant, poorly educated, provincial and out of touch with the modern worlds logical, and modern fact based scientific, environmental protection, bio-geographic and environmental tourism thinking. (please read bck to David Roemer’s well written post (TY DR)

  4. Ethelyn says:

    It has been stated that the hunting of cranes will not generally affect the overall population, and I agree with this. But it will drastically affect the ability of people to enjoy these birds. Sandhill Cranes can be approached relatively closely at this time for viewing and photography when they are feeding in fields. They are very wary and always have an eye on you, but will at least allow one to stop along the country roads near the fields where they feed. I am certain that if hunting is allowed this will no longer be possible as they will then become like waterfowl and maintain a great distance between them and humans. This will have a negative impact on crane watching events such as the Crane Weekends sponsored by the Kentucky State Parks as well as enjoyment by the general public.

    • Marianne says:

      The International Crane Foundation still asks that you always remain 200 yards from these birds. The Eastern Flyway is the area the whooping cranes are still trying to establish a flock that can become fully protected by the endangered status instead of still remaining in the experimental status. By stopping closer than 200 yards for any reason, you decrease the chance that the Whooping cranes can safely stay with the sandhills. It is also not helpful when people stop along county roads to attempt taking photos & instead cause accidents.
      While I know you mean well, the argument of getting close to a while animal is not a strong one. I too hope that hunting these animals does not increase since it takes them so long to reproduce and in such small numbers, especially successfully. Once again, humans may add to the reason for this as adults may abandon the colt that a human nearby may not notice in tall grass or even hiding nearby.
      Stay 200 yards away and enjoy seeing and hearing these birds. Either use telephoto lenses or scopes that can be added to phones to take photos.
      God Bless

      • KY4cranes says:

        Hello Marianne,
        Yes, the International Crane Foundation asks that anyone observing Whooping Cranes stay at least 1,000 feet from the birds. If a crane changes its behavior due to your presence you are too close! Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes will move if they feel threatened in any way. Photographers should not risk causing traffic accidents when attempting to photograph cranes. Safety of people and cranes should come foremost. The pursuit of any crane for the “perfect” photo can easily cross the line into harassment of the birds, and if this behavior is witnessed it should be report to the KY Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

        The Whooping Crane population that migrates between its breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada to wintering grounds in Aransas NWR, Texas is the only surviving wild population of Whooping Cranes in the world. The Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes will always be considered a “non-essential,” “experimental” population, as it is a reintroduced population to the areas where the Whooping Cranes were once extirpated by unregulated overhunting. Through the years there have been other experimental groups that USFWS and crane biologists worked to establish, but were eventually discontinued because the birds, for various reasons, never became a self-sustaining population. The eastern migratory population and the non-migratory population in Louisiana are current USFWS projects and both are slowly growing in numbers.

        No need to worry about colts being abandoned when here in Kentucky, because by the time family groups migrate here from their breeding grounds in Wisconsin the juveniles are fully flighted.

        Thanks for your interest in the Sandhills and Whoopers!

  5. sheeba01 says:

    If one wishes to hunt Sandhill cranes, let them do so with either a camera or sketch pad! Killing (harvesting) is NOT a solution .

    Peggy in Florida

  6. nita marie moccia says:

    What if we have an open season on Robins, hell, they are everywhere, and bluebirds…. too… You don’t bring back species from the near brink of extinction and then decide there are too many. and shoot them… they are not destroying crops in the dead of winter …. just eating what is left of corn stubble…..please say NO to this hunt…….

  7. susan carson lambert says:

    my email to chris grasch – the f&w person assigned to anderson county, where i live.


    you’re my f&w guy as far as i know.

    hunting sand hill cranes….i don’t think so. what a bad idea.

    i am adamantly, absolutely, positively, categorically, surely, truly, really really, unconditionally, unquestionably, precisely, no if ands or buts or doubt about it, decidedly, for damn sure……… opposed to including these creatures in the ‘can hunt them’ category in kentucky.

    not sure what to do……… but tell my f&w guy how i feel about this issue.


  8. Harold Sharp says:

    Maybe the route to go would be a legal challenge to the US Fish & Wildlife Service who must approve the proposal. If a law firm representing those opposed to this open season ask the USF&WS if it’s legal for a state to open the season and restrict it to a select few people that would be issued a permit but not allow any and everyone who wanted to kill a Sandhill the opportunity to do so. The states do not own these birds, they are migratory birds under the protection of US F&WS, so how can they allow a open season that just allows X number of people to hunt them and not allow anyone with a hunting licemse to hunt them, is this legal ? If a law firm requested a ruling from USF&WS on this question they may not approve it.

    Harold Sharp
    Riverwalk Bird Club

  9. Ceci Mitchell says:

    I HOPE EVERYONE POSTING TO THIS BLOG ARE ALSO WRITING LETTERS TO KDFWR AND TO NEWSPAPERS AND FORWARDING INFO TO OTHERS. The cranes need all the help they can get! I’ve even drafted letters for sympathetic friends to sign/send themselves in order to make it easier for them to communicate their wishes. RALLY!!!

  10. Patricia Sundburg says:

    Isn’t there enough killing and dying going on in the world through wars and natural disasters without our adding to it. The one thing that calms our souls is the viewing of nature in all its beauty. To destroy one more element of this is to destroy another part of ourselves. Let the Sand hill crane live!

  11. Phyllis B. Ladd says:

    Where in KY are these beautiful creatures??? We just returned from Sebring, FL and had the pleasure of watching 2 lay 2 eggs, have the BOTH hatch, and follow the chicks as they grew until we had to come home. Did not even realize that they were anywhere in KY until a lady wrote a letter to the editor in the Paducah Sun regarding the awful possibility of hunting them. Please let me know where we could see them here in KY.

  12. Mary Lou McReynolds says:

    I think it’s TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE to ever hunt Sandhill Cranes in Kentucky – – except with cameras, binoculars or spotting scopes! They are beautiful birds which mate for life, do NO harm to the environment, add a special avian sighting for Kentuckians, and reproduce at a rate low enough to never need “thinning” as do deer, turkeys, and waterfowl. I do respect hunters and realize the good that has been accomplished by the sale of licenses – – but there is no need to sacrifice Sandhill Cranes for a small amount of revenue.
    Mary Lou McReynolds

  13. June Koon says:

    I grew up in a hunting and fishing household as many others in KY have. I’ve never seen a Sandhill Crane although I watch birds alot, I assumed that as the population grew I would get the chance as with Bald Eagles which are making a great comeback finally. I also read on this website that Sandhills mate for life just knowing that would deter me from being in favor of a hunting season. To me that would be just as bad as someone shooting your spouse. That and nine chances out of ten the whooping cranes are going to be confused with sandhills and they are a protected species. I can’t imagine they’d taste that good we have plenty of stuff in Ky to shoot and eat without going after a species that many people have never had a chance to see.

  14. Paul Zurkuhlen says:

    Hunting is a longstanding tradition in the Commonwealth, but as far as I can tell, hunting these majestic and monogamous birds is not part of that tradition. I shot a bull elk some years ago, and enjoy fishing, but as one avid hunter said at the Tom Sawyer Park hearing, these birds should be enjoyed other than on a plate. There is absolutely no shortage of game species in Kentucky. And as far as “emotional” arguments against hunting a given species, isn’t emotion (and sometimes extinction) what keeps any species off the game list? Eagles, manatees, (if we had any here) horses, cardinals, bison and cattle come to mind.

  15. David Roemer says:

    I have been an outdoor enthusiast and fisherman all of my life, and an avid hunter for much of it. I have contributed to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife funding by purchasing licenses, stamps and permits for 40 years and am not opposed to hunting, but I am opposed to hunting cranes in the eastern US. I would like to share my thoughts on the hunting of Sandhill Cranes in Kentucky.

    In 1918, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted to protect all cranes in the United States and Canada as their populations had dropped to dangerously low levels due to hunting. Sandhill Crane populations slowly rebounded because of this protection. Their successful comeback is not due to a reintroduction program as is that of White-tailed Deer, Eastern Wild Turkey and other hugely successful and excellent efforts by Fish and Wildlife departments. They have done it on their own due to protection. They do not utilize refuges in Kentucky in any numbers for protection or feeding.

    Crop depredation which is often stated as a reason for hunting cranes is not an issue in Kentucky. These birds are here in appreciable numbers from December through mid-February and feed primarily in corn stubble fields and have no effect on crops. In an instance where a landowner can prove that cranes are damaging crops, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has a plan in place where these incidents can be addressed on an individual basis.

    It has been stated that the hunting of cranes will not generally affect the overall population, and I agree with this. But it will drastically affect the ability of people to enjoy these birds. Sandhill Cranes can be approached relatively closely at this time for viewing and photography when they are feeding in fields. They are very wary and always have an eye on you, but will at least allow one to stop along the country roads near the fields where they feed. I am certain that if hunting is allowed this will no longer be possible as they will then become like waterfowl and maintain a great distance between them and humans. This will have a negative impact on crane watching events such as the Crane Weekends sponsored by the Kentucky State Parks as well as enjoyment by the general public.

    I am fortunate to live in the area where the highest number of Sandhill Cranes overwinter and stage during migration. I have spent many hundreds of hours studying and photographing these birds. They attract more attention from the public than any other wildlife species in the area, including Bald Eagles. I often see vehicles pulled to the side of the road along fields where these birds are feeding with the people pointing to the cranes with smiles and looks of amazement on their faces. They sometimes stop and ask me questions about the cranes when I’m pulled off the road with my camera lens stuck out the window.

    In my opinion, cranes are the most human-like of birds, as anyone who has spent much time watching them in the field will agree to. These birds are far too valuable a resource as a public viewing attraction and educational opportunity to be jeopardized by the relatively few who will hunt them. The overwintering of Sandhill Cranes in Kentucky in present numbers is a very recent phenomenon that has occurred only in the past 3-5 years, no one knows for certain the impact that hunting will have on their status in Kentucky.

    Just because a migratory bird reaches a huntable population does not mean it should be hunted, the opinion and wishes of the majority of people should determine the fate of the cranes.

  16. Steve Denton says:

    I’m a hunter and a fisherman and I’ve bought a combination hunting & fishing license since I was old enough. I am opposed to a Sandhill Crane hunt in KY. Many people enjoy seeing and hearing them as they migrate through and winter in the central part of KY. They’re a species that’s big enough to fascinate people that otherwise don’t pay much attention to wildlife. I feel it’s better to let all Kentuckians enjoy them. It connects them with nature and the outdoors and I believe that connection will lead to a desire to support conservation of habitat. There are species that people seem to connect with and I believe Sandhill Cranes are just as charismatic and beloved as Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons.

    Sandhill Cranes are wary birds and hunting will likely cause them to fly further south to states that don’t have hunting seasons or at the very least push them into areas where the public can’t enjoy them. They’ve just begun spending the winter in KY and a hunting season could jeopardize this.

  17. Tina says:

    Hunting cranes will have no significant impact on the population overall. Hunting generates interest in and funding for additional efforts to support cranes. So I guess I don’t understand the Coalition’s stance. Concerns about whooping cranes can be addressed without canceling a season. Crop depredation is a real concern. So why the dead-set stance against a season? The reality is that very few cranes will be harvested (anyone who’s hunted them knows they’re a wily bird, and access to hunting areas is limited in KY). Plenty of birds will still be available for viewing, photography, etc.

    I don’t see a clear convincing argument against hunting cranes on this website. That leaves the reader to conclude the opposition is really an emotionally-based opposition to hunting cranes, period. That is unfortunate. Some of the most abundant species in the US are those that are hunted or trapped. Game species in decline are beneficiaries of enormous efforts to boost those populations (efforts that help a lot more non-game species in the process. Look at the benefit of quail management for all the songbirds, small mammals, and herpofauna that also need that same early successional habitat.)

    A hunting season will benefit cranes in the long run far more than not hunting them. Yes, a few birds will die. A worthwhile trade-off, IMHO.

  18. Will Robey says:

    I, for one will be thrilled to buy my first sandhill permit.

    This bird has been migrating through this state in numbers that would sustain limited hunting opportunities for years now. What so many of you don’t realize is that the funds used to conserve, protect, and encourage these species to even exist come in large part from hunters! Our license fees DIRECTLY benefit the very species that we persue, by paying for the sallaries of game wardens and biologists, protecting habitat through refuges, and furthering education and research.

  19. Max Witzler says:

    Ive’ supported the whooping crane restoration and think it’s a great and inspiring thing!

    I also have a great appreciation for the hunting of stable populations of animals and have hunted the “Ribeye of the sky” in Texas and would like to see a season in Kentucky. Hunters have long bore the brunt of the cost of conservation and they should have the chance to enjoy all of our heritage in hunting sandhills, ducks, deer, ect.

  20. Daniel says:

    Hunters are the driving force for conservation in the US and in this state. Who funds the KDFWR, hunters and fishermen. KDFWR not only manages game animals but are also charged with managing non-game species as well. Hunters put up millions of dollars to see that special places like Calvert Spring, Ballard Co Sloughs, and waterfowl breeding grounds in the Prairie Pothole region of the US and Canada are protected and enhanced.

    A crane season would bring attention and management to these great game birds. Contrary to some’s beliefs a limited hunting season would not run these birds out of the state never to return. Waterfowl season as it stands now is 60 plus days. There are many waterfowl that stay here despite hunting pressure. Part of that is becuase of the rest areas that hunters have funded and supported to ensure that waterfowl and shorebirds have habitat for both their southward and northward migrations.

    Ducks Unlimited was started in 1934 by hunters to protect habitat and promote conservation. Quail Forever, Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mntn Elk Foundation, and a host of other conservation organizations are funded and fueled by hunter’s efforts. We are the driving force in conservation.

    • nita marie moccia says:

      it’s not just the Crane hunt, it is “what is shot” while trying to bag a Crane…. there are good hunters and bad ones, the ones we are afraid of……………. too many “other species” are shot because of Mistaken I.D……….and get away with it. Some hunters just shoot because they can…. with no remorse……..please educate as you go in the world… hunting for food is one thing, hunting for pleasure is quite another thing…………………….

  21. John Sanders says:

    I think I may be “nonessential”. I wonder if I should be worried??

    Kidding aside , Just when we feel confident of our expectation to see Sandhill Cranes, some one wants to hunt them. I hope I can meet some of those hungry individuals so I can buy them a hot meal and forestall their need to hunt a crane.
    John Sanders

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