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Cranes- Why Not Statewide?


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I haven't kept up on migratory bird hunting too well over the years in MN but the addition of a sandhill season grabbed my attention. I'm just curious why, if cranes are migratory birds, the season is to be held in one area rather than statewide?

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The birds they are letting us hunt, "NW Goose Zone" are part of the Central Flyway, "Nebraska Birds". The rest of them, like the 100,000 some odd birds(a bit of an over estimate, but they are everywere here) we have in the eastern part of the state are part of the Eastern Flock.

At least that is what I have read. Sure would be fun to hunt them. I hear they are flying prime rib. If they ever open it up in my area, I will be in. Hard to swing it going all the way up to the NW Goose zone. Mabe some day.....

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Neighbor guy got it right. Despite the fact the birds are migratory, the "huntable" birds are part of one subspecies while the one in the rest of the state, typically in the east central portion of the state are a different group of birds and their population isn't quite stable yet according to the DNR.

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Another consideration: Aren't there a few Whooping Cranes that migrate through the center of the state? With as much time and effort that has been expended to try and bring them back, it would be a bummer to see any accidentally shot. If people can mistake a Trumpeter Swan for a Snow Goose, the crane mistake might be be very possible.

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I started looking around at the Crane stuff as soon as MN said we going to have a season on them. There doesn't seem to be to much info out there on hunting them. I did go to the Nebraska website and they had a really great test for their hunters to take, it took like 15 minutes and was free but some really great information on the difference between Sandhills and Whooping. If you are going to target them this fall for the first time it would be some great information. Would love to head up there and try for them for a couple days!

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Quote:
If people can mistake a Trumpeter Swan for a Snow Goose, the crane mistake might be be very possible.

I would think almost every swan shot mistaken for a snow goose has been on purpose because they get busted. sleep Just my opinion.

Also it shouldn't be any harder to idenitfy a Whooping Crane between a Sandhill Crane

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Also it shouldn't be any harder to idenitfy a Whooping Crane between a Sandhill Crane

If you dont know then its as simple as the saftey on your gun DONT PULL THE TRIGGER.its the safest option wink

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I have been hunting cranes since the 70s. Before there was ever an early Canada goose season ... there was September crane hunting in the Dakotas.

The Sandhill crane that is targeted in the Central flyway is from a flock of 500K plus birds. They nest far north in Canada and migrate mostly to Texas. There are actually two subspecies the lesser and the greater. Seasons and limits are often constructed or made conservative to target the lesser Sandhill crane population (>400K birds) rather than the greater Sandhill cranes (>100K birds). The further east you go in the flyway ... the more greaters.

Unsure, but maybe that is why the limit in MN is two Sandhills vs three birds/day in the Central flyway and also why the season in MN is so much shorter than in ND. The percentage of greaters will be higher in MN, thus the more conservative season.

The Feds do require that states track harvest accurately. They small fee permit system required in MN is similar to that required in ND. Probably covers the cost of the harvest survery.

Sandhills can decoy readily ... but will flare at the slightest hunter movement. Big bird that will appear closer to you than they really are. Pass shooting between roost and feeding field is very effective. Hit their roost with headlights at 4AM and the flock is up and gone. Day can be over.

Regarding whoopers ... I have seen a few in ND. They do not really fly through MN. Never heard of anyone shooting one in the Central flyway.

Local Minnesota Sandhills: MN DNR will have to work it out with the Feds to prove population is sustainable and can be hunted. Also need to prove that other migratory cranes will not be impacted.

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After looking again it is Kansas that allows crane hunting, I had my 11 year old last night read and take the test that shows the differences in Sandhill and Whooping. Kansas starts the shooting half hour after sunrise to reduce the possible shooting of a whooping. it should be a great time this fall still looking for a place to go crazy but should be able to round something up I hope

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To bad we don't at least get it along the western edge. As every year there is a ton that hang around for a while, plus the last couple years they have been nesting around here.

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I have hear of a possible statewide crane season next year. Everything out of the NW zone would be a lottery.

That of course is not official.

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