This from Julie at 10,000 Birds:

Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources unanimously passed its sandhill crane hunting proposal. All eight hunters on the commission think it’s a good idea to shoot cranes in Kentucky. The proposal now goes to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for final approval or denial. The public comment period on the Kentucky sandhill crane hunting proposal ends AUGUST 1 2011.

Read the details here, including information on what you need to do to help stop this. Take action and spread the word. Julie’s post has the address for submitting written comments.

(She also outlines why the sandhill cranes should not be hunted, but you already knew that, right?)

Why are you sitting there reading this? CLICK HERE and get to work on this.

Seriously. Go. GO.

Comments

  1. #1 Bacopa
    July 17, 2011

    Why do people want to shoot cranes anyway? Cant be much sport to it, they are large and slow. Do people eat cranes? Is there a tradition of hunting cranes? I’ve never heard of anyone doing it. Of course, hunting cranes here in TX has been mega-illegal for decades due to the fact that we have the largest wintering grounds for whooping cranes and have made serious efforts to preserve them. One think you may not know about Texas is that birdwatching tourism is a huge business here. We’ve got plenty of hunters, but we are pretty strict about what birds you can shoot.

    I will email some of those links. My main question is how will people be inconvenienced by not being able to shoot cranes.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 17, 2011

    Bacopa, yes, there was a tradition of hunting cranes. Habitat destruction was a big factor in whooping cranes almost going extinct, but hunting was also a big factor. I would be interested to have more information on this, but I have a feeling that the “crane hunting tradition” was strong enough that it partly explains, or may be fully explains, why all cranes are rare.

  3. #3 Aratina Cage
    July 17, 2011

    I cannot believe they even seriously considered this madness! It’s like opening hunting season on Winnie-the-Pooh and butterflies.

  4. #4 Strider
    July 17, 2011

    Could the Beshear Administration be any worse?

  5. #5 Cascabel
    July 17, 2011

    Bacopa – while the Whooping Crane may be “mega-protected” (at least by the Feds) here in Texas, unfortunately Sandhill Cranes are not and have been hunted for many years. Here’s a link to Texas Parks & Wildlife’s Sandhill Crane bag limit page:

    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/season/waterfowl/crane_limits/

  6. #6 Julie Zickefoose
    July 17, 2011

    First, Greg, many, many thanks for reposting this. The more clamor we set up to the Feds, the better chance we have of making the USFWS rethink this asinine proposal to hunt sandhill cranes in the East.
    Second, Bacopa, Texas accounts for more sandhill cranes shot than any other state. There’s a pretty big tradition of hunting cranes in Texas, the presence of endangered whooping cranes notwithstanding. They’re referred to as “Ribeye in the Sky” by one Texas outfitter I checked out.
    Sure would appreciate people checking out the link to my post on 10,000 Birds, and at the very least signing our petition and shooting off an email to Rose Mack. Thanks so much, Greg.

  7. #7 Raiko
    July 18, 2011

    Threw my voice in from across the ocean.

    I really see no point in randomly shooting cranes. They are not in our way, they are not threatening anything we do or want, and they are wonderful to look at.

    I hope that once I get to the USA, I get a chance to see both Whooping and Sandhill cranes myself.

  8. #8 rork
    July 18, 2011

    I’m open minded. Julie’s piece admits “Eastern flyway breeding populations appear to be maxing out their available habitat”, which rather axes her point about bird counts not being perfectly accurate.

    The question is whether we can gain enough by letting a few hunters shoot some. It’s not really addressed there or here. We don’t need folks to catch brook trout either, but we let them, cause we can do good things with the resulting money from licenses, taxes on gear, and tourism. Maybe we can get them to shoot a few mute swans while they are at it (though I am not sure I’d trust them distinguishing the species). Money from hunters supports allot of non-game wildlife work and habitat work, at least where I’m from. Making a serious cost benefit analysis means honestly considering what benefits you can obtain. This has not been done. Julie writes the only benefit is for a few hunters. That’s false, even for cowgirls who have the blues. Her title “Last gasp for sandhill cranes” is a bit over the top too.
    I will never hunt cranes near me (in Michigan), where they are now happily abundant, much better than 30 years ago, but if I could get a few people to pay through the nose to do it, with minor impacts, I might consider permitting it. I admit to killing deer and a few species of fish.

    Here’s news from Minnesota: http://www.birdchick.com/wp/2010/07/sandhill-crane-hunt-in-minnesota/

  9. #9 rork
    July 18, 2011

    I may have to take that back if the hunters can’t argue that having a crane season will do more good than harm, or if they don’t make that argument at all. Julie made some claims in comments that made it doubtful if the argument has been made successfully. Maybe there really isn’t a proposal to make it benefit others, and if so, I was very wrong (it was unthinkable for me, sorry). I’m a hunter and fisher, but benefit must be argued, and if not, forget it.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    July 18, 2011

    I’m open minded. Julie’s piece admits “Eastern flyway breeding populations appear to be maxing out their available habitat”, which rather axes her point about bird counts not being perfectly accurate.

    No it doesn’t. It is perfectly reasonable to hold an opinion subject to revision about one trend while at the same time criticizing the overall quality of the data.

    (though I am not sure I’d trust them distinguishing the species)

    Well, there you go. If you don’t trust a hunter to tell a sandhill crane from a swan (they look nothing like each other) then you cannot expect them to tell a sandhill from a whooping!

    Here’s the thing … several factors including hunting brought crane levels (of both species) dangeriously low. The other factors have either not changed (low repro rate) or have gotten worse (habitat loss). Why would we progress with increasing hunting pressure under the circumstances?

    Regarding the secondary value of hunting to the rest of the economy: That is very unlikely to ever count for much. Again, the overall numbers are going to remain low.

    (in Michigan), where they are now happily abundant, much better than 30 years ago,

    Yes, much better than 30 years ago, but not happily abundant. There are thousands of cranes in michigan, but as is the case elsewhere, they are concentrated in limited geographical areas and there is little flexibility if certain things went wrong.

    Yeah, our DNR sucks. Cranes are similarly abundant here as in michigan: Thousands of them, but limited in where they are breeding end even feeding. Plus, we have this overlap with whooping crane flyways. Hunting them here is a bad idea too.

  11. #11 rork
    July 19, 2011

    It’s the distinction between mute and trumpter swans that concerned me. A big issue here (MI), but not everywhere it seems.

    Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says:
    “The plan that would allow hunting of sandhill cranes in Kentucky has been carefully crafted to: 1) have no impact on the eastern population of sandhill cranes as a whole or in Kentucky, 2)….”

    I think folks ought to be able to say under what circumstances/conditions it would do more good than harm and strive for those conditions or defeat the proposal if those conditions aren’t met. They critics aren’t doing this.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    July 19, 2011

    We have very few mutes here, I think. Here, the distinction is between trumpeter and tundra (migrating) but not so as to know which ones to blast.

    The critics are largely saying that hunting cranes is generally a bad idea. And we’ll probably be sticking to our guns.

    There is no rational argument against squishing kittens under your boots. But people are often against that too. I’m also against crushing the kittens, but for the life of me I can’t explain why.

    In the case of the cranes, they really are slow-breeding and slow-moving, and both species have taken it in the neck in the past because of hunting and habitat loss. We’re not going to fix the habitat loss problem, and it is only getting worse. No hunting, please.

    It is generally understood that the Kentucky board is not working int he interest of the cranes.