A Win For The Cranes

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Kentucky fish and wildlife officials say they are not disappointed that Kentucky hunters killed only 50 sandhill cranes — far less than the 400-bird limit they had set — during a controversial 30-day hunting season that ended Sunday.

Sandhill Cranes in Flight, Photo by Manjith Kainickara

Actually, they should feel not only disappointed but ashamed. This was an ill-advised and unjustifiable effort to pander to hunters who want to kill something different and to sell permits by allowing a hunting season on a species that was nearly wiped out in the 18th and 19th centuries. While state officials babbled about “rib-eye in the sky” with “excellent taste,” their decision enraged opponents and drew negative publicity for Kentucky in other Eastern states, none of which allow cranes to be hunted.

Sandhill Cranes - Photo by BirdPhotos.com

Kudos to the many hunters who decided not to seek a permit. Kudos to the conservationists who waged a vigorous protest that educated the public. Kudos to critics of crane hunting who bought some of the limited number of hunting permits so that they could not be used.

Meanwhile, Stuart Ray, a state fish and wildlife commissioner whose district includes Jefferson County, expressed pleasure that the state could “offer the sportsmen the opportunity to hunt sandhill cranes” and be the first state in the East to do so.

Really? What is “sporting” about killing a majestic but defenseless bird who stands as tall as 5 feet? Tiger-hunting is a bad idea because it threatens an endangered species, but at least there is drama about whether the tiger will become a rug or the hunter will be dinner. And Kentucky didn’t come off as a pioneer; it just seemed backward.

Sandhill Crane Portrait - Photo by Thomas Moxley

Overall, the sandhill crane is on a bit of a roll. In addition to escaping the planned Kentucky carnage, it received a reprieve Wednesday when President Obama rejected a proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline route that would have threatened a critically important wetlands habitat for the cranes in Nebraska.

People have most of the advantages and all of the guns. It’s nice that occasionally wildlife can pull out a victory against all odds.

This article was written and published by Courier-Journal.com

Supertrooper

Founder and Executive Editor

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Ken Billington

Larry, very good suggestions. Let’s spread the word by posting on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media platforms. Maybe we can achieve something positive in this way.

Larry Jordan

Done!

Larry Jordan

This is indeed a win for the cranes and for all of us who fought to keep the eastern population of Sandhill Cranes free of hunting. One of the crane’s most ardent supporters is Vickie Henderson of Vickie Henderson Art blog. Please go read her post on the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival and all of her information on this exquisite bird. Tennessee has put a two year hold on the hunting of Sandhill Cranes but the fight is not over yet! I urge everyone reading this post to follow and join this fight against Sandhill Crane hunting in the east.… Read more »