Tennessee Holds First Sandhill Crane Hunt

Tennessee hunters will get the chance to put another big bird on the table this holiday season. The Volunteer State became the 16th state — and just the second east of the Mississippi River — to allow a special hunt for sandhill cranes.

SandhillCranesIn August, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a sandhill crane hunting season, which runs Nov. 28 to Jan. 1, 2014. Four hundred permits were made available by special drawing on Oct. 12. Hunters who drew a permit are allowed to shoot three cranes.

Hunters must pass a crane identification test before going afield so they can determine the difference between sandhill cranes and the endangered whooping cranes.
The process of establishing a crane season this year in Tennessee began when TFWC solicited support from conservation and hunting organizations after delaying a decision on crane hunting in January 2011. Delta Waterfowl responded with a letter of endorsement.

“The burgeoning eastern crane population is creating new opportunities for hunters throughout the flyway. These birds are sporty and wonderful to eat and will create a new unique hunting opportunity,” wrote John Devney, vice president of U.S. policy for Delta Waterfowl. “This provides a rare chance to create an incremental hunting opportunity as populations have expanded is consistent with the sound tenants of scientific wildlife management.”

TFWC received some opposition to the hunt, specifically from the Tennessee Ornithological Society, which pointed to sandhills as a highly coveted species for bird watchers. Commissioners made concessions by shortening the season length from 60 to 35 days, and dropping the number of permits from 775 to 400.

“I’ve hunted cranes in Mexico, and I do know they’re a wary bird and taste just as good as advertised,” said Tom Rice, a voting member of TFWC. “Thanks to the support of groups like Delta Waterfowl, Tennessee hunters will have the opportunity to have those experiences, too.”

Original Story Here:  http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/news/article/2013/10/13/tennessee-holds-first-sandhill-crane-hunt-

Tennessee Waterfowlers Are Asked for Their Opinion

Not too often do hunters get to give their input into their state’s wildlife decision making but Tennessee is asking just for that.

The first issue-TWRA is asking for your help is the 2013/2014 opening day.  Normally opening day for duck hunters is on Thanksgiving morning, which kicks off their 60-day season.  The TWRA has the option to change the opening day to November 16 which has the possibility of little or not enough water and ducks or to November 23 which is also opening day of deer rifle season.

Both dates proposed by TWRA have their conflicts.  Daryl R., Chief of TWRA’s Wildlife & Forestry Div. had this to say about the conflicts. “Considering the potential conflicts that all those options present, we would like to hear what our waterfowl hunters would prefer.”  To input your opinion, click here to take their online survey!

Their second issue they are seeking input for is the possible Sandhill hunting season.  Recently the USFWS (United States Fish & Wildlife Service) recommended a potential 60-day season on the “Ribeye-of-the-sky” Sandhill Crane.  The majority of the population typically migrates to the southeastern area of the state, so that is where the proposed Sandhill Crane zone would be restricted to.  To submit your input on the Sandhill Crane issue, send your email to TWRA.Comment@tn.gov, subject line of “Sandhill Crane”.

Both of these issues comment period will be available till August 10, 2013.  If someone you know does not have internet access, they can still submit their input by sending a letter to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Att: Waterfowl Regulations, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville, TN, 37204.  Be sure to include your TWRA ID number if you are submitting your input on the opening day issue.