Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a 60-day sandhill crane hunting season in Tennessee. This is the second time in three years the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider a sandhill crane hunting season. If approved, Tennessee would be the second state east of the Mississippi River to allow sandhill cranes to be hunted. In 2011, Kentucky considered and adopted a similar proposal and sportsmen have been able to hunt two years, of the three season experiment.
If approved by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), sandhill crane hunting could begin with the 2013-2014 waterfowl season. Over the last three decades, their population has grown more than 300% to the point where hunters in fifteen states (AK, AZ, CO, ID, KS, KY, MN, MT, ND, NM, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY) currently enjoy being able to participate in the hunting and proper management of this abundant species. It is time that Tennesseans are allowed the same opportunity.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed:
- A 60-day season concurrent with the state’s late waterfowl season starting in November.
- A hunting zone east of state Highway 56 and south of Interstate 40 in southeast Tennessee.
- 775 crane-hunting permits, with each permit allowed to take up to three birds.
- A quota and check-in system. Hunters would be required to report and tag any killed birds.
- The Hiwasee Wildlife Refuge, north of Chattanooga, would be off limits to hunting. This refuge is home to the annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.
- A halt to hunting immediately before and during the crane festival.
- A requirement that all permit holders undergo a course proving they can tell the difference between a sandhill crane and a whooping crane. Whooping cranes are a federally endangered species with a nationwide population estimated at less than 600.
The TWRA is accepting public comment until August 10, 2013 on whether to approve sandhill crane hunting. Please send your comments in SUPPORT of sandhill crane hunting.
Please e-mail your comments to:
TWRA.Comment@tn.gov with “Sandhill Crane” in the subject line.
Comments can also be sent in writing to:
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Att: Waterfowl Regulations, Post Office Box 40747, Nashville, TN, 37204.
For more information and answers to frequently asked questions regarding sandhill crane hunting in Tennessee please visit the TWRA FAQs page by clicking here.