Just as the sandhill crane population is beginning to make a slight comeback after being hunted to near extinction, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) is proposing an open hunting season on the still-scarce birds.
Hunters would be allowed to shoot the birds as they migrate through Kentucky in winter, even though sandhill cranes' stopover is brief and has a minimal effect on people and other animals. Hunters consider the cranes a challenge because the majestic birds have excellent eyesight, are wary of danger, and can spot decoys meant to lure them. So, in essence, the KDFWR wants to allow hunting of sandhill cranes simply because they are smart.
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Over the objections of concerned residents and groups like the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on the hunting proposal at its June 3 meeting. No matter where you live, you can help by e-mailing the KDFWR and imploring it to abandon plans to turn Kentucky into a death trap for sandhill cranes, who travel through many states on their migration route.
Written by Michelle Sherrow