Sandhill Crane

September 24, 2013 by  

Sandhill Crane, Tennessee has joined Kentucky in allowing the hunting of sandhill cranes, known by some hunters as the “flying rib eyes of the sky.”

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the hunting season on Friday, allowing as many as 1,200 of the large migrating birds to be shot and killed.

Officials said hunting can begin Nov. 28 and run through Jan. 1, sunrise daily to 3 p.m. But they did not reveal yet any details about how hunters can get their permits.

In Kentucky, hunters killed 50 sandhill cranes during its first 2011 season and 92 in the 2012 season. It limits the statewide take at 400 birds.

Just as the hunt was controversial when it was proposed and approved in Kentucky, so it was also in Tennessee, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Commission members allowed the sandhill crane hunt despite massive opposition from Tennesseans who answered polls — and attended the commission’s two-day meeting in Knoxville. The commission received more than 1,000 responses from the public about the crane hunt; 888 opposed it.

Tennessee wildlife officials said they approved the hunt because federal officials determined the crane population was big enough to sustain it.

The Chattanooga newspaper quoted Jeff McMillin, chairman of the commission:

Well, I think the general consensus of the commission is if we went with public opinion to hunt everything, we wouldn’t be able to hunt anything in this country.

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