Date of this Version
Sharp, D.E., H.M. Hands, J.A. Dubovsky, and J.E. Cornely. Summary of sandhill crane hunting seasons in Kansas 1993-2007. In: Hartup, Barry K., ed., Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Crane Workshop, Sep 23-27, 2008, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Baraboo, WI: North American Crane Working Group, 2010), pp. 31-39.
The mid-continent population of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) is the largest population of cranes in North America. Hunting seasons for sandhill cranes were closed in 1916 and gradually resumed in Mexico (1940), the United States (1961), and Canada (1964). As knowledge of the biology of cranes and experience with hunting seasons increased, areas in which hunting was permitted expanded, and by 1992 all but 2 states (Nebraska and Kansas) in the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway conducted sport hunting seasons for this population. In 1993 Kansas resumed hunting and initial seasons were limited to specified geographic areas of the state with relatively restrictive bag limits. Hunting restrictions were influenced by the presence of whooping cranes (G. americana) and limited public acceptance to the hunting of cranes. As experience with hunting sandhill cranes in Kansas increased, the number of sandhill crane hunters and the crane harvest nearly doubled. However, the illegal take of 2 whooping cranes in 2004 prompted a reassessment of the season structure. This resulted in further delay of the opening date for sandhill crane hunting and the development of additional tools to assist hunters in better discriminating whooping cranes from other hunted species.