North American Crane Working Group


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Araya, A.C., and J.A. Dubovsky. Temporal distribution of harvested mid-continent sandhill cranes within the central flyway state during the 1997-2001 hunting season. In: Folk, MJ and SA Nesbitt, eds. 2008. Proceedings of the Tenth North American Crane Workshop, Feb. 7-10, 2006, Zacatecas City, Zacatecas, Mexico: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 50-57.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


Since 1975, annual harvest estimates for Mid-Continent sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have been collected in all states for which a hunting season has been authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). Although these data have been used to monitor the harvest of the Mid-Continent population, analyses to promote understanding of the temporal distribution of harvested sandhill cranes by individual states throughout the Central Flyway have not been conducted. For the 1997-2001 hunting seasons, we collected harvest questionnaires from 4,408 hunters in the Central Flyway who provided information about the date, location, and number of harvested sandhill cranes on 12,639 hunt days. We calculated the number of cranes harvested on each date over the 5-year period to identify the temporal distribution of crane harvest throughout the flyway and by state. The greatest proportion of hunt days occurred in North Dakota (37%), Texas (27%), and Kansas (17%), with the remaining proportion (19%) occurring in 6 other Central Flyway states. North Dakota, Texas, and Kansas hunters also harvested the greatest number of cranes, comprising nearly 84% of the harvest and providing the richest data sets for analyses. We fit models to these data to assess the potential changes to harvest that may occur if federal framework dates were more restrictive, and possible harvest impacts that might result by reducing the number of hunt days available (i.e. season lengths) by weekly segments. Results from these analyses may provide an additional tool for harvest managers to consider in the event that changes in levels of harvest on this population are warranted in the future.