North American Crane Working Group


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Kendall, William, Douglas H. Johnson, and Stanley C. Kohn. Subspecies composition of sandhill crane harvest in North Dakota, 1968-94. In: Urbanek RP, Stahlecker DW, eds. 1997. Proceedings of the Seventh North American Crane Workshop, 1996 Jan 10-13, Biloxi, Mississippi. Grand Island, NE: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 201-208.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


North Dakota is a major fall staging area for the Mid-continent Population (MCP) of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis), which is composed of 3 subspecies: the greater (G. c. tabida), Canadian (G. c. rawani), and lesser (G. c. canadensis). The number of cranes killed by hunters in North Dakota averaged 6,793 during the 1990-94 seasons, ranking second highest among crane-hunting states. The distribution of harvest among subspecies is important, due to concerns about the poorly known status of these subspecies, especially the greater. We estimated subspecies composition of the harvest in North Dakota by using morphometric data collected from field samples of birds harvested since 1968. Subspecies composition varied both spatially (across counties from east to west) and temporally (among 3 periods of distinct harvest regulations and within season). Lessers predominated in the west and Canadians and greaters in the east. For the 1990-94 period we estimated that mortality from hunting in North Dakota averaged at least 1,085 (18%) greaters, 2,138 (36%) Canadians, and 2,716 (46%) lessers.