North American Crane Working Group


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Sharp, David E., and John E. Cornely. Summary of sandhill crane hunting seasons 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. 209-18.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


The migratory Mid-continent Population (MCP), containing 3 subspecies, is the most numerous of all sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) populations. During fall the MCP uses major staging areas in the Canadian prairie provinces and northcentral United States. In North Dakota, sport hunting of the MCP resumed in 1968, after being closed during 1916-67. The resumption and expansion of crane hunting in North Dakota during 1968-94 followed a gradual panern of implementation. Subspecies considerations, the presence of whooping cranes (G. americana), crop depredation complaints. and public reaction influenced the geographic and temporal expansion of seasons. Harvests gradually increased following each expansion and in 1993-94 reached near record levels (6,200-7,000), as seasons utilizing the full federal frameworks were implemented. Spring surveys indicate that the MCP is relatively stable, and current sport harvest levels appear appropriate to maintain current popUlation size. A primary management concern is to maintain subspecies abundance, especially of the less numerous greater sandhill crane (G. c. tabida).