After 100 Year Absence, Crane Hunting is Back in ‘Bama

Sandhill cranes take off en masse over a cornfield in late fall.

For the first time in 103 years,  Alabama hunters will soon get the opportunity to hunt a sandhill crane. 

Beginning Dec. 3, Alabama’s hunters will have the opportunity to bag this bird once again through a limited quota draw program that gave 400 hunters a 3 bird seasonal tag.  The season will be split into two segments with the first running from Dec. 3 to Jan. 5, 2020. The second segment will be Jan. 16-31, 2020. The daily, season and possession limit will be three birds per permit, and hunters can harvest all three birds in one day if they choose.

Surveys over the last few years show about 15,ooo of the big “ribeye of the sky” birds are wintering in Alabama. The hunt zone covers roughly the upper third of the state, focusing on the Tennessee River corridor and Wheeler NWR.   Hunters using crane decoy setups vs. those making incidental crane kills during duck or goose hunts are predicted to run about 50-50.

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