TWRA Considers Sandhill Crane Hunting Season (again)

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission — for the second time in three years — is considering a sandhill crane hunting season.
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Further from The Tennessean report
If the commission approves the hunting plan at its August meeting, Tennessee would become the 16th state to allow crane hunting. The commission delayed a decision in January 2011.
The central question in the current debate is not whether the sandhill crane population can sustain a level of hunting — biologists on both sides of the issue agree it can — but whether a hunt is the right thing to do given how they attract bird watchers to the state.
Organized hunting groups, led by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, support a sandhill crane season. But the plan has raised concerns among birders, and the Tennessee Ornithological Society says the cranes are too valuable a resource to hunt.
“What we want to see is the opportunity to hunt the cranes but do it in a wise and sustainable fashion and in a way that recognizes and helps promote the viewing opportunities as well,” Mike Butler, the federation’s CEO, told the commission in late June.
Melinda Welton, chairwoman of the Ornithological Society’s conservation policy committee, said Tennesseans oppose hunting the birds, the largest species found in the state. She said by allowing crane hunting, the commission and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which it oversees, risk a major public outcry.
“I think the agency is going to get quite a bit of grief,” she said. “It is a golden opportunity for the agency to gain a lot of goodwill by proclaiming this the most watchable wildlife species in the state and celebrating that.”
The sandhill crane population in Tennessee is estimated as high as 87,000. There are as many as 650,000 of the birds nationwide.

One thought on “TWRA Considers Sandhill Crane Hunting Season (again)

  1. Gayle Escamilla

    I strongly oppose consideration of the Sandhill Crane hunting proposal.
    While I understand the attraction of hunting, boating and fishing our Tennessee natural resources provide, our cultural attractions, and the dollars they bring into our state, also must be considered when officials propose killing endangered wildlife, defacing our landscape and, generally, downgrading our environment.
    Environmental protection is a huge national concern and protecting our wildlife is a major faction of that concern. I beg you to not go through with the plan to make hunting these beautiful creatures, and the others that accompany them on their migratory routes, for the benefit of a handful of people who might kill them for food.
    Please look at the much bigger picture here for the benefit of the majority of Tenneseans who would like to keep our state as pristine and culturally progressive as is possible.

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