The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed a 60-day sandhill crane hunting season in Tennessee, according to a report from NRA-ILA. This is the second time in three years the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider a sandhill crane hunting season. If approved, Tennessee would be the second state east of the Mississippi River to allow sandhill cranes to be hunted. In 2011, Kentucky considered and adopted a similar proposal and sportsmen have been able to hunt two years, of the three season experiment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed:
• A 60-day season concurrent with the state’s late waterfowl season starting in November.
• A hunting zone east of state Highway 56 and south of Interstate 40 in southeast Tennessee.
• 775 crane-hunting permits, with each permit allowed to take up to three birds.A quota and check-in system. Hunters would be required to report and tag any killed birds.
• The Hiwasee Wildlife Refuge, north of Chattanooga, would be off limits to hunting. This refuge is home to the annual Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.
• A halt to hunting immediately before and during the crane festival.
• A requirement that all permit holders undergo a course proving they can tell the difference between a sandhill crane and a whooping crane. Whooping cranes are a federally endangered species with a nationwide population estimated at less than 600.
• The TWRA is accepting public comments on the proposal until Aug. 10, 2013.