Kentucky hunters hoping to bag a sandhill crane are one step closer after the state wildlife agency approved a crane season. It’s the first state east of the Mississippi River to do so.


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The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday unanimously approved a Dec. 17 to Jan. 15 hunting season for cranes, making Kentucky the first state east of the Mississippi River to do so. Thirteen western states allow hunting of sandhill cranes. The hunting season also must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is expected to consider the issue at a meeting later this month and make a final ruling in August.
Friday’s vote came after a sometimes contentious meeting that lasted nearly five hours. Dozens of people voiced opposition and support for the new hunting season. Those who opposed the hunt include the state’s Audubon societies, the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes and the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

The League of Kentucky Sportsmen and several hunters spoke in favor of the proposal. Sandhill cranes, which often have a wingspan of 6 to 8 feet, have not been hunted in Kentucky and most of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard since the early 1900s. Popular crane viewing spots include Barren River Lake in Western Kentucky and Cecilia in Hardin County. Cranes are typically hunted for sport and for their meat.
If approved, any Kentucky hunters out there planning on trying out crane hunting?