Kentucky’s first sandhill crane hunting season is over, and only one-eighth of the state’s quota was met.
Kentucky’s recent sandhill crane hunting season was the first time the birds have been legally hunted in Kentucky. It also marked the first time the eastern population of the birds had been hunted in over 100 years.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife set a quota of 400 birds for the inaugural season, but only 50 sandhill cranes were taken. Spokesman Mark Marraccini says the department considers the season a success.
“Frankly, I guess people here thought different things,” he said. “I didn’t think there would be that many taken. Some of our biologists thought there would be more taken. But 50 is not a surprising number at all.”
Most of the fifty birds killed were hunted in Hardin and Barren counties, which are areas the birds have traditionally used as stopover points when they travel through the state.
The hunting season was controversial. Many argued there was no reason to hunt the birds, which aren’t overpopulated and don’t cause any environmental damage.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to hold the hunting season for three years as an experiment, then reevaluate.