Ribeye in the sky!

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Ribeye in the sky!

Post  MULECHOPS on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:48 am

Kentucky Experimental Season Framework:

Sandhill cranes are a popular migratory game bird in the Central and Pacific Flyways. An increase in the number of sandhill cranes observed in Kentucky has generated numerous inquiries about the potential for hunting cranes in Kentucky and the flyway. The recent completion of the EP Sandhill Crane Management Plan provides the process to restore sandhill crane hunting in the eastern two flyways. Following the management plan guidelines, Kentucky proposes the following experimental sandhill crane hunting season for the 2011-12 winter season:

Season format – KDFWR proposes a 30-day season with a two bird daily bag and season limit. Shooting hours will be from sunrise to sunset. The season will begin in mid-December and continue for 30 consecutive days through mid-January. This is a period when birds are beginning to stage at Barren River Lake Wildlife Management Area, one of the state’s two major concentration areas (Fig. 5). In addition, the proposed season’s timing was selected because it is approximately 3 weeks later than the period when whooping cranes are migrating through the state, reducing the probability of hunters encountering any whooping cranes.

Permits – A mandatory permit and completion of a post-season survey will be a requirement of anyone wanting to hunt sandhill cranes. Each permit holder will be allowed to harvest a maximum of two cranes. In order to apply for a permit, applicants will be required to pass a bird ID test, similar to that used by Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, to reduce the potential for harvest of non-target species.

Harvest Objective – Kentucky’s peak population during the most recent 5-year period was 20,000 birds, which occurred in mid-February 2010. The average peak population during the last 5 years was slightly more than 8,200 birds. The EP Management Plan requires that the number of permits issued by a state does not exceed 10% of a state’s peak population during the most recent 5-year period. KDFWR proposes a two-fold approach to the season. First, KDFWR will require a mandatory permit to be obtained for anyone desiring to participate in Kentucky’s sandhill crane season. The number of crane hunter permits will be limited to a maximum of 400 to ensure the state’s harvest is within the 10% harvest limit set by the EP Management Plan. The Department will also limit the harvest to of 400 sandhill cranes for the entire season. If the harvest objective of 400 sandhill cranes is reached prior to the season’s scheduled closure date, KDFWR will suspend the remaining days to prevent overharvest of birds from this population.

Reporting – Hunters will be required to attach a tag to each crane immediately upon harvest with one of two metal tags to be issued to each hunter with their permit (National Band and Tag Co., Newport, KY). When hunters harvest a bird they will be required to check it in on the day the bird is taken via the Department’s telephone reporting system (telecheck) used for other reported species. Once hunters have reported their bird(s) via telecheck, they will be issued a confirmation number for each harvested bird which will serve as their permit for possession.

Refuge – KDFWR proposes to limit access and/or restrict hunting on major crane use areas on public lands at Barren River Lake. The area will serve as a sanctuary during that period when Kentucky’s sandhill crane season is open. By closing these areas, Barren River Lake will continue to provide critical habitat for cranes to rest and forage undisturbed. The region has become an important staging and wildlife viewing area for birds in south central Kentucky. Limiting disturbance within the area will ensure the region continues to be a major use area during future winters.

KDFWR will maintain this season format for three years as long as the Eastern Population remains above the minimum threshold of 30,000 birds specified by the management plan. Annually, harvest and hunter participation information will be recorded and reviewed by the Department. At the end of the three-year period, the Department will compile and review hunter participation and sandhill crane harvest. Once the evaluation is complete, the Department may propose a revision of hunt parameters if necessary.

This proposal follows the guidelines listed in Appendix A of the EP Management Plan (VanHorn et al. 2010).

Anticipated Results

Harvest and Season Participation If the Department’s Commission adopts this proposal, then it will be the first time the Eastern Population of sandhill cranes has been hunted in nearly 100 years. High interest among hunters is anticipated during the first year of this season, and the Department will likely issue all 400 permits. Hunter success is expected to be low due to participant’s general lack of crane hunting experience and the limited hunting opportunity. If Kentucky hunters follow the same general trend as reported by Kruse et al. (2010), only about one-third of the hunters who receive a permit will actually hunt cranes during the current hunting season. If the above trend continues, and each permit holder who hunts takes two cranes, then there would be an estimated retrieved harvest of approximately 275 birds and a total retrieved and unretrieved harvest of about 330 birds. This is 17% below the overall harvest objective of 400 birds.

Public Viewing Interaction –Barren River Wildlife Management Area and the private lands around Cecelia provide some the best sandhill crane viewing opportunities in the state. Barren River Lake is located in south-central Kentucky and is a short drive from Bowling Green. The area is open to waterfowl hunting and is hunted extensively throughout the waterfowl season. Few sandhill cranes are observed at Barren River Reservoir until late December (Fig. 5). Crane numbers increase through January and generally peak near the end of the month or in early February. Since 2008, the Department in cooperation with the KY Department of Parks has promoted sandhill crane viewing weekends in late January and or early February. The season proposed by KDFWR may limit some crane viewing in late December or early January, but it will have no impact on viewing opportunities in late January and February when cranes are most abundant

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Re: Ribeye in the sky!

Post  Californication on Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:33 pm

I was very happy to hear about this. I hear they are delicious, and decoy readily. I was then putoff to see the limit will be 2 per season. I'm not sure if I'll participate or not. Depends on the cost of the tag, and if you have to have a Federal and State waterfowl stamp.

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Re: Ribeye in the sky!

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:10 am

Sounds pretty good.

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Re: Ribeye in the sky!

Post  stuckinknoxville on Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:26 pm

I'm soooo ready for turkey season.

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