Cranes can be hunted sustainably

by Steve Galea | February 27, 2024
sandhill crane sandhill crane hunt hunting hunting cranes

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECC) determined that sandhill cranes could be hunted sustainably in Ontario. A similar proposal is also being considered for Quebec.

The proposal says, “A sandhill crane hunting season would provide a new harvesting opportunity for hunters in Ontario, and an additional tool to help alleviate crop damage problems caused by cranes.” The introduction of the sandhill crane hunting season has been the subject of repeated requests from hunting and agricultural organizations, such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), in Ontario since 2003.

The eastern sandhill crane population has been monitored by an annual fall staging survey coordinated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The survey shows an increasing population trend of 4.4% annually since 1979. In addition, the most recent three-year average (2020-2022) of 97,385 cranes is 62% above the population target of 60,000 set by the management plan.

The number of breeding cranes estimated by the ECCC – Canadian Wildlife Service’s Eastern Waterfowl Survey in Quebec shows an average growth rate of 11% per year since 1990, and the most recent three-year average is 9,920 pairs. Estimates from the Ontario portion of the survey indicate a five-fold increase in the number of nesting cranes since the early 1990s.

The hunt would be for Canadian residents only. The proposed hunting districts and WMUs and season dates were chosen because of the high abundance of cranes in agricultural areas during fall migration, offering an attractive harvesting opportunity and to ensure that harvest does not disproportionately impact local breeding cranes.

Hunters are encouraged to comment on the proposal by emailing MbregsReports-Rapports- Omregs@ec.gc.ca

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