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Minnesota to allow crane hunting season for first time in 94 years

July 20, 2010 | 11:51 am

A squadron of sandhill cranes glide in for a landing. Minnesota will offer hunters the chance to bag sandhill cranes for the first time in 94 years.

"We're happy to be able to offer this opportunity," said Dennis Simon, chief of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Section. "Ten other Central Flyway states have been hunting cranes for years."

Sandhill cranes haven't been hunted in Minnesota since federal restrictions on migratory-bird hunting were imposed in 1916 but have long been considered recovered and have been hunted in other states in the flyway since 1961.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the sandhill crane population in northwestern Minnesota -- part of the midcontinent population -- is estimated at more than 450,000, well above the goal of 349,000 birds.

The hunting season will run from Sept. 4 through Oct. 10 in the northwestern goose zone, which includes portions of six counties in the state.

Hunters will be limited to two birds daily, with a four-bird possession limit, and can only use nontoxic shot.

Additional information will be available beginning in August in the Minnesota waterfowl hunting regulations supplement.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Sandhill cranes glide in for a landing. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times