Crane Hunt Plan Readied for Commission
Department of Fish and Game recommendations for sandhill crane hunts, September goose hunts, a youth waterfowl hunt and falconry season dates will go the Fish and Game Commission for consideration when the Commission meets in Boise July 17-18.
Sandhill crane and September goose hunts were first instituted last fall in response to depredation complaints. Sandhill cranes in a few places in eastern Idaho have caused crop damage for years. Hunts were instituted to disperse concentrations of cranes and reducing their numbers slightly. Resident Canada geese tend to congregate with the cranes in some fields and hunting the geese can help break up large concentrations of both of these large birds.
September goose hunting is also proposed again for parts of Nez Perce County. The Nez Perce County hunt will again be a general hunt with 200 hunt permits issued. The eastern Idaho hunts for cranes and geese will be controlled hunts.
Crane hunts are only part of a crop damage reduction program that includes planting "lure crops" to draw the birds away from farmers’ fields.
Hunting of sandhill cranes will be allowed in three areas of eastern Idaho—the Grays Lake Outlet area (Area 1), Blackfoot Reservoir area (Area 2) with two hunts, and the Teton River area (Area 3). Area 1 will have 25 permits with an expected harvest of 17, Area 2 will have 100 permits with 69 the expected harvest and Area 3 will offer 40 permits with an expected harvest of 28 for a total of 218 permits and 148 birds expected to be taken. The expected harvest figures are based on last year’s experience when the success rate was 67 percent.
The proposals will be explained in detail and public comment accepted in a round of open houses and meetings in all Fish and Game regions. Regions will set their own meeting schedules between June 23 and July 10.