Edmonton

Alberta adds sandhill crane hunting season

Alberta announced the launch of sandhill crane hunting starting September in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta. The hunt will run around the same time as the province’s waterfowl season. 

Albertans with proper licenses will be able to hunt sandhill cranes this fall

Alberta adds sandhill crane hunting season starting this fall. (Bill Steer)

Move over ducks and rabbits, it's sandhill crane season in Alberta starting this fall.

The province announced the launch of sandhill crane hunting starting September in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta. The new hunting season will run around the same time as the province's waterfowl season. 

Sandhill cranes are heavy-bodied, long-necked birds with gray plumage and red crown patch. Sandhill cranes are not to be confused with whooping cranes, though that are similar species with whooping cranes being larger and fully white. 

"It's great to see widespread support for a sandhill crane season in Alberta, which will support the province's wildlife management goals and boost local economies," Jason Nixon, minister of environment and parks, said in the news release. 

"Alberta hunters care deeply about the province's environment, species and wild places, and providing another opportunity to engage in a pursuit that supports conservation as well as economic activity is a win-win."

A press release states that the number of sandhill cranes in the province has increased steadily in recent years and that the birds have exceptional survival rates for both young and adult birds. Meanwhile, provinces like Manitoba and Saskatchewan have had sandhill crane hunting seasons for more than 50 years. The sandhill crane population in those provinces remains healthy.

According to the data from the province, in 2018 fishing, hunting, trapping, and sport-shooting activities contributed $1.8 billion to Alberta's GDP, supporting 11,700 jobs and generating $875 million in labour income.

The province states they will be taking additional precautions by limiting sandhill crane hunting season to areas that are not known to overlap with the whooping crane migration or breeding range.

Albertans interested in participating in sandhill crane hunting will require a provincial game bird licence and a federal migratory bird licence to do so.

now