Two Michigan lawmakers are pushing for a hunting season for sandhill cranes.
The resolutions call on Michigan's Natural Resources Commission to add sandhill cranes to the game species list. And they urge the commission to seek the required approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish a hunting season for the birds.
Listen above to hear Stateside's conversation with Barb Avers, a waterfowl and wetlands specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, about the sandhill crane’s recovery, and what would have to happen before a hunt on the birds would be allowed.
"The commission has sole authority to authorize and set regulations for hunting wildlife species in the state," said Ed Golder, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "It also has the authority to name a game species if it so chose. And it has not done that with the sandhill crane. So there are no plans to hunt sandhill crane in Michigan."
"It's not something the department is considering. I can tell you that," said Golder. "And the commission has not asked us for any such consideration."
The resolutions say the ever-increasing population of sandhill cranes is damaging crops, and a hunting season would benefit farmers as well as hunters.
Golder said there are other tools for farmers to address crop damage.
Michigan farmers can seek nuisance permits that allow them to kill sandhill cranes that are damaging their crops.
The resolutions were referred to the House and Senate natural resources committees immediately following their introduction.