Hunting Sandhill Cranes in Michigan
Michigan’s State House of Representative’s passed a resolution, via voice vote with apparently no debate, which asked the state’s Natural Resources Commission to establish a Sandhill Crane hunting season in Michigan.
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press the resolution’s sponsor, Republican State Representative James Lower of Cedar Lake, was quoted stating:
The establishment of a hunting season will help control the population and limit damage to local farms, where corn and wheat plants serve as a food source for the birds
In response to the resolution director of the nonprofit Michigan Songbird Protection Coalition, Julie Baker said:
They've been protected in Michigan for 100 years — they were near-extinct here from hunting and habitat loss
The problem is that these Cranes uproot young shoots of corn in the spring and eat the kernels, and also eat winter wheat seeds.
Currently the Cranes are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Although farmers can apply to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for special permits to exterminate birds damaging their crops.
In Michigan the number of farmer nuisance permits granted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to have the ability to hunt and kill Sandhill Cranes in Michigan has increased from 13 permits in 2006 to 85 permits in 2013 and 2014.
To that point according to the Fish and Wildlife Service permits issued to Michigan farmers in 2013 to hunt and kill approximately 2,000 Sandhill Cranes were federally authorized but only 1,216 were.
The DNR report stated that:
"Despite the growth of cranes under permit, the Michigan crane population grew at a rate of 8.2% over the period 2003-2013”
I have a simple solution, these groups that believe that the Sandhill Crane should not be hunted or killed can reimburse all of the farmers and homeowners whose property were either eaten or destroyed.
To me that sounds like a solution that meets both side’s wants and needs.