Fortunately the sandhill crane has fared better then the other 14 species of cranes in the world. Through careful conservation they have bounced back and now the greater sandhill crane population numbers over 100,000 with the lesser sandhill crane population numbering over 500,000. Most of this population is migratory through the central portion of the continent, although there are several non-migrant subspecies which are still endangered. In some parts of North America where sandhill cranes originally existed they are still threatened or endangered, such as Washington and Ohio. In Minnesota we have a healthy resident population but we see much larger numbers in the spring and fall when the birds migrate. This fall the Minnesota DNR has arranged for a hunting season for sandhill cranes for the first time in the modern era. For only $3.50 you can kill these birds that many people, most of them not hunters, gave their blood, sweat, tears and coins to save and help protect. Did they ask any of these people for their input on the idea of hunting these birds? No they did not ask for any one's input the DNR just went off and made a unilateral decision with out public hearing or any published studies into the affect that hunting in Minnesota might have on the crane population.
To please the hunters, real men hunt with a camera and not a gun, they snubbed the non-hunting community, which is a very poor decision since birders spend a lot more money in Minnesota, on cameras, scopes, feeders, bird seed, travel and other things, then the dwindling hunting population does. Plus there is also the fact that the federally endangered whooping crane, the only other crane species in North America, often fly with sandhill cranes making them a target for hunters who may not know the difference or care.