Minnesota crane hunt returning after 94 years

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2010 - 12:19 AM
hide

Hunters pursue sandhill cranes as they do geese, deploying decoys. Minnesotans haven’t hunted the birds since 1916.

Photo: Chris Welsch, Jm - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It's official: Minnesota will have a sandhill crane hunting season this fall for the first time in 94 years.

The season will run from Sept. 4 to Oct. 10 and only in the northwest goose zone, which includes parts of about six counties in far northwestern Minnesota. The daily bag limit will be two birds, with a four-bird possession limit. Nontoxic shot will be required.

Why a crane hunting season?

Ten other states in the flyway already allow crane hunting, some since 1960, and Minnesota was one of the few holdouts. The midcontinent crane population, averaging over 450,000 birds, has been healthy and above goals.

"It's an additional hunting opportunity we can provide," said Bill Penning of the Department of Natural Resources.

That midcontinent population migrates through the northwest part of the state, which is why hunting will only be allowed there. The eastern crane population, a separate subspecies common elsewhere in Minnesota, isn't as numerous and will remain protected.

Hunters pursue cranes as they do geese, locating birds and then putting decoys out in fields to try to attract them. And taste? "I've never eaten them, but everyone says they're delicious," Penning said.

Minnesotans haven't hunted cranes here since 1916, when migratory bird hunting restrictions were imposed, he said.

Treaty protest update

More than two months after two Leech Lake Band of Chippewa members placed fishing nets in Lake Bemidji, challenging state fishing regulations and the state's interpretation of an 1855 treaty, no charges have been filed.

And it's uncertain when, or if, they will be.

Band members claim that the 1855 treaty the Chippewa signed with the federal government doesn't restrict their off-reservation rights to fish, hunt and gather over a large swath of northern Minnesota. During a protest on the eve of Minnesota's fishing opener, they deliberately violated state law to force a legal challenge.

Because the violations were gross misdemeanors, the two band members weren't cited. Instead, Department of Natural Resources conservation officers turned over evidence to the Beltrami County Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

Because of the statewide implications, County Attorney Tim Faver has reportedly twice asked Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to handle the case. She has declined. A spokesperson said last week that the jurisdiction to charge gross misdemeanors lies with county attorneys, not the attorney general.

Faver hasn't returned repeated phone calls, but the cost of prosecuting such a case is likely a huge concern. In the 1999 Mille Lacs treaty case, in which tribes succeeded in a nine-year legal battle over treaty rights, a federal judge told the state to pay the bands almost $4 million in legal fees.

"What his [Faver's] decision will be now, knowing he has to handle it, I don't know," said Audrey Thayer of the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Bemidji. She supports the band's challenge and has said her group would defend those charged.

But Thayer said she doesn't think the treaty issue will go away. "I don't think some people will allow it to," she said.

Lottery spending

The Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) has recommended to the Legislature how $50.6 million in lottery dollars should be spent next year. The commission selected 92 environmental and natural resources projects. Among them: $3.4 million for habitat conservation; $3.4 million for metropolitan habitat corridors; $3.2 million for scientific and natural areas acquisition; $3 million for Vermilion State Park development; $3 million for state parks and trails acquisition; and $2.2 million for metro park acquisition. The commission also set aside $250,000 to deal with migratory bird impacts from the Gulf oil spill. For the list of recommendations, see www.lccmr.leg.mn.

Hot-shot angler

An angler fishing from shore on Prior Lake recently snagged -- not a fish, weeds or an old boot -- a small-caliber handgun in a case. Conservation officer Adam Block happened upon the surprised angler and said the partially rusted gun, which probably had been in the water no more than a year, was turned over to the Sheriff's Department.

"I must admit, snagging a gun is a rare catch," Block said.

See ya later, alligator

Talk about weird: Conservation officer Alex Gutierrez of Forest Lake investigated a report alleging a person with an alligator planned to release it into an area lake. Gutierrez found the 3-foot alligator in a large tank with a metal grate over it outside a house and talked to the homeowners. They said they were looking for a new home for the legally purchased gator and would continue feeding and caring for it. Gutierrez offered some advice to make sure it was secured in the tank.

Did you know?

• More evidence that lakeshore violations are hurting Minnesota's lakes: DNR wetland enforcement officer Larry Hanson recently found a case at Yankton Lake in Lyon County where about 270 feet of rip-rap was put in along a shore, and cattails and other aquatic plants were removed, all without permits.

• Be careful if you're boating on Whiteface Reservoir near Aurora. Officer Mark Fredin took a call about a boat that hit a reef there and sank. He found it and pulled it to shore. "There have been numerous reports of people hitting rocks on this lake due to the low water conditions," he reported.

• It's a common occurrence in Minnesota: non-married couples illegally buying husband-wife combination licenses to save a few bucks. Conservation officer Jeff Johanson of Osakis reported that he encountered "numerous" such couples recently. The licenses were invalidated and he took enforcement action.

• More on the new drain plug law for Minnesota boaters: While working at a public access in the Walker area, officer Gary Sommers encountered one boater who said: "I don't see how this will work. It will do more harm than good when people forget to put their plug in when they launch their boat." The boater, of course, had the plug in his boat (illegally) when he arrived at the access.

• Wild blueberries and raspberries are ripe in many areas of Minnesota, and the picking has begun.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 4 Top 3rd Inning
San Francisco 1
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 3rd Prd 15:51
Toronto 0
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd 15:54
Montreal 2
New Jersey 2 3rd Prd 13:27
Ottawa 1
Dallas 4 3rd Prd 10:02
NY Islanders 5
Detroit 2 3rd Prd 8:38
Philadelphia 3
Chicago 1 2nd Prd 13:03
St. Louis 1
Pittsburgh 1 2nd Prd 7:34
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 1 2nd Prd 10:50
Minnesota 5
Florida 0 1st Prd 14:03
Arizona 0
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 52 4th Qtr 6:15
Washington St 30
Texas-El Paso 24 3rd Qtr 1:00
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 3 3rd Qtr 7:20
Colorado State 31
Syracuse 6 3rd Qtr 8:30
(21) Clemson 3
Texas State 7 3rd Qtr 1:06
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 3rd Qtr
(24) LSU 3
(4) Alabama 27 3rd Qtr
Tennessee 10
So Carolina 21 3rd Qtr
(5) Auburn 21
(13) Ohio State 10 2nd Qtr 7:18
Penn State 0
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 2nd Half 10:00
New England 1
Portland 0 1st Half 7:00
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 13 0:45
Winnipeg 17
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close