Registration for historic Alabama sandhill crane season opens Wednesday
Registration for Alabama’s first sandhill crane hunting season in more than 100 years will open on Wednesday, September 4, and run until September 25.
Only 400 sandhill crane hunting permits will be issued statewide. The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) will conduct a computer-controlled random draw on October 2 to pick the permit holders from the registration list.
Registration is limited to Yellowhammer State residents ages 16 and older or Alabama lifetime hunting license holders. Applicants must have their regular hunting license and a state waterfowl stamp to apply. A $10 registration fee will be assessed.
If drawn, hunters must then complete an online test that includes species identification and regulations. After passing the test, WFF will issue the permit and tags. In addition to a hunting license and state duck stamp, hunters must also acquire a federal duck stamp and Harvest Information Program license, and if hunting on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA), a WMA license.
The season will be split into two segments with the first running from December 3, 2019, to January 5, 2020. The second segment will be January 16-31, 2020. The daily, season and possession limit will be three birds per permit. Hunters can harvest all three birds in one day if they choose.
The sandhill crane hunt zone is restricted to North Alabama. Additionally, both state and federal wildlife refuges are closed to sandhill crane and waterfowl hunting.
Sandhill cranes stand 4 to 5 feet tall with a wingspan of 4 to 6 feet. The subspecies found in the eastern U.S. is called the giant sandhill crane. Sandhills prefer wetland habitat with emergent vegetation and often feed in harvested grain fields. The majority of migratory sandhill cranes in Alabama are found in the Tennessee River Valley with some birds wintering in Weiss Reservoir on the Coosa River.
For more information about Alabama’s sandhill crane hunting season and to register, click here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn