4:26pm

Tue August 2, 2011
Environmental Watchdog

Beshear asked to Preserve Sandhill Cranes

Kentuckians who don’t want to see the state adopt a new sandhill crane hunting season have asked the governor to abandon the effort.  Ben Yandell, who’s with the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, is not convinced there’s much support, even among hunters.

“There has been a real lack of a chance for meaningful input from the general public about this and we’re convinced that most people have no desire to see sandhill cranes killed in Kentucky,” said Yandell.

Yandell says his group is not opposed to hunting, but they don’t see any pressing need to target a species that hasn’t been hunted in Kentucky for nearly a century.

He’s also highly critical of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

 “It was very clear early in this process that the decision had been made and what was happening with the folks in the department that they were going through the motions; this sort of illusion of democracy,” said Yandell.

But Department spokesman Mark Marracini says the agency has put a lot of time and energy into study.

“It’s really an opinion thing.  It’s really not a biological issue at this point.  The science is pretty sound.  It basically comes down to people who are in favor of hunting and people who are opposed to it,” said Marracini.

Marracini says the proposal each year would kill-off no more than one percent of Kentucky’s sandhill crane population.  He also points out the public had all of July to weigh in on the issue.

 “I mean we received a lot of letters in favor of having a season, and we’ve received a lot opposed to having it.  As a matter of fact, I think the amount of letters in favor of having it were quite a bit more,” said Marracini.

Marracini says the agency is evaluating and responding to comments.  If approved, the thirty day hunting season would start on December 17th.