Save the sandhill cranes – make them legal to hunt

(Photo courtesy of International Crane Foundation)

A recent news lead for a wire story originating from Michigan State University’s Capital News Service by reporter Jingjing Nie read, “Some lawmakers want to reverse a hundred years of conservation and allow hunting of Michigan’s sandhill crane.”

One would surmise from this sentence that hunting sandhill cranes and conservation of sandhill cranes are different sides of a political issue. What could also be intimated in this lead is efforts for healthy or even growing crane populations in Michigan would be stymied or reversed if crane hunting is legalized.

I don’t think Nie was writing this from an overtly “anti-hunting” point of view. I think the reporter just has no idea of how conservation actually works. To the average Millennial Generation MSU student, I’m sure it’s a simple step of (faulty) logic to think “Live cranes are good, dead cranes are bad. Hunting produces dead cranes.” Ergo, if you are a crane aficionado, hunting cranes is bad.

The truth is, the best thing that can happen to a beleaguered wildlife species is for it to be embraced by hunters. The truth is a species interesting enough to be embraced by most hunters are those that have open seasons.

During the 100 years, Nie touts ongoing conservation efforts that have been aimed at Michigan’s beleaguered sandhills; look at which species have benefited by hunter-funded conservation efforts. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, elk, wood ducks, ringneck pheasants, ruffed grouse, Canada geese and other game species, all declining, threatened or non-existent in Michigan a century ago are now thriving. All have benefited from the support, power and money from Michigan’s hunting community.

Want to ensure the future for Michigan sandhill cranes? Make them a “legal-to-hunt” species. Once they have the support, power and money of Michigan’s hunters behind them, their future is assured for the next hundred years.

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