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road kill
11-24-2012, 08:26 AM
I have been fortunate enough to see 2 Goose migrations into our area here in WI over the years.
Friday morning I witnessed thousands of Sandhill Cranes POURING out of the sky on their apparent migration south.
The first time I have seen that.

I watched the Cranes riding the nor'wester down out of the Dakota's and the Canadian plains.
They poured out of the sky, one wave after another, for hours.
(no ducks, but I stayed and watched the spectacle)
Dozens or more in flight after flight.
The silence of the marsh shattered by their peculiar chattering calls.
30 mph NW winds, snow and cold.

One of the most amazing things I have ever witnessed!!!
Elvis' eyes were locked to the sky.

I tried to take pics, it just didn't work.
But it's in my heart forever.................WOW!!!

What a morning!!!
(no, I didn't fire a shot, one of the best days of the year in the marsh)


Have any of you ever seen this??


stan b & Elvis

PS...24 degrees, we are on our way to the marsh NOW!!!!

M&K's Retrievers
11-24-2012, 10:44 AM
We hunted cranes in Western Oklahoma and West Texas for the past 25 years. They are indeed a sight to see. We occasionally have a few Whooping Cranes mixed in with them (if the game rangers find out they will close the season). One of the neatest things is when they are leaving the roost in the morning or returning at dark. Wave after wave, thousands of birds. Another neat thing to see is when they are leaving an area to continue to migrate. They will all lift up off a field and spiral straight up continuing up to what must be 2000 feet before they they form flights and leave.

I'm going to West Texas the day after Christmas to help a friend of mine guide for 4 weeks. I'll try and post pictures.

road kill
11-24-2012, 10:48 AM
We hunted cranes in Western Oklahoma and West Texas for the past 25 years. They are indeed a sight to see. We occasionally have a few Whooping Cranes mixed in with them (if the game rangers find out they will close the season). One of the neatest things is when they are leaving the roost in the morning or returning at dark. Wave after wave, thousands of birds. Another neat thing to see is when they are leaving an area to continue to migrate. They will all lift up off a field and spiral straight up continuing up to what must be 2000 feet before they they form flights and leave.

I'm going to West Texas the day after Christmas to help a friend of mine guide for 4 weeks. I'll try and post pictures.
I can assure you first hand, they are on the way!!

ENJOY!!!

I have hunted Sandhills in NODAK, but never saw this many!

charly_t
11-24-2012, 01:00 PM
Can't wait to see pictures ! Please and thank you !

jacduck
11-24-2012, 01:20 PM
We already have a lot of cranes in Matagorda/Jackson counties but I doubt if the WI cranes will come here. They probably are part of the east of the Mississippi flock which stay east. Amazing birds but there are two places to see cranes. Amarillo area and the Platte river valley in the spring. Last March when we returned to MI there were still cranes in SW Michigan in spite of the snow and cold. BTW rib eye of the sky is not a misnomer.

Not a biologist but looking at the family groups the past few years it seems they are coming south with more than the normal one young. When they nest they lay multiple eggs and after hatch the strongest kills the weaker leving only one survivor. That seems to be changing IMHO hence the big increase in numbers in WI/MI and I suspect TX/OK/CO also.

huntinman
11-24-2012, 01:27 PM
I was deer hunting with my son sevaral years back when he was around 12 or so... We were in the Panhandle of Texas between Wellington and Shamrock for those of you that know the area. The cranes were just pouring into the area we were hunting. One evening, my boy and I were in a tripod stand and the cranes were just spiraling down all around us going into a small creek (the locals called it a river) to get water... many of them came very close to the tripod and they were calling non-stop... there were probably a couple thousand birds in there that evening. Something my boy and I will never forget.

Blackstone
11-24-2012, 01:30 PM
We get a big migration through KS as well. They are a sight to see.

Uncle Bill
11-24-2012, 04:50 PM
Been hunting them for as long as we've been issued licenses. Great eating. Look forward to gilling a couple each season.

Just a quick heads up for those that aren't aware, don't send your dogs for a wounded crane. Those sharp beaks are lethal and blinding. Far more aggresive than any goose you could encounter.

UB

starjack
11-24-2012, 06:20 PM
I know a few people that have ate them they call them rib eye in the sky

J Hoggatt
11-24-2012, 06:27 PM
Out this morning as well - there is more coming your way!! -- Nebraska is the only state that doesn't hunt them :( about a 100 of them flew 30 yards over us this morning on the Platte River in central Nebraska. Probably saw 1000 in flight this am.

Franco
11-25-2012, 08:28 AM
Are Sandhills as tastey as Whooping Cranes? ;)

HPL
11-25-2012, 09:32 AM
Man, I'm not sure that I would even joke about that!!! You never know who's "listening". You may end up with unwelcome visitors at your next few outings! ;-)

Franco
11-25-2012, 09:44 AM
Man, I'm not sure that I would even joke about that!!! You never know who's "listening". You may end up with unwelcome visitors at your next few outings! ;-)

I've never seen one much less dined on one. I think they mostly stay to the west of here.

HPL
11-25-2012, 09:46 AM
Suuurrre. That's what you say now............ ;-)

We have only recently had a crane season. We're too close to Aransas Nat. Refuge. A friend of mine was apparently instrumental in getting the season opened here. His research has shown that they don't stray into our area. Still haven't tried to harvest one. Worried about my dog getting blinded.

smillerdvm
11-25-2012, 11:46 AM
Are Sandhills as tastey as Whooping Cranes? ;)

From what I hear nothing is as tasty as spotted owl & Bald eagle:)

road kill
11-25-2012, 12:24 PM
This is what happened Friday here.

I find this absolutely fascinating.
I hope you do as well.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=89648&source=0

Just mind boggling........I think our season is over.:(


BTW---I guess I should have been at my desk responding to foolish posts or shopping at Wal-Mart, instead I was out being a part of this.

Shame on me............

charly_t
11-25-2012, 05:45 PM
This is what happened Friday here.

I find this absolutely fascinating.
I hope you do as well.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=89648&source=0

Just mind boggling........I think our season is over.:(


BTW---I guess I should have been at my desk responding to foolish posts or shopping at Wal-Mart, instead I was out being a part of this.

Shame on me............

You were doing the correct thing. Maybe not politically correct but correct according to my values :-)Anyhow............there were plenty of people out stimulating the economy I hear.

Illinois Bob
11-25-2012, 06:43 PM
I saw sandhills going by the same day you made this post Stan. Several groups very high up going by. We do get groups stopping by here on their way south and north in the spring. Earlier this year we went a couple of mornings to try to see the whooping cranes guided by ultra-lites to teach them the route to Florida. Each day they were grounded with high winds when we went to see them. I was surprised by how many people showed up each time before sunrise and how far some people came to get a chance to see them. They are already in Florida now but if you are along the route you can maybe see them next year. http://operationmigration.org/InTheField/

HPL
11-25-2012, 06:52 PM
We've had them here in the Texas Coastal Bend area for quite a while now. Don't know where that population summers, and perhaps we will be getting more as winter progresses, but I have been seeing and hearing them for several weeks at least.

Uncle Bill
11-26-2012, 04:27 PM
Out this morning as well - there is more coming your way!! -- Nebraska is the only state that doesn't hunt them :( about a 100 of them flew 30 yards over us this morning on the Platte River in central Nebraska. Probably saw 1000 in flight this am.


My friends in Kearney bemoan this situation. Sadly the tree huggers/environmental whackos have strong-armed the legislators into this regulation. We had a similar situation many years ago that stopped the dove hunting. I even had to appear before the legislature to make them understand the extremists were passing on incorrect info as to a doves longevity. Once they had several hunters and scientists explain the facts, we were able to get the seasons opened again.

I suspect it will take some of these birds attacking golf courses and other areas that these same tree huggers find to be their "ox", before logic will enter the equation. It's almost analogous with what's happening to the "golf course" geese...that used to be "so cute to watch", but now have suddenly become 'nuisances'. The farmers that used to like having a flock on their property, and protected them vigilently, but now, finding these birds gleaning their soy bean fields acres at a time, they welcome hunters and appreciate the GF&P's new limits of 25 birds/day. Hopefully, in your lifetime, you'll be able to hunt crane in Nebraska. There are plenty reserves for the 'bird watchers' where no hunting needs to be allowed, just like the other waterfowl reserves. Eventually the lack of 'management' in Nebraska, will be detrimental to the cranes, just like has happened to the snow goose population, and is becoming a problem for the black geese also.

UB

HPL
11-26-2012, 04:45 PM
Since Whooping cranes migrate through the Central Flyway (North Dakota, South Dakota, eastern Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma), and when traveling as singles they join groups of sandhill cranes, I'm actually pretty surprised that there is a season in any of those states. With only about 200 birds left, just a few yahoos could put a serious dent in their population.

Uncle Bill
11-26-2012, 04:53 PM
Since Whooping cranes migrate through the Central Flyway (North Dakota, South Dakota, eastern Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma), and when traveling as singles they join groups of sandhill cranes, I'm actually pretty surprised that there is a season in any of those states. With only about 200 birds left, just a few yahoos could put a serious dent in their population.


You can't mean this???? Have you seen the stark difference between whoopers and sandhills??? How is it we hunters can limit ourselves from shooting too many suzies...or too many sprig, or cans??? Or are you into calling us hunters "yahoos"?

Until proven differently, I'll chaulk this up as a brain fart...or certainly a subject you are ill-informed about.


UB

Ken Bora
11-26-2012, 04:54 PM
This is what happened Friday here.

I find this absolutely fascinating.
I hope you do as well.

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=89648&source=0

Just mind boggling........I think our season is over.:(


BTW---I guess I should have been at my desk responding to foolish posts or shopping at Wal-Mart, instead I was out being a part of this.

Shame on me............


wow! what pushed um through? were they in front of a cold front?
wow!

road kill
11-26-2012, 04:58 PM
wow! what pushed um through? were they in front of a cold front?
wow!
Yup, and I was out in that and got to see these birds.
No one else in the marsh except me & Elvis.
Something I will never forget.

I thought more folks would think this was cool, I guess it's just the "YAHOO" in me!!

Wish you could have been there Ken!

mngundog
11-26-2012, 05:04 PM
Yup, and I was out in that and got to see these birds.
Something I will never forget.

I thought more folks would think this was cool, I guess it's just the "YAHOO" in me!!

Wish you could have been there Ken!
I would have loved to seen it, I live next to the Lac Qui Parle wildlife refuge and he see about 100K Canadian Geese a year come through, I remember a time as a kid when the migration went through and we saw waves of geese by the thousands for a couple hours, I can only imagine watching a migration of birds I have have rarely seen.

road kill
11-26-2012, 05:24 PM
For those who may have missed this, open this link:

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=89648&source=0

Those are birds, not storms.

Ken Bora
11-26-2012, 05:43 PM
I would have also loved to have seen it Stan.
Oh... as for the bird ID by yahoo's issue. Tree hugger that I am I partake in the vermont christmas bird count. It's real google it :rolleyes:
I am in the woods anyway most days off and it beats sittin' with the relations. Anyway, my point is I find as a group waterfowel hunters are more better bird watchers than the average man on the street. Needing to properly ID a flying bird a half hour before sunrise under threat of breaking the law will hone ones bird watching skill. I would not have noted this without hanging with the "bird watchers" now and again. And yes I point out how my hunting $$$ pay for the access areas both groups use. They always marvel at my bird watching shirts ? ? :cool:

road kill
11-26-2012, 05:47 PM
I would have also loved to have seen it Stan.
Oh... as for the bird ID by yahoo's issue. Tree hugger that I am I partake in the vermont christmas bird count. It's real google it :rolleyes:
I am in the woods anyway most days off and it beats sittin' with the relations. Anyway, my point is I find as a group waterfowel hunters are more better bird watchers than the average man on the street. Needing to properly ID a flying bird a half hour before sunrise under threat of breaking the law will hone ones bird watching skill. I would not have noted this without hanging with the "bird watchers" now and again. And yes I point out how my hunting $$$ pay for the access areas both groups use. They always marvel at my bird watching shirts ? ? :cool:
Yep, it can be trickey ID'ing a hen mallard after 1 is on the ground.
(limit here of 1 hen mallard in the bag)

1 Can is all ya get, sometimes Can's and Redheads can look the same.
Especially under a full wing.......real life "google":cool:


YAHOO regards..........

Robert
11-26-2012, 05:53 PM
I politely disagree with some of the NE crane hunting assessments and I’m even a central NE native. I literally grew up in the middle of the Central flyaway hour glass, still hunt the same sections of river and look forward to the crane migration each spring. Would I like to go on a crane hunt? Yes. But not in the central part of Nebraska. Do I along with a lot of Central NE hunters dislike the Trusts and Bird Watcher organization purchasing up vast areas of land, absolutely. But this area - in this point in time - is simply not the right location to hunt cranes.

Nebraska is not a fly-over state for cranes as are the other mid-west states where hunting is allowed. Yes, we see them during the fall hunting season like John said but nowhere close to the population numbers we see in the spring.

In addition to the 7-10 million ducks and geese that use the Platte River and Rainwater Basins each spring on their migration back north (2 million snow geese stopped in the Rainwater Basins last spring alone) nearly 500,000 sand hill cranes stop in this short stretch for about one month to refuel before picking up and flying to Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Their diet consist mainly of waste grain on fields that was picked the previous fall. Thousands of years ago before big agriculture the cranes fed on Platte River water vegetation tubers so this area is imprinted upon them. The day I see cranes habitually hanging out on golf courses will be the day I hang up my gun. They would much rather stay safe on the river’s shallow sand bars. Might I also add cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet and they were almost hunted to extinction in the 1800’s until the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted. Today, be thankful we have huntable numbers allowed in several states and Canada. I’ve watched them circle in the air for hours on warm air currents and drifted with a canoe through huge flocks roosting at night. Cool birds. Ribeye of the sky? I hear that too. Someday I hope to shoot and taste a few myself. But not in central NE. Not going to happen. It's a unique area unlike anywhere else.

Today, Central NE is the only place in the world where these birds have the pefect conditions to rest and fuel up so they can make the long journey back north and have a successful breeding season.

Whopping vs. Sandhill Crane. No difference at all. Whoppers are taller, have larger wing spans, gray vs. white, and you can consider yourself very lucky to see a Whooping crane. Then again some people shoot swans and tell the warden they thought they were snow geese too.

2labs
11-26-2012, 06:20 PM
Robert, great words thank you for posting. UB, at your age, I would suggest you sit in your window and watch the leaves blow and the snow swirl. You have no idea how many Moose in Wyoming get shot because some Yahoo thought it was an Elk or how many Mule deer get shot because the Yahoo thought it was an elk etc. it happens and happens often. If the great state of Nebraska can offer these cranes peace and quiet and other states offer you a chance at harvest, we will keep it this way if that is okay with you... I was fortunate enough as well to witness the migration this year, natures best spectacle. I had my first taste of sandhill crane in Tx last Feb while dog training, it was everything plus "ribeye".

huntinman
11-26-2012, 06:33 PM
Robert, great words thank you for posting. UB, at your age, I would suggest you sit in your window and watch the leaves blow and the snow swirl. You have no idea how many Moose in Wyoming get shot because some Yahoo thought it was an Elk or how many Mule deer get shot because the Yahoo thought it was an elk etc. it happens and happens often. If the great state of Nebraska can offer these cranes peace and quiet and other states offer you a chance at harvest, we will keep it this way if that is okay with you... I was fortunate enough as well to witness the migration this year, natures best spectacle. I had my first taste of sandhill crane in Tx last Feb while dog training, it was everything plus "ribeye".

How do we know you aren't one of those yahoos, and shot a whooping crane thinking it was a sandhill?

Another point.... One of my hunting partners is in his 70's and can out hunt most men in their 20's... He is up every morning all season long, dragging decoys into the marsh. You better hope to reach that age rather than disrespecting people due to their age.

M&K's Retrievers
11-26-2012, 06:35 PM
Since Whooping cranes migrate through the Central Flyway (North Dakota, South Dakota, eastern Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma), and when traveling as singles they join groups of sandhill cranes, I'm actually pretty surprised that there is a season in any of those states. With only about 200 birds left, just a few yahoos could put a serious dent in their population.

The Game Wardens have closed the season by county if they see WC in with a flock of SC. I'm not sure if they are State Rangers, Federal boys or both. WC stick out like a sore thumb when standing in a wheat field. I don't believe I've see one in flight or if I did, I didn't realize it.

SC are amazing to watch. They come in wave after wave. They are spooky as hell. A truck driving down a section road will flare a flight about to cross the road as well as several following flights.

charly_t
11-27-2012, 01:41 AM
Yup, and I was out in that and got to see these birds.
No one else in the marsh except me & Elvis.
Something I will never forget.

I thought more folks would think this was cool, I guess it's just the "YAHOO" in me!!

Wish you could have been there Ken!

It was way cool. I would guess that a lot of folks on here would be in awe of seeing something like this. It is not often that nature treats us to one of these "moments". The true hunter treasures something like this all of their lives.

Sharon Potter
11-27-2012, 07:55 PM
Wow...would have loved to have seen that! They gather up around here in the crop fields next to my place, but the most I've seen at any one time is about three hundred. Usually more like 100-150. One time there was a pair in my field, and I quietly walked parallel to them getting closer a bit at a time. I ended up about fifteen yards away, and when they make that noise that close, it is deafening. Cool birds...I enjoy having them around.

HPL
11-27-2012, 08:03 PM
You can't mean this???? Have you seen the stark difference between whoopers and sandhills??? How is it we hunters can limit ourselves from shooting too many suzies...or too many sprig, or cans??? Or are you into calling us hunters "yahoos"?

Until proven differently, I'll chaulk this up as a brain fart...or certainly a subject you are ill-informed about.


UB


1. the reason we didn't have a crane season here until a few years ago was that very fear, since the cranes winter less than 100 miles from here (as the crane flies) and it took significant research to prove that they didn't come into this specific area (there is still an exclusion area just north of here).

2. only takes a couple of knuckleheads (you've met some if you have hunted more than once or twice) to put a significant dent in the population.

3. dark morning, grey sky, immature whooper, inexperienced hunter, oops.

HPL
11-27-2012, 08:25 PM
Yup, and I was out in that and got to see these birds.
No one else in the marsh except me & Elvis.
Something I will never forget.

I thought more folks would think this was cool, I guess it's just the "YAHOO" in me!!

Wish you could have been there Ken!

Actually VERY cool!! I love to see and hear sandhills. Beautiful birds. We see quite a few, but by the time they reach our area, they have dispersed some. Don't usually see them in the hundreds or thousands. Often see 20 or even 50 though.