[TN-Bird] proposed 10 year moratorium on hunting sandhill cranes

 
Concerning TN Wildlife Federation  and the proposed humming bird license 
plate etc.:  
.  
Mr Butler supplied a list of good  projects in which TNWF is involved and it 
would be nice to be able to give full  support to all they do. The issue that 
is in the background, that clouds and  colors everything right now is the 
crane hunting issue. This summer TNWF, and  Mike Butler in specific, went 
before 
the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s  Board of Commissioners and 
convinced 
them to go forward on hunting Sandhill  Cranes in Tennessee. 
So far there has been no public  input on this process, and therefore the 
public trust of TWRA slips down another  notch. Gov  Bredesen knows of and  has 
expressed concern about lack of transparency with TWRA  decisions. 
The problem is that a non-game,  watchable wildlife species, which many 
enjoying just seeing and hearing the wild  music sound going overhead, is not 
perceived of by the public as a game species.  Even if numbers continue to 
grow, 
this will take a long time. Tennessee  Ornithological Society has never opposed 
the hunting of bona fide game species,  but no time in the near future will 
the public see cranes as game, it will take  a while. Hunting Sandhill cranes 
in 
Tennessee is an idea that’s WAY ahead of it’s  time. Hunting cranes further 
endangers the endangered Whooping Crane, only now  just getting a toe hold on 
existence, back from the brink of extinction. And  TWRA already issues permits 
to farmers to control crop destruction from cranes  (Sandhills), so far no 
cranes have been shot under this  program 
.  
To recap: USFWS has proclaimed  Sandhill Cranes to be game species. TWRA has 
to submit a plan for management to  the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyways  
Councils before a hunt can be approved. We have been told that the  process 
will 
take years…but no time table has been given. We don’t know if  something is 
going to be sprung on us at any moment, next year or whenever. And  this is 
bound to be an expensive undertaking for TWRA , that money could be  better 
spent 
and would be more than revenue from permits anyway. They should  just leave 
well enough alone for now. 
.  
We should be working together on  important things like fighting destructive 
coal mining practices such as  mountain top-removal, listed as one of the 
things TNWF is working on. When a  mountain top is scraped off Cerulean 
Warblers 
and fish in the streams below both  loose. And no-one that I know of wants to 
take away the  rights of Tennesseans to hunt and fish, far from it. We in TOS 
acknowledge that  game lands can and do support non-game. But the concept of 
multiple use must be  acknowledge also. All species should be “managed” to 
their benefit and to the  benefit of all Tennesseans on all Tennessee state 
property, including  WMAs. 
.  
This is a time of change and its  hard to know who’s in charge at TWRA right 
now. These are hard financial times  and Director Gary Myers is a short-timer, 
retiring in a couple of months. Gary  Myers has been an exceptional, even 
visionary wildlife manager and we can only  hope the TWRA Board can find 
someone 
with the same broad vision to replace him.  By the way there will also be a 
turn-over of some of the TWRA Commissioners  later this spring. This board is 
supposed to represent the TN public as well as  TN hunters and fishers, lets 
hope the Governor chooses new members with a broad  view of TN wildlife. There 
are some in TWRA who are in favor of a crane hunt and  I know that there are 
others opposed to a hunt. 
. 
It would go a long way in settling  the issue if Mike Butler and TNWF would 
acknowledge that it is premature to hunt  cranes in Tennessee any time soon, 
and agree to a 10 year moratorium on any  crane hunt, with a one year public 
comment period before any season is set. NO  scheduled hunt before 2020 with 
2019 
a year of public comment. This is a minimum  time frame with no assurance the 
public would go along with it then. If he would  do every thing in his power 
help convince the TWRA Commissioners, Director and  TWRA staff to postpone 
action until then I’m sure they would go along with that.  Until that time 
TWF 
and TWRA will not get the full confidence and cooperation of  TOS and the 
wildlife viewing public. 
We need to be working together on  things of real importance, such as truly 
endangered species and  habitats, and spend less time arguing about a species 
that happens to be  doing well. 
. 
RICHARD CONNORS, President
Tennessee  Ornithological Society
Nashville TN  37220
(615)832-0521
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