Call to Action!
Jackson Audubon opposes the proposed Sandhill Crane hunt in Michigan.
- On October 11, the Michigan House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee voted 5 to 4 to pass House Resolution (HR) 154, which encourages the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to open a recreational sandhill crane hunting season.
- On October 18, HR 154 was passed in the House.
- Contact the Natural Resources Commission at 517-284-6237 firstname.lastname@example.org to oppose HR 154.
Since its inception in 1904, the Michigan Audubon community has consistently supported and worked for the protection of native bird species.
- Sandhill cranes are a distinctive species and are models of fidelity and longevity.
- They hold the record as the oldest living bird species.
- As residents of the Jackson area, we have a special association with cranes. Casper “Cap Haehnle, an avid hunter, deeded his property, now called the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary, for permanent protection for birds and other wildlife to Michigan Audubon. It has grown to over 1000 acres and has become a regional destination for tourists and birders, especially in the autumn.
The economic benefits from crane viewing.
- Michigan Audubon, including Haehnle, participated in a study on the value of cranes for tourism a few years ago. The number of crane watchers far outnumbers the potential number of crane hunters.
- The visitor registry at Haehnle Sanctuary continually records visitors from across the US and other countries.
- Undoubtedly, hunting related dollars have had a positive impact on all wildlife in Michigan. But current trends suggest more and more that wildlife watchers are enjoying non-hunting forms of recreation and these citizens are willing to spend their dollars to do so.
- We question the effect hunting cranes will have on the Sanctuary and tourism in Jackson & Calhoun counties.
Crane population and hunting
- In 1931, there were only 17 pairs of sandhill cranes in the lower peninsula. While the bird’s population has recovered, and they are now abundant throughout the Mississippi flyway, we should celebrate this conservation success story rather than risk repeating past mistakes.
- After years of increasing, the fall population index of cranes in Michigan has leveled off since 2009.
- Cranes have one of the lowest recruitment rates, meaning they reproduce at low numbers.
- While we recognize that sandhill cranes inflict localized crop damage, it is not widespread. Michigan has already established successful management tools for agricultural stakeholders experiencing issues with this bird.