The Sandhill Crane hunt in Kentucky is over for the season and only fifty birds were killed. While fifty dead birds is still fifty too many, it is better than the 400 that could have been killed under the rules of the hunting season. The Courier-Journal, Kentucky’s largest newspaper, excoriated the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for allowing the hunt to happen in this editorial.
Actually, under the rules of the new hunting season, there could have been 940+ birds killed from the eastern population. Each hunter was allowed two birds and there could have been more considering birds that were only “winged” and then flew away to die. The F&W folks will tell you that each hunter is supposed to call in their kill to KDFWR, but nothing is to stop them from waiting until they get their limit of 2 birds before making that call. Added to that are those birds that were killed by farmers up north that are allowed to shoot them if they are destroying crops…the International Crane Foundation estimated that this could amount to 140 cranes.
We are fortunate that there was very little interest in the hunting community to get a free permit and then fewer still to actually go oout and hunt them. This further makes the case that Commissioner Jon Gassett was trumping up the demand for a season in hopes of creating a need then filling it with his private businesses.
There is nothing wrong with the local community benefiting from hunting as long as there is nothing improper occurring. It just seems to be a lot of effort by KDFWR, coming from the top down, to rush and get this off the ground in time for this coming season. The fact is that KDFWR Commissioner Jon Gassett has already had an ethics complaint filed against him because of apparent conflicts of interest issues regarding his private side businesses, Southern Wildlife Resources LLC, and as a licensed realtor with the Greenwood Land Company. He is selling to the public the very services and properties that he is promoting and approving in his official capacity as Commissioner of KDFWR. You have to hand it to him for his entrepreneurial spirit…it is a classic case of creating a need and then filling it…pure capitalism gone awry. Don’t take my word for it on this conflict of interest issues, look for yourselves: