Alberta has announced there will be a sandhill crane hunting season this fall — a hunt that’s been opposed by an environmental group and was previously rejected by the provincial government three times.
The province said in a news release on Sunday that the season launches on Sept. 1 in more than 50 wildlife management units in southern and east-central Alberta.
Environment Minister Jason Nixon says in the release that it “will support the province’s wildlife management goals and boost local economies.”
Alberta Conservation Association president Todd Zimmerling says in the same release that the birds make “excellent table fare” and that they’ve been hunted for many years across the rest of their range.
But Nissa Pettersen of the Alberta Wilderness Association said earlier this year, when the minister told a magazine he’d asked his department to consider a hunt, that despite their healthy numbers, the birds reproduce slowly and are rapidly losing the wetlands where they live.
Alberta decided against sandhill crane hunts in 2009, 2013 and 2014.
“Alberta hunters care deeply about the province’s environment, species and wild places, and providing another opportunity to engage in a pursuit that supports conservation as well as economic activity is a win-win,” Nixon said in the release.
The province said sandhill crane hunting seasons have existed in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba for more than 50 years, with the sandhill crane population remaining healthy.