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#3286362 - 07/09/13 09:39 AM Re: TWRA seeking input on migratory birds [Re: -DRM-]
10 Point

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2835
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

 Originally Posted By: -DRM-
SO someone wanna sell me on why we need to be hunting these cranes?

My opinion:
I am most definitely in favor of a Sandhill Crane season.
For starters, they definitely eat most of the food that is actually planted for ducks and geese when they get here, and what is planted doesn’t appear to be much in my area. Also, this should bring at least some revenue into the state since they are not getting any revenue from the bird watchers that get the spoils for free. I would like to know though how the permits are going to be issued. I believe they should keep them in state and let us locals have a crack at them before we open it up to out of state hunters, unless they are being guided. It is a long overdue season, hope it makes it; should have been implemented years ago.

Also, some people refer to them as "the ribeye of the sky". \:\)
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
-Ronald Firbank

#3286487 - 07/09/13 11:53 AM Re: TWRA seeking input on migratory birds [Re: BlountArrow]
6 Point

Registered: 08/21/12
Posts: 774
Loc: Spring Hill, TN

Thanks. I really don't have an opinion, but I sensed there must be some strong opinions behind it for this to come up.

#3286648 - 07/09/13 03:06 PM Re: TWRA seeking input on migratory birds [Re: -DRM-]
6 Point

Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 796
Loc: Here

_________________________ Pro-Staff

#3298135 - 07/21/13 09:30 PM Re: TWRA seeking input on migratory birds [Re: -DRM-]
6 Point

Registered: 03/10/07
Posts: 509
Loc: Bedford Co.

 Originally Posted By: -DRM-
SO someone wanna sell me on why we need to be hunting these cranes?

The following is part of my letter to the Commissioners regarding your question:

Dear Commissioners:

My wife and I are both Lifetime license holders and members of the Highland Rim Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. We are avid birders....

My Master’s Thesis from MTSU was in ornithology, and I have taught ornithology to graduate students and environmental problems to upper division students at MTSU over the past several years. Among other conservation work, I... worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for 26 years where I rose to upper-level management positions that involved regional and national policy development and implementation. I have been a member of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation since about 1973 and served on its Board of Directors for over a decade. TWF has been and remains a strong supporter of the Agency and sound management of Tennessee’s fish & wildlife resources and their habitats.

My background enables me to respectfully and professionally say that I have an understanding of the social and varied resource issues surrounding a possible Sandhill Crane season. Both my wife and I strongly support a crane season because we believe the Agency’s professionals, under Director Carter’s strong leadership, can craft the conditions necessary to conduct hunting in a way that will (1) not adversely impact the birders’ recreational interests; (2) provide a viable hunting opportunity for sportsmen and sportswomen; (3) give some needed relief to landowners who are experiencing crane-induced crop depredation problems; and (4) most importantly, do all of the preceding in a multiple-use way that is not detrimental to the crane population. This can be a doable, win-win for all parties involved.

Let me respectfully point out that, but for sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s freely given dollars, there would be no Hiwassee Refuge for the birders and others to enjoy. The Agency also contributes most, if not the only funding that is necessary to maintain the Refuge and its activities, including supporting Crane Days. These are dollars that we license holders have and continue to willingly provide. Additionally, several local sportsmen are supporting the expansion of the Refuge, and these same sportsmen are also some of the landowners who are experiencing crop damages from the over-wintering cranes. I respectfully point out the role sportsmen and sportswomen have, are, and will play in funding the many game and non-game wildlife conservation and management programs available to all of us. To my knowledge, the opponents of the possible crane season contribute practically no funds thru license or other purchases that funnel much-needed dollars into Tennessee’s or the Nation’s wildlife conservation/management efforts. Sportsmen and sportswomen are the foundation of this country’s conservation movement.

I understand the opponents have provided information that offers general figures on the number of birders who take advantage of the Refuge and associated crane viewing opportunities provided almost solely by license holders. These opponents are presenting an appeal based strictly on emotion; they have no justifiable biological basis for their objections other than they do not support hunting cranes. I have personally met with representatives of the birders, and when I asked if they had or would consider any option other than no hunting, the representatives emphatically said either, “No” and showed no interest in pursuing other alternatives, or offered no other options then or during the two intervening years that the Commission provided them. They maintain that birding is the only and the “highest and best” use of the crane resource.

But it is myopic and inaccurate to believe their contention that the “highest and best” use is the only use you should consider in this matter. Birding and hunting are not mutually exclusive activities throughout the Americas, including this situation when given the flexibility the Agency has in setting hunting restrictions and the close, continuing scientific oversight of crane populations by both state and federal waterfowl biologists. There are ways to accommodate both legitimate uses by establishing a season that addresses all groups’ interests: birders, hunters, and landowners. The Agency’s successful elk re-introduction program is an excellent example of where a carefully developed, multiple-use strategy for a highly visible game species can work to the animals’, hunters’, and viewing public's benefits. When the elk population reached a point where hunting became a biologically viable, safe management tool, a closely regulated and well-developed season was established. The same is possible for Sandhill Cranes in Tennessee.

Finally, I would like you to consider the precedent that could be set by refusing to establish a hunting season based not on what is clearly sound biological and management considerations of state and federal wildlife experts, but strictly on the emotional objections of a predominately non-paying, non-expert, and geographically fairly limited user group. The next step in this unfolding anti-hunting drama could be concerted attacks by anti-hunting groups involving species included in currently available hunting seasons. Once one segment of the anti-hunters’ ranks is successful by establishing a precedent of ignoring sound wildlife management in favor of an emotional appeal, it creates a much shorter step in the already growing momentum of further denying opportunities to effectively implement sound conservation principles for the benefit of species held in the public trust.

With great respect, we license holders do not need our own Agency’s Commission to be complicit in opening the door for anti-hunting interests to deny us the conservation management opportunities that so many have fought so hard for so many decades to professionally institute, maintain, and fund by inadvertently caving in to one group’s emotional appeal involving a game animal that has several multiple-use opportunities. Opportunities based on sound wildlife management that have been and are currently available without detriment to the resource base or its varied users in other regions and states within the U.S.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document. Please contact me if you wish additional comments.
"What is man without the beasts? For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected." (Chief Seattle)

#3300453 - 07/24/13 07:46 AM Re: TWRA seeking input on migratory birds [Re: Monty]
16 Point

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 10449
Loc: Brentwood, TN US

GREAT letter, Monty.
Life is too short to fish with a dead cricket.

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