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Sandhill Cranes 2021

TAFKAP

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
13,441
Location
Memphis
Crosshairy, TAFKAP, and one of my buddies traveled up to Obion County yesterday to try and fill our sandhill crane tags. There was another shooter with us that was friends with the guide. 4 guns total. I used the same dude that guided me last year, and he ended up hooking up with an outfit called Southern Knights' Retrievers. They set up about 2 doz. silhouette decoys, and 3 grass-covered A-frame temporary blinds in the ditch between two cut cornfields. The first birds started flying around 7:30, and it was on. The first two we shot actually snuck in on us from the opposite direction of where they were all coming from. Tons of birds were flying past us, over us, and way far away, but they usually could get a couple to look and turn. Flying slowed down for about 30 minutes, and they worked a group of about 5 in on us. They circled like ducks, dropped their big long gangly legs down, and we popped up and got (3) more. Another single came in high, and Crosshairy popped up and took an expert shot that folded the bird right up, taking our count to (6). It took a while for the last group to come in, but they worked hard and gave a perfect setup. But with high penalties for over-limit shooting, and only two more to get, everyone was very hesitant. One bird fell, and the rest flew off. That pretty well ended the morning for us. But in true bird hunting fashion, a cloud of at least 100 birds picked up and looked like they could've come to us, except the blinds and decoys were all taken down, and all the guns were socked away.

Great morning chasing Sandhills. I've definitely got the bug, and I hope their population spreads bigger in West TN. We carried home 7 out of a possible 8. The dude that carried one home took the biggest bird, and it weighed in at 12.5 lbs. I can't wait to eat these.

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Safari Hunt

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Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
1,275
Location
Bradley County
Supposed to be the best eating of all migratory birds. Went to Hiwassee Refuge twice to take photos. Amazing birds. Just don't shoot the one that is real big and yellow in color. 🤣
 

HatchieHunter

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Messages
79
Location
Lauderdale Co
That’s awesome. I drew a tag a couple of years back with no luck. Have yet to try them but everywhere they talk about them says they are awesome to eat.
 

archer19

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2008
Messages
3,700
Location
Erwin, TN
Well I’m an idiot,
totally forgotten that my son drew a tag.
How much longer is it open?

he would have to do the online test.
He didn’t get a tag in mail, how do you get the actual tag?
any outfitters that might have an opening?

again...... I’m an idiot
 

TAFKAP

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
13,441
Location
Memphis
Thats awesome! Do you guys typically try to shoot for their heads? Whats the limit for one person?
I aim for the head, absolutely. Based on the ones I butchered tonight, apparently someone missed the memo.

I was issued (2) tags
 

TAFKAP

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
13,441
Location
Memphis
Well I’m an idiot,
totally forgotten that my son drew a tag.
How much longer is it open?

he would have to do the online test.
He didn’t get a tag in mail, how do you get the actual tag?
any outfitters that might have an opening?

again...... I’m an idiot
Tags are printable online
Season runs through the end of Jan
My guys in West TN might be available
 

TAFKAP

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2009
Messages
13,441
Location
Memphis
Haha I imagine its hard hitting just the head. I'm sure I couldn't do it.

Not hard at all. The head is 2 feet in front of the body, and about as big as a tennis ball. Point it at the tip of the beak, and they fold up and drop
 

Crosshairy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
3,432
Location
Bartlett, TN
Haha I imagine its hard hitting just the head. I'm sure I couldn't do it.

I think folks get distracted by the large body and huge wings flapping. If you've done a decent amount of waterfowl hunting, you are already accustomed to aiming at the tip of their beaks (or even further out front, if they are moving at a good clip).

If you are inexperienced at wingshooting, I'd recommend going to shoot some clays first to make sure you have the mechanics down. The biggest issue for some folks is that you can't really mount your gun to your shoulder early (to avoid moving/flaring birds), so you have to pull the gun up, aim, and shoot. I think too many people practice shooting clays by putting the gun to their shoulder before saying "Pull", and they really need to practice mounting the gun to their shoulder more than anything.

Once in the blind, I'd be repeating "aim for the tip of the beak" like a mantra so that you don't try to center-mass shoot them.
 

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