I understand that the Wildlife Board is considering a plan to permit hunting of sandhill cranes in Utah. Speaking as one Cache County landowner and resident, here is my response: Are you nuts?
As far as I know, either from my neighbors' or my own experiences living on agricultural land on the west side of Cache Valley where the cranes feed and live during these months: 1) sandhill cranes do no harm to anyone; 2) they enhance the wildlife environment with their squawking and clumsy dances; 3) they're no good to eat; 4) my wife, kids and I love watching and hearing them, which makes them cheap entertainment and enhances property values; 5) whatever they find to eat in newly plowed or harvested fields probably isn't invading my back yard; 6) they remind me of a cousin I haven't heard from since he was 11, so they're sort of like family.Sandhill cranes are certainly not the most pressing concern of lawmakers, landowners, environmentalists, the tourist bureau or anyone else. But having the gawky critters around is still important to those of us who are privileged to live with them. Why the heck would anyone want to shoot one of them, anyway? And why is the board spending time on this, of all the serious wildlife matters it has on its plate?
I know I come late to this question, but I strongly urge the board to block any kind of hunting season on sandhill cranes in Cache County or anywhere else in Utah. Alternatively, if there is a sandhill-crane hunting season, I wish someone would let me know how to buy a hunting license so I can get one for everyone I know who will shoot them only with cameras.
Edward C. Pease