Monday, April 09, 2012

If you think hunting sandhill cranes should not be allowed in Wisconsin, cast your vote at one of tonight's hearings

Sandhill Cranes at Sunset
After clouding over Easter afternoon, the sun came back out late in the day as we were driving to the Goose Pond Sanctuary -- the 600 acre sanctuary run by the Madison Audubon Society.

Madison Audubon Society's Erstad PrairieThis is Erstad Prairie, which is next to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Schoenberg Marsh. (The photos are geotagged, so if you click through the photos to Flickr, you'll find a link to the map locations.) The light was stunning and the scenery was awesome, and we had it all to ourselves. We were surrounded by the wild calls of the sandhill cranes on Schoenberg Marsh. Periodically, a group of cranes would fly overhead, and their primordial call resounded from one end of the marsh to the other (you can hear different sandhill vocalizations if you scroll down on this sandhill crane page of the International Crane Foundation's website.) It was haunting.

Wisconsin sandhill crane lovers who oppose hunting these magnificent creatures in our state breathed a sigh of relief when State Rep. Joel Kleefisch's bill to authorize a crane hunt never came to a vote in the recent legislative session. But now the issue has surfaced again. The DNR Spring Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress County Meetings are being held all over the state, and the WCC is asking the public to comment on the idea of a crane hunt (pdf of meeting locations in each county). The Dane County meeting is from 7:00-9:00pm at the Middleton Cross Plains Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol Street, Middleton.

These meetings are heavily attended by hunters -- many, but not all, of whom support the crane hunt -- but the meetings are also open to non-hunting members of the general public. You can cast your vote without staying for the whole meeting. If you want to speak up for the cranes, this is your chance.

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