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Crane Opens Sept. 20; Zone 2 Hunters Asked to Bring Birds to G&F

North Dakota's sandhill crane season opens Sept. 20, with most season details similar to previous years.

The season is open through Nov. 16 in zone 1 (west of U.S. Highway 281), and through Oct. 26 in zone 2 (east of U.S. Highway 281). Limits are three daily and six in possession in zone 1, and two daily and four in possession in zone 2. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Oct. 25. Beginning Oct. 26, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

As in past years, prospective hunters need a special crane permit. The permit costs $5 and is available through the State Game and Fish Department's Bismarck office. Hunters can send the permit fee, along with personal information, including height, weight, sex, social security number, date of birth, color of hair and eyes, and hunter education number and state issued, to Crane Permit, NDGF, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501. Resident and nonresident applications can be printed from the department web site at Hunters can also purchase their crane permit over the web site In previous years, hunters only needed to provide their name and address.

Hunters harvesting cranes east of U.S. Highway 281 are asked to bring their cranes to game and fish district offices in Jamestown or Devils Lake for weighing, measuring and cleaning. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel at the Devils Lake Wetland Management Office and Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge are also equipped to measure cranes.

Game and fish district offices are open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On weekends, biologists and game wardens will be checking hunters and cranes in the field.

Hunters are asked to not clean the birds before measurement to ensure accurate weight and sex. This information will help game and fish monitor harvest of sandhill crane subspecies east of Highway 281.

Subspecies determination can only be made with the bird in hand using internal and external measurements. Several subspecies of cranes migrate through North Dakota each year. Numbers are closely monitored each spring through aerial surveys in Nebraska.

This is the final year of the three-year experimental crane hunting season east of Highway 281.




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