The Pacific and Central Flyway Management Plan for the Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) of Sandhill Cranes allows for the regulated harvest of cranes when the population index exceeds 15,000, as estimated by the average of the three most recent reliable surveys conducted on fall pre-migration staging areas. As outlined in the management plan, the most recent reliable three-year running average (2010, 2011 and 2012) was used to determine the 2013 harvest allocation. Based on the allowable harvest formula for this population, 771 sandhill cranes may be harvested from the RMP during the 2013 hunting season. In 2012, 15,417 cranes were counted in the September survey and the most recent three-year average was 17,992 cranes. The population objective is a range of 17,000 to 21,000 cranes.
Idaho’s 2013 crane harvest allocation, as directed by the Flyway Management Plan, is 137 cranes, down from 225 in 2012. This is the lowest harvest allocation since 1995. The primary reason for Idaho’s allocation decline in 2013 is that for the second consecutive year, there were reduced numbers of cranes counted during the fall 2012 survey. As a result, the overall flyway allocation declined.
There are six hunt areas in Idaho. To accommodate the reduced harvest allocation, the Department proposes the following actions:
- Decrease the number of tags available in each hunt area. See table below.
- Reduce the daily bag limit from three to two, and the season bag limit from nine to four.
- Reduce the season length in Hunt Areas 1 and 6 from 30 to 15 days.
All tags (275) will be offered on a first-come first-served basis at any vendor as per the allocation below.