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For the experienced hunter, what is the best way to hunt these eagle eyed high flyers? I have never actually set out just for cranes, have never shot a crane(do they taste good?), nor do I have any idea how to hunt them. I am thinking I might expand my horizons this year and try a little crane hunting.
 

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Guys, we'll have to hook up for a crane hunt this fall because I'm dying to shoot one too! I can get some homemade silhouettes and some northwinds but from what I've heard about their vision we might just be better off pass shooting. I know outlaw makes silhouettes for them and carry-lite makes a full body (that you buy in singles for some reason???). Both are too expensive for me, especially for something I'd hunt maybe once or twice a year. I read an article not too long ago about a guide service in TX that goes for cranes among other things. They use stuffers and I guess cranes will just dive bomb those...then again pretty much anything will probably dive bomb a stuffer.:wink:
 

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On 2002-03-06 12:59, muskat wrote:
For the experienced hunter, what is the best way to hunt these eagle eyed high flyers? I have never actually set out just for cranes, have never shot a crane(do they taste good?), nor do I have any idea how to hunt them. I am thinking I might expand my horizons this year and try a little crane hunting.
Muskat The best advice I could give you to hunt htem like dark geese. Scout them try to get permission then deek um. You dont need a lot of decoys. Like any decoying the better the decoys generally the better you do. I have only 4 of the full body carrylites(confidence decoys for dark spread) I have a buddy with 1 doz outlaws and a few air socks the whole spread is less than 20. Its location that counts. they do decoy quite nicely. If I did more of it Iwould by a call. You can do quite well with tg half breed or short mag. Their eyesight is better than any bird I have ever hunted even turkey. YOU CAN NOT MOVE PERIOD. Your camo must be very good. Use the wind. Man when they come gliding into the deeks its as much fun as giants. Do not underestimate their speed . They look slow it is easy to shoot behind them. Shoot fast BBB or BB . do not take take your dog or you may have to rename him popeye. good luck
 

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One big problem with hunting cranes, once you shoot them over decoys you probably will not want to hunt anything else. I am a former resident who has hunted crane since I was 16 (now I am 34 yikes!).

As far as decoying, their eyesight is excellent, so you have to use great cover and wear a facemask. They come in waves of 3 to 20, so you have ample opportunity to get plenty of action.

The group I hunt with uses Texas rags and we supplement with 3 dozen Canada geese silouettes. In the past 10 years, we have only been skunked two or three times. The biggest bonus about hunting cranes is you get more than enough opportunity to shoot bonus ducks and geese. They love to feed adjacent to the long-legged birds, because of the security they provide.

If you do get the opportunity to hunt cranes, bring plenty of shells and then bring plenty more. Most birds will take a heavy pattern to bring down. And let me tell you, watch out if you wound one of these pre-historic critters. They are absolutey ferocious on the ground as the males can stand as tall as five feet and weigh around 20 pounds.
 

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You need a seperate permit,but they are free.
 

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I'm with bioman there is nothing more fun then hunting cranes. They come at you with that slow wing beat like there just hanging there. The nice thing is with the early goose season you can hunt both at the same time in Sep.
 

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I had my first crane hunt last fall in Manitoba. I spotted a bunch feeding in a field and then I learned where they were roosting. It wasnt normal to see them up there in early Oct so I figured I better get at them quick as the next favorable wind might take them south. The next evening I waded into the slough were they were roosting, half guessing the exact spot(you know how it can be, glassing a slough from the truck vs getting out in the middle of it all). I found the spot they were using by the windrow of feathers that I assumed came off those cranes in a smallish pool way back in that slough. Then I just hunkered down in the cattails in a spot I figured would be in thier flight path, considering the wind and how I saw them fly the night before. I had no decoys, just me against the cranes. Now in Manitoba you can hunt until 30 min after sunset, and wouldnt you know after the sun went down the full moon came up in the east, a perfect harvest moon , orange and big with a purple sky for a backdrop, one of those moonrises you can almost hear! Then my cranes could be heard in the distance. I had been passing up mallards and a few odd ducks because I was there to hunt crane and here they came. The first bunch of 3 didnt work my spot quite like I planned so I moved about 20 yards and hunkered back down as another group of cranes were heading towards me. This bunch worked in just right and I came up firing. Well what could be better then a triple on cranes? Thats what I did boys, 3 for 3 and the limit was 5, more cranes were coming and I had maybe 2 minutes legal time left so what do you think I did? I just watched the next bunch coast in with my gun slung on my shoulder, admired the cranes on my strap and said 3 was enough especially considering how heavy they were and how far I was going to have to carry them!
 

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I scout them out & figure where they roost & feed. I'll set up in a field they're using(usally dozen or two field dekes set up in smaller groups. I'll hide 100 + yards from my dekes towards the roost in the best possible cover(rockpiles, fence lines, hatstacks etc.)

they're not real high flyers...windy days are the best... they can be predictable as far as flying through draws/low spots

I'll try to trill through a goose call.

Goose season I'll set out a group of crane dekes 75 yds downwind of the goose spread I'm in.
 

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I am going to ND on a duck hunt during the second week of October. I have a sandhill permit and I drew a Swan tag. Does anyone have any additional tips on crane hunting or swan hunting. Anything would be appriciated. I will be hunting near Bisbee.

Thanks in advance.

Charlie
 

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I'm from and hunt in Eastern MN, and just this year have been noticing a lot of Sandhill cranes in my neck of the woods. The last three weeks there have been at least 1000+ sandhills flying I would say that the population has grown close to 1500-2000 in the last week and half, VERY strange for around here... Seems that the sandhills fly first, then the geese are right behind them.. Really weird for this part of the state.. I've been really tempted to throw some steel at them, but they always seem to flare just out of range.. They seem to have really good eye sight..

Keepn it reeeel
madison
 

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Sandhill cranes are relatively common along the eastern side of Minnesota. In the spring I see and hear crane all over the place when scouting for turkey. In the fall I hear and see a lot of birds a few miles west of the St. Croix river. Area between Siren and Gransburg, WI is often full of crane too. I believe they actually nest in Carlos Avery GMA and other marshy areas from Rush City to Hinkley and over to Siren.

Agree though that seeing 2000 cranes in one area of MN is pretty rare.
 

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PH-

Thats cool your familiar with that area, I'm from Pine city.. I frequent the grantsburg, Danbury and Yellow lake areas quite a bit in the fall and winter....

Tip: If your ever in Webster, WI make sure you stop in at Rocky Raccoons, great entertainment!! and bring your miners hat :eek: :p

Keepn it reeel
madison
 

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If you have a dog, don't bring him crane hunting. If you cripple a crane, that crane will be looking to protect himself. His weapon is his beak. An eye can easily be knocked out by that sharp thing. A man down in South Texas shot down a crane, got to it and it was still alive so he picked it up, craddled it under his arm. The bird reared back and struck the guy through the eye killing him. Another thing, if a pair or more cranes comes in and you bust one down, don't be suprised if his counterparts circle or land where there buddy went down. Reload and have at 'em. They are a blast. I'm not sure if you can use lead on cranes up there but here in Texas we can use it, as long as you're not hunting and type of waterfowl at the same time.
 

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I know I shouldn't do it, but I always bring my dogs. Gotta really keep them steady, though. 2 of my dogs have been in crane fights, the cranes won both times. Luckily, the dogs just had their ears cut up a bit. Pretty scary.
 

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Just finished a week of crane hunting in West Texas. We were hunting about 30 miles north and west of Big Spring. We hunted a sandy cut stubble field. We used a dozen Outlaw silhouettes and two dozen tire decoys. The tire decoys are some we made ourselves last year. They are one-third of a tire, spray painted on the outside in a gray/brown/rust crane pattern. They mount on 3/8" rebar supports made in the shape of an "r" with the vertical bar about 3" higher than the horizontal bend. They are heavy, but we drop them off at the site from the truck. These are great high wind decoys, but were also effective with the Outlaws in no wind conditions. We routinely hunt in 20-25 mph winds out there.
We hunted from pits we dug in the fields and used tumbleweeds for cover. We hunted 4 different days with from 3 to 7 hunters each time.
Limited all but one day, and that one was due to our shooting errors and having to leave early for Thanksgiving dinner! Crane hunting is addicting, so be careful!
 

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birdband01 You can shoot lead at crane? Does anyone else have any information or knowledge of states that allow you to use lead for crane hunting?

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