Sandhill crane regulations now available online

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department has posted the 2017 Arizona Sandhill Crane Regulations online at https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Regulations/. [Sandhill Crane regulations PDF]

The deadline for the department to receive applications for sandhill crane hunt permit-tags is Aug. 25, 2017. No applications will be accepted after this date, regardless of postmark. All applicants must use hunt permit-tag application forms.

Applications will be accepted — by mail only — at the following addresses: P.O. Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ, 85087-1052; or 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ, 85086-5000. These applications cannot be hand-delivered to any department office. All hunt permit-tags will be mailed by Sept. 11, 2017.

The hunt permit-tag fee is $43 for Arizona residents, $45 for non-residents (each successful applicant will receive three hunt permit-tags). In order to participate in the random draw, an applicant must have or apply for a valid hunting license. If an applicant is not licensed at the time of application, he or she must purchase a license by completing the license form section and include payment with the application.

The first of 10 three-day seasons begins Nov. 17, the latest starts Dec. 11. A three-day, youth-only season begins Dec. 8. The bag and possession limit is three sandhill cranes per calendar year.

For more information, call (602) 942-3000.

Leftover permit-tags available for 2016 sandhill crane hunts

sandhillcrane-huntPHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting applications for leftover hunt permit-tags for the 2016 sandhill crane season.

A list of the 96 leftover hunt permit-tags, including 13 for youth hunters, is available online (PDF) at https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw. Applications are being accepted — by mail only – on a first-come, first-served basis – at the following address: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Draw/First Come, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086.

The hunt permit-tag fee is $43 for Arizona residents, $45 for non-residents (each successful applicant will receive three hunt permit-tags). A valid Arizona hunting license is needed to apply. If an applicant is not licensed at the time of application, he or she must purchase a license by completing the license form section and include payment with the application.

The 2016 Arizona Sandhill Crane Regulations are posted online at https://portal.azgfd.stagingaz.gov/PortalImages/files/regs/craneregs.pdf. For more information, call (602) 942-3000.

About sandhill cranes

sandhillcrane2Worldwide there are 15 species of cranes scattered across the globe. Most of these are found in Africa, Europe and Asia, and many are either threatened or endangered due to a variety of reasons with habitat loss being chief among them.

Two species of cranes are found in North America, the endangered whooping crane and sandhill cranes, which is the most abundant crane species on the planet.

Cranes of all species sport long necks, beaks and legs with short tails that are not visible when the wings are closed. Sandhill cranes are predominantly grey with fleshy red caps on their heads. The largest subspecies can stand nearly 4-feet tall and sandhill cranes are long-lived and mate for life.

They are wary birds that shy away from areas of dense vegetation that may conceal predators. Cranes prefer to feed and roost in open areas where potential danger can be seen from a distance. Wintering sandhill cranes often feed on agricultural grain crops but may also frequent open desert and fallow fields.

The sandhill crane live stream is supported by the Wildlife Conservation Fund, which comes from tribal gaming and the Wildlife Viewing Program. You can find out more about wildlife viewing and upcoming public wildlife viewing activities at www.azgfd.com/Wildlife/Viewing.

Arizona Game and Fish’s sandhill crane cam now streaming

crane-camSandhill cranes have returned to southeastern Arizona and the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s live-streaming camera is again trained on their wintering grounds at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area.

“Now is the perfect time to watch these magnificent birds as they winter in Arizona,” said Randy Babb, watchable wildlife program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “This live-steaming camera allows the public to have an unfiltered view of our state’s wildlife. It also allows the department to connect the public with wildlife.”

The live stream is one of two in the country that offers viewers a glimpse into crane wintering habits. Each year, sandhill cranes coming as far away as Siberia travel thousands of miles to winter in southern Arizona.

Streaming sandhill cranes
The best time to view the birds is a half-hour before and up to a half-hour after sunrise, just before they leave the roost to feed for the morning. Cranes also return to Whitewater Draw sometime in the late morning, generally before noon and remain at the wildlife area for the remainder of the day.

While the department will do its best to keep the camera focused on the cranes and other interesting wildlife subjects, there will be times it isn’t possible due to the unpredictability of wildlife. Viewers that don’t see activity when they try the camera are encouraged to routinely check back. This is especially true in the early winter, when the newly arrived birds are establishing a routine.

The live stream is offered from early November when cranes first start to arrive at Whitewater Draw, through March or early April when the birds leave to migrate to northern nesting grounds.

For those that find the live stream viewing fascinating, the department encourages a trip to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area for a full sensory viewing experience. The sight of up to 10,000 birds is impressive.