If you and your friends are looking for the hunt of a lifetime then you have to experience hunting Sandhill cranes. Many southern states offer crane hunting but the best is in the Texas panhandle. Only parts of the states like Texas and Kansas will allow hunting crane so be sure to check. Sandhill crane also referred to as the ribeye in the sky is one of the funnest type of birding to experience.
The first thing you will need is a Federal Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit. It is required to hunt Sandhill Cranes, in addition to a valid state hunting license. Hunting crane is similar to hunting geese in a field. So I would use a 12 gauge shotgun with a full choke or a high flyer choke, but you can use a 20 gauge too. You will need to buy the right load, I would go with the 3 or 3 1/2 inch shell.
Camo is a must because they can see very well and they can pick up on the whites of your eyes so keep them covered until you hear the word shoot. Most outfitters will set you up in a crop field either in blinds that are pop-ups or pre-dug holes into the ground.
As they approach they sound like they are right on top of you but will be more than 50 yard out still. As they start to come in they look like pterodactyls and fall to the ground with a very loud thunk when shot. You can limit out in no time so I would go with the combo crane and goose hunt if you can. Cooking these babies is easy too! Just crank up the grill and all you have to add is a little salt and pepper. Now get out there and make some great hunting memories with friends.
Article by DIVA Member Beth Hester