To buy your Sandhill Crane permit, CLICK HERE.
Sandhill cranes have been hunted in Kansas since 1993 and in the Central Flyway since 1961. Hunting is permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in nine of the 10 states in the Central Flyway. Although crane hunting is opposed by some people, crane hunting is done on a sustainable basis under a population management plan approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sport hunting also is justified for maintaining reasonable distributions of sandhill cranes. If concentrations become too high in some areas, crop depredation can occur and risk of disease to cranes increases. Crane hunting is extremely challenging because cranes are very wary and crane meat is considered excellent table fare, probably the best of all migratory game birds.
The sandhill cranes that migrate through Kansas, and sometimes winter here, are part of the Mid-continent Population. This population is one of nine in North America and by far the largest with about 500,000 birds. The next largest populations number about 20-25,000 birds.
Hunting regulations have been formulated and contingency plans utilized to minimize the chance of endangered whooping cranes being accidentally shot by sandhill crane hunters. Although sandhill cranes start concentrating in huntable numbers during late October, the start of the hunting season was delayed to the Wednesday following the first Saturday in November to allow most of the whooping cranes to migrate through the state. Shooting hours for sandhill cranes begin at sunrise rather than one-half hour before sunrise to minimize the chance of a sandhill crane hunter mistakenly shooting a whooping crane due to low light conditions. (Kansas is the only state in the Central Flyway to have delayed shooting hours to protect whooping cranes.) The federal-state, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area contingency plans provide guidance as to what actions to take if whooping cranes are present during hunting seasons.
Sandhill crane and waterfowl hunters need to be aware that whooping cranes are occurring more frequently in Kansas, especially in the Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira areas, and be able to identify whooping cranes. Whooping cranes and sandhill cranes are similar in size and shape, but whooping cranes are white with black wing tips. The penalty for shooting a whooping crane is a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to one year in prison. For more information, go to:
Online Test for Sandhill Crane Hunters - This test is mandatory for all sandhill crane hunters. The test is 378k in size and will take a few minutes to download if you have a modem. Flash 6 is required, which most computers have. If yours doesn't, then you will be asked to download Flash 6.
Whooping Crane Brochure - Information on whooping cranes and how to distinguish them from species that look similar to them.
USFWS Information for Waterfowl and Sandhill Crane Hunters - The purpose of this web site is to provide waterfowl and sandhill crane hunters with information that will reduce the likelihood of shooting illegally at migratory birds that may look like sandhill cranes, but for which there is no open season and are protected by Federal law.
All waterfowl hunters 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Waterfowl Stamp), and all hunters who are required to obtain a hunting license must also have a Kansas State Waterfowl Stamp and a Kansas Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp before hunting ducks, geese, or mergansers. (Those not required to have a Kansas hunting license include people hunting their own land, and residents 15 and younger)
NEW FOR 2016: The 48 Hour Waterfowl hunt license is no longer available for KS waterfowl hunters, it has been replaced by the Annual Hunt License.
Annual Hunting License - All resident hunters age 16 through 74 must have a resident hunting license unless exempt by Kansas Law. Nonresident hunters, regardless of age, must have a nonresident hunting license. Annual hunting licenses can be purchased online by clicking here or through all licensed agents, or Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism offices.
Waterfowl Stamps and Licence - All Waterfowl stamps and licenses can be bought at any licensed Agent , Pratt Operations Office , or online, EXCEPT for the Federal Waterfowl Stamp which is bought at a US Post Office, KDWPT Regional and Park Offices, and select license agents. All Waterfowl stamps are good through season.
- Kansas HIP Stamp: $2.50
- State Waterfowl Stamp: $10
- Federal Waterfowl Stamp: $26.50 - Purchased at any KDWP office or at any US Post Office.
State stamps are available at any licensed agent, online , Pratt Operations Office or Regional office. Federal stamps are available at a US Post Office, Pratt Operations Office or Regional office . Federal stamps must be signed across the face of the stamp.
Waterfowl stamps are not required to hunt Coot, Dove, Rail, Snipe, Woodcock, or Sandhill Crane. HIP is required.
If hunting Sandhill Crane, in addition to a hunting license ( if required), a federal sandhill crane hunting permit issued through and validated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is required to hunt cranes. Crane permits obtained in other states are not valid in Kansas. The validated permit ($7.50 validation fee) is available at any licensed agent , online , Pratt Operations Office , or Regional office .
All Kansas sandhill crane hunters must pass the "Test for Sandhill Crane Hunters" before obtaining a sandhill crane hunting permit.
"Online Test for Sandhill Crane Hunters." Click this link to take an online test that provides information about identifying whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, and look-alike species, as well as the hunter’s ability to choose safe shots. The test is both entertaining and informative and only takes a few minutes.
Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program - Requirements, Exemptions.
Sandhill Crane - Management Unit, Hunting Season, Shooting Hours, and Bag and Possession Limits
Doves - Management Unit, Hunting Season, Shooting Hours, and Bag and Possession Limits
Retrieval and possession of game animals and migratory game birds - Requirements
Whooping Crane Brochure - Information on whooping cranes and how to distinguish them from species that are similar in appearance.