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)
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 KDWPT 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.
Doves - Management Unit, Hunting Season, Shooting Hours, and Bag and Possession Limits
Sandhill Crane - Management Unit, Hunting Season, Shooting Hours, and Bag and Possession Limits
Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program - Requirements, Exemptions.
Retrieval and possession of game animals and migratory game birds - Requirements
To purchase your HIP Stamp online, CLICK HERE.
Migratory Game Bird Hunters – Why is it important to be “HIP”?
If you hunt doves, ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, coots, snipe, rail, or woodcock, you are required to participate in Harvest Information Program (HIP).
What is HIP?
Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a method by which state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) use to provide reliable estimates of the number of migratory game bird hunters, hunter activity and migratory game bird harvest. These estimates provide information needed to make sound decisions concerning hunting seasons, bag limits, and population management. HIP has been a federal requirement of those hunting migratory game birds since 1998.
Who needs to be HIP?
HIP, incorrectly, has become associated more closely with waterfowl hunters. HIP applies to all those who hunt any species of migratory game birds. This would include not only ducks and geese but also doves, woodcock, rails, snipe, sandhill cranes, moorhens, band-tailed pigeons, swans, brant, coots and gallinules, for which there is a set hunting season. If you are required to buy a Kansas hunting license and plan to hunt any migratory game birds in Kansas, you are required to acquire a Kansas Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit. Even if you hold a lifetime license, you still are required to acquire a HIP permit. Exemptions from HIP include those not required to have a Kansas hunting license such as people hunting their own land and residents 15 and younger and 75 and older. It is the hunter responsibility to fulfill their HIP requirement. Proof of HIP must be carried with the hunter in the field, and, like a hunting or fishing license, must be presented to a wildlife officer upon their request. Hunting migratory birds without HIP certification is like hunting without a license—you could be ticketed or fined. You must be HIP certified for each state for which you hunt migratory game birds. The HIP certification process varies from state to state. Please confer with your local wildlife agency regarding HIP in their state.
How does HIP work?
When you purchase your Kansas HIP permit, you first are identifying yourself as migratory game bird hunter. Secondly, the licensing vendor will ask you a series of short questions relating to your hunting experience during last year's season. These questions place you in a sampling stratum from which the USFWS selects small sample to complete a more detailed survey about this year’s upcoming hunting season. These short questions that you are asked about last year’s hunting experience when you become HIP-certified are not part of the survey, and are not used to compile harvest estimates, but are simply used to identify what types of birds you usually hunt. This allows the USFWS to target its surveys to the appropriate hunters. For example, most surveys about dove harvest are sent to hunters who usually hunt doves, while most waterfowl harvest surveys are sent to hunters who usually hunt ducks and/or geese. If you only hunt ducks and geese – no snipe or rails, no moorhens or gallinules – why is it that I have to answer questions about those species? The USFWS needs to be able to contact people who hunt various birds. This narrows the field and allows the USFWS to ask more detailed questions about what was harvested.
If your name is one of the few selected for the national harvest survey, you will receive a personal letter and a hunting record form and will be asked to voluntarily keep a record of the number of migratory birds you harvest during the season. You will be given an addressed, postage-paid envelope to return your hunting form at the end of the season. This survey provides the information used to develop nationwide harvest estimates for all migratory birds. A few select participants are asked to send in wings of migratory game birds they harvest to help determine species, age, sex, and other important harvest data. All HIP responses are kept strictly confidential and are not used for any other purpose. As soon as the survey is completed, the USFWS destroys all hunter names and address records.
As HIP information is gathered at the time a hunting license is purchased whether at a store or online. At the license counter, the license agent should ask the HIP questions as part of the licensing process; if they do not inquire, you should remind them of HIP’s requirement. Kansas charges a small fee to cover administrative costs. KDWPT or USFWS receives no income from this program. HIP is strictly to gather information and is not a means of raising money for conservation programs.
What do hunters gain from HIP?
An understandable question is ‘What does HIP mean to me, as an individual asked to participate in this annual series of inquiries?’ The vast majority of hunters who participate are doing so because they know it’s important and understand why it’s important as hunters. Hunters are not just people answering a survey but are partners in data collection that directly affects hunting opportunities. As the threats and concerns for migratory bird populations continue to mount, it is essential to gather the best information possible about the factors affecting these populations. It is in the hunter's best interest to have wildlife management decisions based on scientific evidence, not on opinions, philosophies, or politics. It only takes a few moments to give wildlife managers the information they need to ensure that our migratory bird resources--and hunting tradition--will be around for future generations to enjoy.
To Purchase Your Kansas HIP Permit Online: https://license.gooutdoorskansas.com
For More Information
USFWS Harvest and Hunter Survey Annual Reports: https://www.fws.gov/birds/surveys-and-data/reports-and-publications/hunting-activity-and-harvest.php
Explore Harvest Data visualization for your region: https://fws.gov/harvestsurvey/harvest-vis
Central Flyway Council: https://centralflyway.org/management/harvest-surveys/
Whooping Crane Brochure - Information on whooping cranes and how to distinguish them from species that are similar in appearance.