View Full Version : Sandhills...

August 26, 2009, 08:53 AM
Any one ever hunt the Sandhill Crane? I hear they are called "the ribeye of the sky" for their beef looking meat. But what I want to know is what they actually taste like... And don't no one try to say they taste like chicken...:barf::D

August 26, 2009, 08:57 AM
They taste awful and smell when you cook em IME. I've heard the ribeye in the sky before but that wasn't my experience at all!

August 26, 2009, 08:59 AM
I've shot them here in Texas. They're very good breasted out and BBQ'd.

Dave P
August 26, 2009, 09:36 AM
Brent, I dont think you can hunt them???

" Florida's sandhill cranes are a threatened species" http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/education/interactive/springscoast/sandhillcranes.shtml

Uncle Buck
August 26, 2009, 10:07 AM
Now I have been told by the old boy down the road a ways that they taste like Owls and Chicken Hawks...

August 26, 2009, 11:48 AM
I heard they tasted more like a cross between a bald eagle and a manatee. Real expensive meat though. Few thousand dollar fine, quite some time in jail. Adds up.

Evan Thomas
August 26, 2009, 03:54 PM
According to the USGS (http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/cranes/gruscana.htm), it's legal to hunt them in some states and provinces, not in others:

Legal and Cultural Protection

In Canada and the United States, the hunting of Sandhill Cranes is regulated under the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916. Hunting was prohibited until increased interest in Sandhill Cranes as game animals led to the opening of hunting seasons in Canada in 1959 and in the United States in 1961 (Central Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Technical Committee 1993). The species has been legally hunted in Mexico since at least 1940. In the U.S., Sandhill Cranes are now legally hunted in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. In Canada, Sandhill Cranes are hunted in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In Mexico, hunting is permitted in nine northern and central states (Tacha et al. 1994).

Both the Cuban and Mississippi Sandhill Crane are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The Florida Sandhill Crane is listed as a threatened species by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. In Mississippi the Mississippi Sandhill Crane is listed as endangered and is protected under the state’s Nongame and Endangered Species Act of 1974 (USFWS 1991). The Cuban Sandhill Crane is listed as Endangered in Cuba.

So, no huntee cranee in Florida...

The three protected subspecies are all non-migratory.

I don't think I'd hunt them, m'self.

They're spectacular birds... They nest at a refuge not far from me, and it's worth the trip to watch them fly in, hear them calling... We came around a bend once, and one was crossing the road about 100 feet away. Wow.

August 26, 2009, 04:35 PM
Horseman, did you drive out west to the observation area and plug a couple of them ugly, foul smelling, stupid, bring-the-tree-huggers-to Nebraska birds?

I have always wanted to go out there with a blind and just kill a bunch in front of those lousy birdwatchers.

I have always heard sirloin of the sky and ducks and geese were sky carp, and I have to admit I'd rather eat the carp but I have no idea on the sandhills crane.

August 26, 2009, 04:58 PM
they taste like a cross between venison and dove. The flavor is very mild, if you slow cook and put it over rice with gravy it is great. The texture is about like what I would imagine ostrich or emu to be. Not that I've ever had it here in FL.

August 26, 2009, 07:15 PM
Horseman, did you drive out west to the observation area and plug a couple of them ugly, foul smelling, stupid, bring-the-tree-huggers-to Nebraska birds?

LOL "bring the tree huggers" is right. I didn't shoot one in Nebraska. It's not legal here. I've been out to western NE goosehunting and seen the sandhills by the thousands though. Quite a sight.

August 27, 2009, 02:05 AM
We use to have a deer lease that was right in between where they would roost every night and where they would feed during the day. Every morning and every after noon you would see literally thousands of them fly over. I shot several of them, but never could bring myself to eat them. One of the guys at the lease apparently loved them and would take them. It seems to be a real dark meat, but I can't say I ever tried it.

srt 10 jimbo
August 27, 2009, 09:28 AM
You shoot a Sandhill down here and they will put ya In Jail and throw away the key.

August 27, 2009, 03:43 PM
I was pretty sure off limits in Fla. but I wondered if they tasted like beef or just had dark red meat like beef.

August 27, 2009, 05:36 PM
They have a season here in Wyoming, I have never had a desire to shoot one.

August 28, 2009, 07:33 PM
I've tried to hunt them off and on for the last 5 years or so. I see them in fields all over the place. Sometimes dozens of them. Just never in any field where I can hunt, and if they are, there is no way to get to them. I really don't care to kill one too much anymore, but given the chance, I will, just because it's been a goal of mine. Once I shoot one, I probably won't do it again. An acquaintance of mine is a goose hunting guide, and says they taste great.

August 29, 2009, 09:28 AM
Once on a duck hunt here in TX we had several groups of 2-3 birds come within range. After not seeing very many ducks we decided to take a few cranes. Felt like shooting a pterodactyl.
We breasted them out and each took a share home to cook up and then compare methods. Conclusion: Tasted bad to everyone. Never going to shoot one again.

August 29, 2009, 09:32 AM
there is almost a cult following when they migrate through. Try to get a hotel reservation in Kearney Nebraska during the migration. They are NOT shot unless you use a camera.

August 29, 2009, 11:20 PM
I live near Kearney Ne. I'v never killed or eaten crane, but I have heard old timers talk about eating them during the dirty 30s. Some say they were good and others say fishy. All I know is there is alot of them and shooting them would be as sporting as shooting fish in a barrel.

August 30, 2009, 02:30 AM
They suck. :barf: Even very few of the natives will touch them these days.

August 30, 2009, 07:27 PM
Are they related to the Cow birds :barf:

August 30, 2009, 07:50 PM
Sandhills are the huge car wreckers on the west cost... They are like 3 feet plus in height... You are thinking of the little "cattle egret"...

August 30, 2009, 09:57 PM
I think (much like everything else) the flavor depends on what they are eating and how old/tough they are... Just speculation though. We have quite a few around here but I haven't tried very hard to get one; not sayin' I haven't tried, just haven't tried very hard.

September 3, 2009, 12:40 PM
I want to hunt them one day; it would make an awesome mount! I think there are vids on youtube of legal crane hunts...

September 6, 2009, 06:51 PM
We've shot them. Very keen eyesight. The outfitter on our hunt used "stuffers" for decoys - real birds taxidermied. All I can say is they were very effective.

srt 10 jimbo
September 9, 2009, 12:48 PM
My Moms got 4 of them that hang around her house up In Port St. Lucie Fl. she feeds them bread all the time and when they are hungry they beat on her front door with there bills.:)

September 10, 2009, 03:34 PM
One of several videos on youtube...