Elk hunting in heavy timber about 8,500 feet I thought I was seeing things. It was about seven sandhill cranes walking through the woods. I either saw the same group or different one a few days later. Google says they will go in the woods but I was really blown away seeing these things walking through the mountain. Is it just me being new to the mountains or did I see something uncommon?
I had a few strange encounters with sandhills this year also. They were going through the woods with their wings out walking in circles. I saw them several times this year doing that. I was pretty close and they didnt spook. First time I had ever seen that.
Ive had cam pics of them in the woods before ..they go in looking for small rodents, frogs, salamanders, snakes, etc. is what a State biologist told me .... they pass thru Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife area by the tens of thousands every fall, in AM/PM flights, they are so loud, you cant hear a deer walking in the dry leaves under you ... BTW, no hunting them here either
FYI, in Colorado, Sandhill cranes can only be hunted east of the Continental Divide from Oct. 5 - Dec. 1. Bag limit is 3 and 9 in possession. A small game license and a federal HIP permit number is required.
So, it may be a worthwhile permit to have, if you hunt eastern plains deer in CO, but not during elk season.
They are ever present around my cabin, which is on the edge of the meadow leading directly up the mountain behind. I love these birds, their vocal range and number of possible sounds is amazing, and loud. The mating dance is a spectacle to watch, way cool as good as the eagles in flight ritual. They will be out in the dense timber frequently. The cabin is at 4K ft elevation so not as extreme as the OP, but they will live mate and raise young right there at the cabin, in the meadow most of the time, but frequently making odd sounds from the deep timber.
When I was younger a buddy of mine dad owned a bar. We took the broken pool sticks and tied gummy sacks filled with straw tied them half way up the sticks made great decoys they are a blast to hunt when they hit the ground you know it.
They migrate thru my area every October. Their arrival is always a reminder that colder weather is right around the corner. I'm usually too busy hunting mulies to hunt them. They are a very unique and noisy bird. I've never eaten one, but I've heard they are delicious.
GG, its the opposite in the spring when they are going overhead in late March/April on south winds, you know warmer weather is coming ... you can hear their calls, and usually the flock is waaaay up there circling, heading north ....
I've seen them in the woods in Wyoming at 8K feet and at 20 feet in the sloughs up hear near Kotzebue. I've gone after them in spring while duck hunting up here after seeing them from the boat and never been able to get a shot. When they fly around up here, they're generally just out of shot range.
Just spent 8 days in the Thorofare wilderness area of Wyoming and heard some Sandhill cranes one day. Later that same day while riding back to camp in the evening jumped three just off the trail. Watched them make a big circle and land back where they started at around 8,000 feet elevation. They sure are loud especially when you are close.
Up to 50,000 at peak time (which is now until the snow flies) here in Crex Meadows near Grantsburg Wisconsin. They have a very prehistoric sound to them that can't be mistaken for anything else on earth! Actually got lucky the other night and spotted my first ever Whooping Crane mixed in with them...one of only 102 east of the Mississippi, and only 500 or so in all of NA, so says Google...so VERY RARE indeed! Anyway, hoping we get a season here one day so I can see what they taste like.
yea, Ive seen Whoopers mixed in with the Sandhills here before ... they are even a larger Crane ... neat bird to see ... a buddy of mine got pics of a leg tag and sent it to a Whooper research group, they sent him back info on the bird.. really cool ....
I hear and see them fly over every year while hunting. I hunt between 7500 and 8500 feet. It usually takes awhile to find them in the sky once you hear them. They fly very high and are small v shapes, with each individual looking like a small pencil dot in the sky. Very cool to hear.
Heard the Sandhills.... a couple of owls..... and a flock of turkeys tonight while on stand. The turkeys start making a racket cutting and purring before flying up to their roost and I can hear their wingbeats flying up one by one....... Oh,,, And I saw a few deer too. My new house is near an Audubon preserve that has roosting cranes. I see them flying just above the treetops of my house headed for the preserve frequently. We even have a “Sandhill Crane” winery down the road a bit..... that the wife likes to visit..... Ha !!
The migrating cranes that you guys see down there in Indiana JTV are the same ones that migrate through here. The most counted in our preserve was over 8,000 in November of 2010.....(The Audubon Preserve is only 1,000 acres). I think only about 20 birds actually roost on the sanctuary property all summer but you can see them in farm fields for 10-15 miles from here regularly throughout the summer.
Had a sand hill walk up on me one spring while turkey hunting. I thought it was a silent tom, kept calling waiting for him to appear. Then the crane called about 10 yds away. I about jumped out of my skin.
Their little ones are about the weirdest chick out there.
Whooping cranes taste very similar to spotted owls...
An old rancher pointed out some sandhills to me once on his high mountain pasture and said, "Now don't you tell anybody about 'em because next thing we'll have a bunch of them city people up here a wantin' to watch them cranes have sex".
I've seen sand hill cranes around 8,000 ft in Montana many times over the years. However, they have been in meadows, not walking through the forest. They do seem to be a lot more common in the last few years though.