Contributors to this thread:
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?
Watched a flock of 10 land on a hillside at 9k while migrating a few falls ago. Rubbed my eyes like you did wondering if I was seeing what I was seeing.
Not all that uncommon in some areas.
Lots of 'em in Montana when I was there. Never saw them in the mountains though, just flying over or feeding in flatlands fields.
Ribeye of the sky. I would have formulated a stalk if in season and properly licensed.
Brotsky it crossed my mind but I had no idea if the season was open or if they even had a season. They really didn't seem very spooked after they saw me.
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.
They are becoming the new "Canadian geese" in the Midwest....they are everywhere now.
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.
I spotted movement on a mountainside in the Yukon and just knew I had located a band of Mountain Caribou. When I put the spotter on it, Sandhill cranes. Damn it!
One of my hunting partners voice called in a flock of them while we were duck hunting in Saskatchewan. They make a strange sound while in the air.
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.
Global warming...I mean climate change??
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.
I have seen them several years in the general area of the Flat Tops in Colorado during archery and rifle seasons. I saw them in the sky this year but not in the woods!
I was in Nebraska turkey hunting the first time I was around them. I distinctly remember the racket they made. Couldn't even hear a gobbler in the field.
We shoot a lot of them when they show up each year. Mostly pass over shooting or from a duck blind.
Hard to decoy. I been on decoy hunts where the guide used dozens of mounted sandhills
Will kill a retriever so no dogs are used
Incredibly good eating. Taste nothing like chicken. Bacon wrapped on grill - medium rare!!
Will kill a retriever so no dogs are used
??? A wounded bird I'm assuming.
Exactly. Beak to the head
I just saw on line that there are dogs down in Texas that wear “RexSpecs” goggles while retrieving cranes.... crazy !!!
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.
I could hear a few here from my tree stand last night.... They roost here all summer. You can’t hunt them here.....
I used to see them in one location I elk hunted, so I researched it and found out mountain meadows are a normal nesting area for them. Link is a Google page with maps showing their breeding ranges etc
Big Bear that’s exactly what they go for first there eyes.
In Colorado east of the divide except north park and the San Luis valley in Colorado starting oct 5
We have them thick here in Manitoba in places. Within a few miles you can see hundreds.
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.
I want to try a Sandhill on the grill, not Whooping! Thought I better clarify..
Cool! My whooper had 2 red tags and 1 green, but too far to read unfortunately.
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.
It's amazing how you can sometimes hear them, but they're so high up you can't see them without really pinpointing the specks they are in the sky.
If you've ever read Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac", you've probably seen the piece he wrote about the Sandhill crane.
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.
Yep lots of them in Wisconsin. I read somewhere once that they have the loudest call in the animal kingdom.