FRANKFORT, Kentucky — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources says the federally protected whooping crane has been showing up in Kentucky and warns hunters the species is off-limits.
The agency says wildlife biologists have confirmed presence of five whooping cranes in Hopkins County and a sixth in Barren County.
Whooping cranes are similar in silhouette to sandhill cranes, but sandhills have gray bodies and are smaller. Whooping cranes may associate with sandhills, so the agency advises caution in hunting.
Kentucky's sandhill crane season begins Saturday and runs until Jan. 11 or until 400 sandhills have been taken. The Courier-Journal says biologists have proposed extending the length of future sandhill crane hunting seasons to 60 days but maintaining the maximum harvest.