Many people have been out in the field hunting for those elusive deer. But a Wagoner couple set out this week on a different type of hunt that many are not aware takes place in Oklahoma – a hunt for sandhill cranes.
Pamela Stephens Karnes and her husband, Russell, traveled to northwestern Oklahoma on Monday, Nov. 4 in search of the birds and enjoyed a successful harvest near the Great Salt Plains. Bryan Baker with Crane Wreckers led the hunt.
“Sandhill cranes migrate through western Oklahoma from the Northern Territories and Canada and can be a huge nuisance to wheat farmers,” Stephens Karnes explained. “Oklahoma allows them to be hunted only west of I-35.”
“We’ve been hunting them for five years, and no one knows more about waterfowl than Russell. It is so different,” she added. “Cranes are so smart! They’ll send out a scout and that scout will go back and report to the flock on the roost if it’s safe or not.”
The Wagoner hunting duo shared a blind with a family of three that drove 22 hours from Pennsylvania for the opportunity to hunt for the birds in Oklahoma.
Stephens Karnes said the limit for sandhill crane is three per person, and both Pamela and Russell successfully harvested their limits.
For those who wonder what a sandhill crane tastes like, she explained they taste much like beef. In fact, they are nicknamed as the “ribeye of the sky.”