Texas Hunters Advised How To Get Sandhill Crane Permits

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas sandhill crane hunters are being advised to visit one of 30 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement (game warden) offices spread across the state to obtain a free permit, or obtain a permit online or by phone, since private hunting license retailers no longer provide the permit this year.

A federal sandhill crane hunting permit is required to hunt sandhill cranes, and failure to have the permit can result in a citation and fine. The permit is available at no cost. It is important, since it helps wildlife managers estimate hunting pressure and decide how to set sandhill crane hunting seasons and bag limits.

For the 2009-2010 season, private license retailers no longer provide sandhill crane permits. This is because it became obvious to game bird program managers at the state and federal levels over the last several years that many retailers were indiscriminately providing the permits to many hunters, regardless of whether they hunt sandhills, thus rendering permit data useless for wildlife management purposes.

"Last year, close to 125,000 sandhill crane permits were issued in Texas, and before we went to the electronic license sales system in the 1990s we use to issue about 12,000 paper sandhill permits per year," said Vernon Bevill, TPWD small game and habitat assessment program director. "It is highly unlikely the number of crane hunters has increased that much."

"We try to keep tight estimates on crane populations and harvest and this requires a good estimate of hunter numbers," Beville explained. "The U. S Fish and.Wildlife Service surveys sandhill crane hunters each year, and they asked Texas to tighten up its method is distributing crane permits so they can obtain more accurate harvest estimates."

This season, hunters can obtain the free sandhill crane permit at TPWD law enforcement offices located in Abilene, Amarillo, Austin (headquarters) Beaumont, Brownsville, Brownwood, College Station, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Freeport, Garland, SHouston (two locations, north and south), Kerrville, LaMarque, Laredo, Lubbock, Lufkin, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Rockport, Rusk, San Angelo, San, Antonio, Temple, Tyler, Victoria, Waco, and Wichita Falls. See a complete list of offices with addresses and phone numbers on the department’s Law Enforcement Offices Web page .

Hunters can also obtain sandhill crane permits online, and the permit is still free, but online transactions charge a $5 convenience fee covering shipping and handling. Hunters can bundle multiple license purchases into a single online transaction and still pay only one $5 fee.

Or, hunters can also obtain sandhill crane permits by phone at (800) TX LIC 4 U (800-895-4248). License phone center hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, closed Saturday, Sunday and most holidays. Each phone transaction also charges a $5 convenience fee.

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