Species Illegal to Hunt

Valid Sep. 1, 2018 through Aug. 31, 2019.

Many light waterbirds look alike. Federal and state fines and jail time can apply if you shoot at these birds.
(Illustrations not to scale)

Whooping Crane

Whooping Cranes are endangered. Do not confuse them for Sandhill cranes. Be sure before you shoot.

  • Endangered species.
  • Whooping Cranes stand nearly 5 feet tall.
  • They will be the tallest bird you see.
  • Adult birds have bodies that are pure white except for a red patch on the head and a black “mustache.”
  • Juvenile birds will have rusty feathers with the white.
  • Wingtips (primary feathers) are black, black does not extend all the way along the wing edge to the body.
  • Wingspan is 7.5 feet.
  • Fly with long necks and long legs fully extended.
  • Wingbeats are slow and steady.
  • Flocks of 2 to 7.
  • Sometimes migrate with sandhill cranes.



  • All white.
  • Necks long, extended straight forward in flight.
  • Wingspan more than 6 feet.
  • Short legs, do not extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Flocks of 2 to 10.

White Ibis


  • White with black only on tips of wings.
  • Necks long; slender bill is curved down.
  • Wingspan: 3 feet.
  • Legs extend slightly beyond tail in flight.
  • Fly by flapping and gliding.
  • Found in groups up to about 30.

Great Blue Heron


  • Stands four feet tall.
  • Dark grayish blue.
  • Wingspan of nearly six feet.
  • Necks long, typically folded in flight (extends neck near take-off and landing).
  • Slow wingbeat.
  • Typically found singly or in pairs.

Wood Stork


  • White, with black tail and black along entire edge of wings.
  • Neck long, extended straight, bare and dark near head
  • Heavy bill curved down.
  • Wingspan: 5.5 feet.
  • Long legs extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Flaps slowly, glides and soars.
  • Found singly or in groups of fewer than 10.

White Pelican


  • Protected non-game species.
  • White wings with black edgings extending almost to body.
  • Necks long, folded  in flight.
  • Wingspan: 8 feet.
  • Short legs, do not extend beyond tail in flight.
  • Long, yellow bill. Often in flocks of 20 or more.

Great Egret


  • Protected non-game species.
  • An all-white heron with 4.5 foot wingspan and bright yellow beak.
  • In flight, the neck is not extended but their black legs extend beyond the tail.
  • Slightly smaller than sandhill cranes when standing.

Double Crested Cormorant


  • Protected non-game species.
  • Goose-sized with slender body, long neck.
  • Slender, hooked bill that is usually tilted up while swimming.
  • Orange throat patch.
  • Dark, nearly totally black body.
  • More rapid wing beat and longer tail than geese.