I received a News Release from the Indiana DNR this morning and also saw a posting on Facebook, that a Hooded Crane (native to Asia) has been spotted at Indiana’s Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. Despite the DNR’s seeming acceptance of this, if not downright joy, this can’t be good news.
What the DNR calls a “wayward visitor,” I recognize as something more insidious. At best it’s another invasive species; at worst, it’s the latest ploy by anti-hunting groups to eliminate or curb legal hunting activities by American Sportsmen.
Let’s examine some facts. The hooded crane is native to Asia. Most of Asia is owned or under the control of China. Nothing good ever came from Asia. Asian carp, Asian honeysuckle, Asian elm trees, Asian lady-bug-beetles, tofu, bird flu - it’s a long list - many of them listed on noxious invasive species lists, others that should be listed. How can this Asian crane be any better? What havoc to native crane populations and wild ecosystems will this newest “alien” wreak?
The DNR release speculates the crane will migrate back to its Asian home in the spring. Want to make any bets that it will be back next winter and bring along some of its hooded crane buddies?
Right now the crane is hanging with flocks of sandhill cranes. The number of sandhill cranes in North America is huge. So huge, that there’s an effort afoot to re-establish long banned hunting seasons for sandhill cranes in more than the few western states where they are currently legal.
Who is the major opponent of legalizing crane hunting? Anti-hunters and bird watchers (who are often one and the same.)
Why is the DNR celebrating the Asian crane at Goose Pond? Because it attracts birders! News of the crane’s arrival is hardly out and already more than 100 bird enthusiasts have visited the property from as far away as Minnesota, West Virginia and Nebraska - thousands more are expected.
|Sandhill crane hunting is legal in some states.|
Since Indiana was first explored over 200 years ago, a total of zero Asian cranes have been noted in the state. Which is more likely? A) One Asian crane has boldly flown to where no other Asian crane has ever flown before; or B), the HSUS (with an annual budget larger than any state’s DNR) smuggled some hooded cranes to the US and stocked them in states considering sandhill crane seasons?