If I'm not mistaken, they created a hunting season for them here in Kentucky a couple of years ago. I have no idea how or where one would go to hunt them. Say they're tasty huh? Just the breast, like a turkey, or the whole bird? I'm actually one that eats the whole turkey, but many just remove the breast around here.
Sandhill Pot Pie.........well, I can't say I don't like it, but it doesn't quite have the ring as Turkey Pot Pie. Sandhill and dumplings........?
Now you've got me wondering , how DO you hunt one? Can you "call it in" like a duck or a turkey bird, or do you aim for the head with a 22 magnum rifle?
We get migraters here in Indiana. There are getting quite a few residents too. Probably figured out there was no need to go way up north. No season though and since they haved a few whoopers tagging along probably never will be. I would guess you hunt where they feed or pass shoot near where they fly to and from roost.
If I was hungry and had no food I would kill and eat one. As far as hunting them there is no sport in that around here. They are not afraid of us and those two there were standing by my truck 15 feet from my deck. Hell I could have killed them with a pellet gun or maybe even a stick.
I only saw Sand Hill cranes but once in my life, and that was in Kentucky in 1988. I saw a flock of birds maybe 20 or so and they were high circling like seagulls eating insects. We where in a parking lot and I heard a faint noise almost like snow geese. These hugh birds where high and not being sure of what I was hearing or seeing I got a pair of binoculars out and showed them to my Father. They where either Sand hills or Whooping cranes if there is a difference. As far as how they taste I couldn't not say, but once when I was about 6 years old, Grandpa and me where walking down his canal bank when one of those Blue herons crossed our path. Grandpa shot it and then he noticed two people about 60 yard down the path walking towards us. Grandpa left the bird laying in the brush and walked ahead a few steps. The 2 people turned out to be Game Wardens. They approached and questioned, I heard you shoot did you get him. I being very young was eager to show off Grandpa's excellent shooting skills, made a dash for the big bird laying near by. I was astonised when Grandpa grabed my hand and stood on my foot stopping my progress. He just said be queit boy, them peoples are revenewiors. Grandpa told them no I missed it was a squirrel. The annouced them self's as Game Wardens, Grandpa spit on the ground, a long steam of tobbacco juice. He said I know what ye are, what ya want. They Iasked to see his hunting licenses. Grandpa unhinged his double barrel took out the spent shell and reloaded it and snapped it shut. He never pointed the gun in their dirrection and only said I am Lyman Stone dis heres my property you boy's are tresspassing GIT. Later that night Grandpa sent back to get that crane and he made Crane pot pie and as I recall if was very good.
Pretty much anything can be tasty if you season it and cook it right. Cut and cook that one wrong however, and you might as well gnaw the sidewalls out your pickup tires. Was once told to bake the breast, garlic cloves and bacon strips inserted, basting periodically. And, I can tell you beyond all shadow of a doubt, that BS don't work at all. You can chew on that till your jaw falls off, and it just keeps on chewing like leather shoe sole.
Really not a lot of meat to the wings, legs, or the carcass on them, typically just breast them out. Have heard rumors concerning Crane Neck Soup/Stew and Crane Neck over Rice, out of a few old timers; never tried either. Whatever you elect to do with them, slice the breast ACROSS the grain, not to thick. Marinate 6 to 24 hours in a little red wine, soy, teriyaki, worchestersire sauce, or whatever batch of secret herbs and spices you prefer.
Beyond that, you can batter and fry it, and if properly sliced and diced it's usually not too tough, (tastes a great deal like venison prepared in that manner). Or, toss it in the Crock Pot and stew it slowly ALL DAY LONG, and it usually comes out nice and tender and tasty.