An adult whooping crane was shot and killed late Friday,
November 14th south of Dallas, Texas. A suspect has been apprehended
and USFWS is handling the case. Below are a few details of
Late Friday afternoon, locals heard shots coming from
Waxahachie Creek, a part of Lake Bardwell near Ennis, Texas in Ellis County.
With waterfowl season open the previous weekend, closed during the week
and scheduled to re-open Saturday, the local warden was called. James
Murphy, a Corps of Engineers officer covering Waxahachie Creek Park responded
and apprehended the hunter with 3 ducks plus 1 whooping crane hidden in a
bag. The hunter said he had shot a white crane. Mr. Murphy notified TPWD
and USFWS law enforcement personnel. On Saturday, USFWS Special Agent
Steve Hamilton was notified and is currently handling the case. The suspect
has not yet been charged on the Federal level. The incident is expected to
be presented to the U.S. Attorney in Dallas early this week.
Four whooping cranes had been present since Tuesday,
spending the days feeding in a nearby cornfield and presumably roosting at
night on Lake Bardwell. One crane was shot about 15 minutes before
sunset apparently as it flew to roost. The 3 remaining cranes are believed to
have resumed migration early Sunday afternoon.
Any shooting of a whooping crane is an unfortunate
situation. In this case, the shooting was done by a hunter during a closed
waterfowl season and closed sandhill crane season, who also did not have
the required reservoir hunting permit from the Corps of Engineers.
A decision needs to be made Monday about issuing a press
release from USFWS - Region II. The local newspaper in Ennis, Texas knows
about the incident, but I know of no other press inquiries so far.
Whooping Crane Coordinator
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