A few years ago Monte Feck and I both started guiding snow goose hunts for Neu Outdoors. During that time I got to know Monte pretty well and learned about his business of guiding Sandhill Crane hunts that he and his partner, Bryan Baker, had recently started. I have never hunted Sandhill Cranes and knew nothing about hunting them so I was intrigued by what he did. We talked about me making it down there to hunt with him over the last few years and it was always in the back of my mind. Finally this last summer I talked with my brothers and a few friends about making the trip. We set the dates and could wait to get down to the Kansas/Oklahoma line to hunt these amazing birds. Finally the morning of November 28th came and we left Yankton headed for Oklahoma to hunt cranes for a few days with Crane Wreckers.
As we headed south Monte gave me a call updating me on the hunting. Instead of hunting Oklahoma like we had planned Monte and Bryan had a couple fields lined up in Kansas with a bunch of birds. We made a quick pit stop to grab our Kansas hunting licenses. We arrived to the area we were going to hunt just in time to meet up with Monte at the field we would hunt the following morning. As we got there the cranes were starting to head back to the refuge to roost for the night.
Once all the cranes had left the field we headed into the cut milo to find a good place to set up for the mornings hunt. Once we had the place we wanted to set up determined we got the blind all put together in the ditch line and set out the decoy stakes. All we had to do for the mornings hunt was set the decoys on the stakes and wait.
Shortly before sunrise the morning of the 29th we were all set up and settled into the blind patiently awaiting the cranes to show up. Soon after sunrise the southern skies began to fill with waves cranes coming to feed. We had anywhere from 50 to 100 cranes finishing right into the kill hole with hundreds following behind them. It was quite the site seeing those wide wingspans and long legs coming in to land. Their distinct sound was even more impressive. I have heard them during their migration before but not like that where you are sitting right underneath of them.
With 14 shooters in the blind we had our limit with 5 volleys 2 of which consisted of 2 birds and a single bird harvested. After the final volley we had a 14 man limit on the ground. As we took pictures, picked up the decoys and broke the blind down loading all into the trailer, we still had waves of cranes flying over. In fact we thought we may be able to hunt the same field the following morning. After cleaning birds, eating lunch, and taking a short break we went back out to scout the field again for the next morning and indeed they were all back in there so we decided to give round 2.
Again we set the field once the birds left so we were ready to go in the morning. It was again an impressive flight to the field. With 5 guys in the blind it took us little time to have our limit on the ground. This was truly a great experience and one I hope to do again. It was amazing to see these birds coming out to the fields to feed. There were thousands of cranes in the area and again they kept flying into the field as we were picking up. I don’t care what type of hunter you are but I feel this is one hunt all must experience at least once.
Monte and Bryan of Crane Wreckers run a great operation. They have a spacious blind with comfortable seating so that you are comfortable for the hunt. They use stuffer decoys with about 90 decoys to a set up. The blind is designed to add sections to it to accommodate the number of hunters present for each hunt. These guys work their tails off to make sure each and every group of hunters is on birds and they get it done every day. To book a hunt with them contact Monte at 620-222-7470 or go to their website http://www.cranewreckers.com/
You can watch this hunt next Monday December 12 on Cabela’s Northern Flight to see how the entire hunt unfolded!