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Sandhill Crane Regulations

Be sure the bird you intend to shoot is a sandhill crane. Accidental or intentional shooting of a whooping crane is considered a dual violation and subject to state and federal laws. Don’t shoot unless you’re sure.

2021–22 Sandhill Crane Tag Drawings: Only individuals with a Tennessee Sandhill Crane Tag may hunt. Applicants must be at least thirteen (13) years of age to compete in the drawing. Each application must be accompanied by a non-refundable handling fee, except Sportsman License holders, Lifetime Sportsman License holders and persons possessing an Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman License. Tags are non-transferable.

Computer Draw: A total of 2,500 tags (2 tags/hunter) will be issued for statewide use through a computerized drawing. The application period for the statewide drawing is Sept. 1 - 21, 2021. These tags will be valid statewide, including the SE Crane Zone. Hunters can apply through any TWRA license agent or at

Sandhill Crane Identification Test: All sandhill crane hunters must pass an internet-based crane identification test each year before hunting. All tags issued are invalid until the “Sandhill Crane Test” validation code is written on the tag. The purpose of this test is to improve hunter’s awareness and ability to distinguish between sandhill cranes and other protected species which may be encountered while hunting. The test is available at

Harvest Reporting: Each harvested crane must be accompanied by a completed kill tag (each tag allows harvest of 1 crane) and be checked in by the end of the calendar day of harvest by any Agency approved check-in method.

Also, hunters issued sandhill crane tags MUST fill out and return a post-season survey at before Feb. 10, 2022, regardless of whether they hunted or harvested a sandhill crane. Failure to return the post-season survey may result in hunters not being eligible to apply for a sandhill crane tag in future draws.

Hunting Hours: Hunting hours for sandhill cranes are from sunrise until 3:00pm local time.

Federal Regulations: No shotguns larger than 10-gauge or capable of holding over 3 shot shells. Federally approved non-toxic shot is required.

If you have information regarding any illegal activities concerning protected species, please call the TWRA Poacher Hotline:

West TN (Region I)1-800-831-1173

Middle TN (Region II)1-800-255-8972

Cumberland Plateau (Region III)1-833-402-4699

East TN (Region IV)1-800-831-1174


Gray and white red patch on forehead. Long neck and legs.

Wingspan: 77"

Length: 46"

Juveniles: Brown and gray, lacks red on forehead.


Gray and white body and wings. Black head and neck with white chin strap.

Wingspan: 60"

Length: 45"


White, with black wing tips. Short neck.

Wingspan: 53"

Length: 28"


All-white plumage. Long neck.

Wingspan: 66"

Length: 52"

Juveniles: Gray-brown


All-white plumage. Long neck.

Wingspan: 80"

Length: 60"

Juveniles: Gray-brown


White body with black wing tips. Long neck. Long legs trailing body.

Wingspan: 87"

Length: 52"

Juveniles: White mixedwith brown


Gray and white plumage. “S” shaped neck.

Wingspan: 60"

Flies with neck folded inward and legs extended.