Hunters in Alabama may now hunt the Sandhill Crane once again.
The protected bird species has made a comeback over the past century, partially thanks to efforts from hunters themselves. The Alabama Department of Conservation of Natural Resources said it will still limit harm to the species by only releasing 400 permits to hunt them. Game Bird Coordinator Seth Maddox identified its high-quality meat as the main reason for the crane’s demand. “They also provide good quality meat. It’s high in protein. It tastes very good," he said. "Unlike most people say a lot of things taste like chicken but this actually tastes like beef. It has a beef texture to it. And it tastes more like a steak.” The change will not apply to commercial hunting, so only individuals selected for permits can take advantage of the new target, nicknamed the “ribeye in the sky” to some. The Sandhill Crane is estimated at 15,000 birds and tend to migrate to the wetland areas in Alabama.