Jp, here in Colorado it is legal to Hunt the Sandhill Cranes. You can harvest 3 birds a day and have a possession of 6. I have not yet shot one because I am like you, if I kill it I eat it. Sorry if my first post sounded like that. The crane population here is very high in the fall and spring, hundreds making it up into the thousands depending on the weather. We have people from all over coming to shoot a crane mostly for taxidermy. I have never seen a SandHill Crane along the shores of the lakes or ponds due to they eat insects and stuff from the fields.
Haddon, In Colorado it is illegal to shoot the cranes with a .22. Most people will use a 12ga with BB or bigger.