I think I read somewhere there are two populations in MN. The western subspecies which you can hunt in the NW Zone are more common species, and the eastern subspecies in the rest of the state aren't as common, thus the reason for not having a season on them. There seem to be alot more cranes all over compared to when I was a kid. When I was real young seeing a sandhill crane was very rare, now it seems they are common almost everywhere.
Nebraska has a tons of sandhill cranes and you can't hunt them at anytime over there. Not sure why.
Nobody cares about your season totals.