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Election Issue Analysis: Mourning Dove Hunting Small Downside: Vote "Yes"

Ballot Issue 2006: 03; Dove License Revenue Qualifies for Federal Match

September 17, 2006       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: In cooperation with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC), is presenting analysis of the five referendum issues on the Nov. 7 election ballot. A different issue will be highlighted periodically until election day.)

At the November 7, 2006, general election Michigan voters will be presented with a referendum on Public Act 160 of 2004, which was an amendment to Public Act 451 of 1994. Act 160 reclassified the Mourning Dove as a game bird, as opposed to its previous song bird designation, and permitted Mourning Dove hunting, thus making Michigan the 41st state to permit Mourning Dove hunting.

Act 160 set a season for Mourning Dove hunting, imposed possession limits for the hunting season, and created guidelines for the Department of Natural Resources to follow in overseeing the Mourning Dove hunting season.

Proposal 2006-03 essentially pits birders against hunters. While hunters support Mourning Dove hunting because the birds are so abundant, birders enjoy these backyard guests due to the birds' attractive appearance and mournful call.

Those in support of the ban on hunting of Mourning Doves believe that they do not serve as a significant food source and so do not justify hunting. They do not wish to see Mourning Doves used essentially as live target practice. Furthermore, Mourning Doves are Michigan?s Official Bird of Peace, are enjoyed by bird enthusiasts, and are frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders.

However, 40 states around the country, most Midwest states, and the federal government do allow managed hunting of Mourning Doves. It is estimated that only 6 percent of the population is harvested each year and it is one of the most abundant species of birds in the United States. Revenue collected from the stamp required to hunt Mourning Doves is deposited in accounts that are eligible for matching funds from the federal government.

Mourning Dove hunting creates special opportunities for new hunters because Mourning Doves are so abundant that the hunters will have better chances of success.

The number of hunters has been on the decline and Mourning Dove hunting presents an opportunity to interest people that are not currently hunters. The elderly and the disabled will be able to hunt Mourning Doves with relative ease as opposed to pheasant, rabbit, and other small game that require the hunter to do much walking to pursue such prey. Also, Mourning Dove hunting does not require expensive equipment.###

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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