In January, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources estimated that the state’s recent mourning dove hunt resulted in about 202,000 of the birds being killed during the 60-day season.
A survey of hunters who bought small game hunting licenses found that 8 percent of hunters in the state participated in the mourning dove season, and that on average they killed 8 mourning doves apiece.
Keith Warnke, a game bird ecologist with the Wisconsin DNR, says that level of participation was roughly what the DNR expected and that the number of birds killed was sustainable. Warnke told the Associated Press,
I am confident that this level of harvest will not have a negative impact on the state’s dove population, and that the new dove hunting tradition will improve mourning dove knowledge and conservation in Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Cranes and Doves had its arguments against the hunt heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The group argues that when the Wisconsin legislature declared the mourning dove the state’s official symbol of peace in 1971, that it conferred special protections on the bird which the DNR failed to take into account in allowing the hunting season.
Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General P. Philip Peterson, countered that, “There is no link between what the Legislature did then and the authority the DNR so clearly has to set a season for mourning doves.”
The Wisconsin State Supreme Court is expected to rule before July 1 on the challenge to the hunting season.
State’s first hunt culls 202,000 mourning doves. Associated Press, January 22, 2004.
Dove hunting opponents argue case to Supreme Court. Amy Rinard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 15, 2004.
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