, Muskogee, OK


September 3, 2009

Initial dove harvests are good

Oklahoma dove hunters have already started the 2009 hunting season off with great success. Dove season started Sept. 1, but this year, instead of closing Oct. 31, the season has been extended through Nov. 9 for most of the state. In the southwest dove zone the season begins Sept. 1 but still ends Oct. 31. It reopens in the southwest zone on Dec. 26.

Josh Richardson, migratory bird biologist, reports activity observed from recent dove banding projects show very good bird numbers and successful reproduction in eastern Oklahoma. Hunters need to be on the look out for these bands on birds while hunting during the season. More than 14,000 doves are banded throughout 14 states of the Central Management unit. Doves will be marked with metal leg bands, containing a unique number and a web site where hunters can report the bands found during the 2009 season. This data received from hunters will help the wildlife agency predict the migrating seasons of doves in the future.

Chris Charboneau of Wagoner reported that he and his fellow hunters had a very successful opening day hunting in Wagoner County. They got their limit of birds on a fresh plowed field. He reported the skies were full of doves and with 20 hunters in this field and the surrounding area they all would have had more than their opportunity to fill their bag limits which is 15 doves per day for the entire state. There is no bag limit on Eurasian-collared doves. Eurasion-collared doves, which are not native to Oklahoma, are bigger and lighter in color. Freshly cut wheat and sunflower fields are havens for doves. Water holes can make for success when hunting for doves. I have noticed many doves while scouting for deer and feel 2009 season is going to be very good for all area hunters.

Those who hunt should always be aware of the regulations concerning dove hunting in their area and support the wildlife agencies throughout the state. I was recently made aware of one state, Michigan, where dove hunting was banned from a vote of the people and movement of non-hunters. TV adds on local television stations in Michigan were portraying hunters as slaughtering countless numbers of doves and with support of non-hunting politicians this campaign was a successful one in spite of all the hunting organizations and involvement from the National Rifle Association.

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