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March 17th, 2011 |

No good reason to hunt doves

We are not opposed to hunting. We have taken to the fields in search of game birds many times and have enjoyed doing it. We respect the need for abundant yet safe hunting, and we support legislative efforts to ensure that it continues to happen. Our sole stated opposition in the past has dealt with the possession of machine guns. No legitimate hunter needs one, and neither does anyone else. To add to that short list, we also don’t see the need to hunt mourning doves.

Deer are aplenty here in Iowa, as are pheasant, turkey and other game birds. Hunters have plenty of opportunities with these targets, but peppering a mourning dove with ammo in mid song just doesn’t sit right with us.

Proponents say allowing the hunting of mourning doves will help the state capture new revenue, as approximately 600,000 Iowans hunt or fish each year. They claim that with a $10 dove stamp and 10 percent of Iowa’s outdoorsmen participating, the state would realize roughly $600,000 in new license fees, not including revenue from out-of-state hunters. A vast amount of ammunition sales at retailers would also contribute to the state’s economy, as mourning doves are apparently a difficult shot. We don’t know because we have never killed one. And we won’t.

Forty states, including all states bordering Iowa, currently allow for the hunting of this song bird. The legislation has been proposed in Iowa in previous years, but it has been shot down repeatedly. Until now. Mourning dove legislation passed through committee earlier this month with a 10-3 vote, and a strong fight is now expected.

Those who oppose hunting of mourning doves say these gentle and inoffensive song birds have been protected from hunters for more than 90 years in our state. The Iowa legislature protected the birds in part because mourning doves were a memorial symbol of Iowa soldiers killed in World War I, further promoting and protecting a world wide symbol of peace and love.

Mourning doves are not overpopulated, they are not a nuisance, they don’t damage private property and the meat from the bird is miniscule. There are plenty of game birds in Iowa to hunt. Let mourning doves exist here in peace.CV