DFG urging safety glasses for dove hunters

dave.strege

DAVE STREGE
Register columnist
OUTDOORS
dstrege@ocregister.com

Got questions about the dove hunting opener Sept. 1? We’ve got answers…

Is it true safety glasses will be required of hunters on state land?

No, but the Department of Fish and Game is strongly urging that all dove hunters use safety glasses.

Gerald Mulcahy, associate wildlife biologist for the Lower Colorado River, gives a compelling reason why: "Eyes are not replaceable."

For whatever reason, safety glasses are not common among dove hunters.

"It’s very popular on most trap and skeet ranges but has not become popular in the field," Mulcahy said. "Every year, wherever you go, you get incidents of people getting shot, getting peppered (with shot).

"I hate to say it, but dove hunters are some of the more careless ones because they get into fast shooting and are not watching where they’re shooting a lot of times."

Did we hear correctly, that an accident at a junior hunt prompted DFG to look at this safety issue?

Yes, an accident at a junior pheasant hunt last season led to the department discussing the possibility of requiring safety glasses.

But because it would be difficult to get the word out and difficult to enforce, the DFG decided on recommending the use, according to Tom Blankinship, senior biologist with the Upland Game Program.

However, the DFG will require safety glasses at its special hunts, such as the junior hunts, in which people are drawn to participate. This hasn’t been finalized yet, but anticipate it becoming official.

In these cases, the DFG will attempt to provide safety glasses.

Much has been made about the Eurasian collared dove in recent years. Is there a limit on them?

The Eurasian collared dove originated in Asia, was introduced to the Bahama Islands in 1975, spread to Florida and has expanded its range across the U.S.

For the first time, the Eurasian collared dove is part of the regulations this season.

"We could say the regulations didn’t clearly address the take of them," Blankinship said. "So the (Fish and Game) Commission adopted a regulation this year that makes it clear that the Eurasian collared dove are a resident game bird species and they are included in the 10-bird bag limit.

Blankinship also offered this reminder: the ground dove is not a legal game bird.

"They’re a tiny dove and the vast majority of hunters would not mistake them, but somebody could," he said.

What are the regulations?

The seasons are Sept. 1-15 and Nov. 10-Dec. 24. The bag limit is 10 per day in aggregate of spotted doves, Eurasian collared doves, ringed turtle doves, white winged doves and mourning doves. Possession limit is 20.

What are the prospects for the opener?

The most popular areas, the Palo Verde and Imperial counties, are showing a large number of birds, including white wing, Mulcahy said.

Area wheat, milo and sunflower fields have been cut or soon will be, providing plenty of feed to keep the birds around, he said.

But expect some monsoon weather before the opener, which can alter the optimism.

"It happens every year," Mulcahy said of the weather.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7809 or dstrege@ocregister.com

Can Shooting Glasses Protect Your Eyes From Birdshot?

Shot Lenses

This was a question posed by Jeff Johnston, Senior Editor of American Hunter. After years of being told to wear eye protection, he decided to ignore the claims and studies of eyewear manufacturers and test a variety of eyewear to see how well it held up under fire.

Jeff wanted to determine the answer to three questions:

1. At what ranges and with what shot sizes is eyewear effective?

2. Are polycarbonate lenses better than other materials?

3. Does expensive eyewear perform better than bargain brands?

Using a unique test involving a foam mannequin fitted with two small ballons to simulate eyeball tissue and armed with a shotgun and ten different types of eyeglasses Jeff got to work. The results of the test are interesting and very enlightening to say the least.

To summarize the results:

1. It’s a mistake to assume that any plastic-lens sunglasses are made from polycarbonate and therefore are effective as shooting glasses. Make sure you select ANSI Z87.1 rated lenses as they offer your eyes phenomenal protection from birdshot at 10-15 yards and beyond. Incredibly, a few brands passed the test at 8 yards!

2. A higher price does not always equal higher protection levels. Some of the “bargain brands” like the Pyramex Rendezvous performed equal or better than brands costing 30 times as much!

3. Your shooting glasses won’t do you any good if they’re stuffed away in your trucks glovebox. So wear them religiously. Polycarbonate eyewear can protect your eyes from flying debris and direct hits from birdshot at suprisingly close ranges.

Do yourself a big favor and check-out the complete article by clicking here. You can also visit SafetyGlassesUSA.com for a great selection of ANSI Z87.1 rated eyewear and shooting glasses.