This article was originally published by DAVE STREGE, a Register columnist at OUTDOORS firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got questions about the dove hunting opener on 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 strongly urges that all dove hunters use safety glasses. Gerald Mulcahy, the associate wildlife biologist for the Lower Colorado River, gives a compelling reason: “Eyes are not replaceable.” But unfortunately, for whatever reason, safety glasses are not standard among dove hunters. “It’s trendy 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 challenging to get the word out and difficult to enforce, the DFG decided to recommend 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 I 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 expanded its range across the U.S. The Eurasian collared dove is part of the regulations this season for the first time. “We could say the regulations didn’t clearly address their take,” Blankinship said. “So the (Fish and Game) Commission adopted a regulation this year that makes it clear that the Eurasian collared dove is a resident game bird species and is 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. The 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 wings, Mulcahy said. He said that area wheat, milo, and sunflower fields have been cut or soon will be, providing plenty of feed to keep the birds around. But expect some monsoon weather before the opener, which can alter the optimism. “It happens every year,” Mulcahy said of the weather.
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