This article was originally published by DAVE STREGE, a Register columnist at 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