By Rick Windham RWmedia@atcjet.net
Nebraska’s 2016 dove season opens September 1 and runs until October 30. Are you ready? There are lots of birds in the region so the beginning of the season should be a good one for most hunters.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service conducts an annual survey on dove populations and the data from that study is outstanding. There are some 300 million doves in North America. Since the arrival of the Eurasian Collared Dove, the overall population is growing.
There are documented cases of the Eurasian Collared Dove nesting in North America in every month but January. With that kind of reproductive rate it doesn’t take long to build up a population. Doves easily are the most populous game bird in North America.
If you have hunted doves or any other migratory bird in the past, you have probably received a Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey from the USFWS asking about your hunting success. Have you ever wondered what the USFWS does with that data? Well, it is used to determine the total harvest for the previous year and set limits on the next hunting season.
HIP data from 2015 showed that about 15 million doves were harvested last year. Some one million hunters spent about three million days in the field to do this. For those anti-hunting groups who always claim hunting doves (or hunting anything) is bad, the HIP data clearly shows that we are in no danger of exterminating or even damaging the resource.
“Dove hunting is a great outdoor experience and quite exciting,” said Aaron Hershberger, Information and Education Specialist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “It will test the best of shooters. The average is something like six shells fired for every bird harvested.”
Read the rest of the NP Telegraph article