Dove hunting opened without fanfare

Published 9:55 am Thursday, September 23, 2004

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Vigilant/Argus
Without much fanfare, Michigan opened its dove hunting season on Friday.
Cass and Berrien counties are two of six selected by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission for a three-year trial period.
The DNR limited its first dove hunting season, which runs through Oct. 30, to six counties in southern lower Michigan. All of the counties border either Indiana or Ohio, where dove hunting has been legal for years.
Hunters were happy that the season was finally approved, but the fact that it happened the day before the season opened left some with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Still, despite the delays and the fact that many of the stores which can sell the $2 dove stamp didn't even have the proper code to provide interested hunters with a license, the season did get started on Friday.
A survey of area retailers who sell licenses for the state provided mixed details.
While stores in Dowagiac and Sister Lakes did not have much interest in the stamps, two stores in Edwardsburg did.
Bill's Trading Post in Edwardsburg reported that it had sold approximately seven dove stamps by late afternoon.
Lunker's, also in Edwardsburg, reported that it sold four stamps early Friday morning and another four to six by the afternoon.
Bob McCartney, a former Dowagiac resident who works at Bill's Trading Post, said that he sees a bigger interest in waterfowl and wing shooting in the Edwardsburg area compared to Dowagiac.
At W.B. Hayden &Sons in Cassopolis, there had been no sales of dove stamps on Friday. The same was true at Hale's True Value Hardware in Dowagiac, at Guntle's Outdoor Outfitters in Dowagiac and Graham's Wood's-N-Water in Dowagiac, although one hunter came in to get a stamp.
That person had to be turned away however, because the dealer did not have the proper codes yet from the state to sell the license.
Michigan becomes the 41st state to adopt a dove hunting season.
The Natural Resources Commission approved the season at its regular monthly meeting in Lansing on Thursday.
Biologists will monitor the dove population during this three-year trial period to make future recommendations about additional hunts.
Hunters will have to have a small game license as well as the $2 dove stamp. Revenue from the stamps will be divided equally between the Nongame fish and Wildlife Trust Fund and the Game and Fish Protection Trust Fund.
While the hunt is under way, the Dove Protection Coalition continues to push to stop the hunting.
Not only did the coalition denounce the action by the NRC, it called for the state to put the hunt on hold until after a referendum vote.
The coalition wants a vote on the subject in the 2006 election. It will need more than 158,000 signatures of registered voters in order to force the vote.
Hunters, who continue to push for a state-wide dove hunt, will be allowed to take 15 doves per day, but they may not have more than 30 in their possession.
Michigan has at least 4 million mourning doves which migrate from the state each year.