Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pam Colletta, on Michigan Dove Hunting

I don’t like being lied to. Do you? Voters need to know that they are being lied to when they hear the ads saying one should vote no on dove hunting in Michigan.

The ad begins by saying that dove hunting proponents are trying to change tradition, when actually Michigan dove hunting advocates are trying to embrace a tradition that is long established across the US. In other states the opening day of dove season is a bigger family tradition than the opening day of deer season!

The ad then goes on to say that out-of-state interest groups are behind the dove hunt in Michigan. In reality it is Michigan hunters who have been trying to open up dove hunting in our state for more than 20 years. The irony in this issue is that the group behind the fight to prevent dove hunting in Michigan is from outside of the state. The Humane Society of the United States (not to be confused with the legitimate American Humane Association) is a California based anti-hunting organization. The President of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, has stated that their goal is to stop hunting in the United States one animal and one State at a time. Preventing Michigan hunters from hunting mourning doves is just one step in achieving their goal.

Another point they make is that doves do not damage property. In fact doves do millions of dollars of damage to crops in Michigan, including eating seed from the sunflowers grown here for oil; and disfiguring trees when they enter and exit the boughs in the spring and early summer as the new growth is forming on the spruces and pines grown for Christmas trees.

The anti-hunting groups claim that doves are only shot for target practice because they are so small that they cannot be used for food. The reality is that doves are very difficult to shoot because they fly in an erratic manner, changing direction quickly with no warning. As target practice they are not a very cooperative specimen. As far as being too small to eat, there is more meat on a dove breast than there is on a shrimp or a bluegill.

The anti-hunters aver that mourning doves are not overpopulated in Michigan. While doves may not be overpopulated, they are not underpopulated either. Each spring and summer doves lay and hatch two to three times during the season, hatching two to six young in each nest. Even if only two survive from each nesting that makes at the very least, double the number of doves each year. It has been proven that they repopulate at a faster rate than it is possible to hunt them. In the 40 states where doves have been hunted for many years biologists have learned that the attrition rate of doves to hunting does not come close to equaling their attrition to death by natural causes. The life expectancy of a mourning dove is 18 months to 3 years. The majority of the dove population die of natural causes over the course of a year. If they are going to die anyway why not put them to good use and eat them?

So, when the ads say there is no good reason to hunt doves remember that there are good reasons - namely because they make good food and a fun and challenging activity the whole family can enjoy. The next time you hear that ad on the radio or see it on TV I hope you’ll remember the truth about what they are saying. And come November 7th vote YES on Proposal 3.

Pam Colletta

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Never Gonna Give you Up - Rick Astley
Current Gun: Taurus PT92AFS

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