Mourning Dove Harvest Unaffected by Long Season/Eurasians

Mourning doves are prolific breeders, with pairs having up to six broods per year.
Photo Credit: Jason Haley

by Jason Haley
9-8-2018
Website

About four years ago, ODFW extended the Mourning dove hunting season from 30 to 60 days, as part of a larger federal district change out west. Since that time, little to no change has been recorded in terms of harvest dynamics.

According to Migratory Game Bird Coordinator, Brandon Reishus in Salem, the harvest is “still occurring within the first 15-days” of the September 1st opener. Most of that is during the first week.

Hunters are definitely turning their attention to big game during October, but the long dove season does provide additional opportunity to bag a few doves during the big game seasons. Mourning doves also tend to move at the first sign of cold weather, especially at upper elevations, so that late opportunity is fairly localized. Reishus stated that “extremely few bands” are being reported during October.

It’s hard to determine if the influx of Eurasian collared-doves are having any effect on Mourning doves or if incidental take is occurring. “There’s not much survey data,” since Eurasians are unregulated. They are treated like coyotes, currently. There is no bag limit or closed season, which provides a unique opportunity for wing-shooters.  

During the 1600s, this Indian species began to expand its range until today it occurs in all of Europe and most of Asia. It is now expanding across North America, reaching Oregon in 1988. It is expected to eventually colonize most of North America.

Reishus said the Eurasian population continues to grow, but is “maybe starting to plateau.” Most are near cities, towns and agricultural areas. ODFW can’t track harvest, but a “few good shoots” have been reported on farms. The invasive doves have “big square tails versus the pointy tail” of the native Mourning dove. According to Reishus, they have a different “flight style or gait” that hunters must learn to identify.

For more information about dove hunting, including access maps, visit: myodfw.com/articles/how-hunt-mourning-dove




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