AUSTIN – About 250,000 mourning dove hunters harvest 5 million mourning doves on an annual basis in Texas – making the Lone Star State the nation’s leader in both the number of hunters and harvest. The findings of a National Dove Hunter Survey will help managers better understand the opinions of this important hunting community at a national level.
The National Dove Hunter Survey is a cooperative effort by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Flyways Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Last year, the survey was sent to randomly selected hunters in the 40 states with dove hunting seasons. The large sample of 800 per state on average ensured that most of the survey results are applicable at the national, regional, and state levels. Of the 30,382 surveys successfully delivered, 12,631 hunters responded—earning a 41.6 percent response rate.
This survey was the first attempt to learn more about dove hunter characteristics; dove hunters’ time spent hunting; perceived constraints to hunting; and attitudes and opinions about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.
“These opinions and preferences are important and should be taken into account whenever possible,” said Shaun Oldenburger, Dove Program Leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “The department does not have plans to make any regulatory changes based on the survey findings. This information about dove hunters’ motivations and their perceptions can help us make informed decisions concerning education programs and in our communications with this group of stakeholders.”
The full survey results, along with further information about dove hunting, can be found at http://bit.ly/DoveHunterSurvey.