Mourning dove hunt dead for another year

9 a.m. duck opener also history in 2003

By Rob Drieslein

Editor

St. Paul Legislation that would establish a hunting season for
mourning doves in Minnesota died in a conference committee on
Sunday. Barring unexpected action on the matter during the special
session this week, the dove hunt proposal is dead for at least
another year.

Dove hunt advocate Mark LaBarbera, president of the Minnesota
Outdoor Heritage Alliance, blamed conference committee members,
particularly Sen. Dallas Sams, DFL-Staples, for not supporting the
measure. Sams chairs the Senate Environment, Agriculture, and
Economic Budget Committee.

“We had anticipated a conference committee opportunity and
thought Sen. Sams would be the swing vote,” Labarbera said. “We met
with him and explained that he was the swing vote and he
acknowledged that. But in the end, he failed us.”

The conference committee was attempting to reconcile differences
between the House and Senate versions of the Environment and
Agriculture Finance bills. The House version contained wording for
a dove hunt and dove stamp, while the Senate version contained only
the dove stamp.

Ten legislators five House members and five senators chair a
conference committee. A motion to move the issue forward required
votes from three senators. Voting in favor of moving the hunt
forward were Sen. Dennis Frederickson, R-New Ulm and Sen. Steve
Dille, R-Dassel. Voting against were Sen. Linda Scheid,
DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Sams. Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, also
was expected to oppose the measure but wasn’t on hand for the
vote.

In an interview Tuesday with Outdoor News, Sams defended his
vote, and placed at least some of the blame on House members who
were unwilling to move the Omnibus Game and Fish (policy) bill
forward. That bill also contained language for the mourning dove
hunt.

“The hunting provision is in the Game and Fish bill, and that’s
where the discussion needed to occur, not with the budget bill,” he
said. “If they want to point blame, that’s where they should direct
their anger.”

House Republicans wanted to avoid giving the Senate a shot at
the Game and Fish policy bill out of fear that the Senate would
attach riders repealing the new concealed carry permit law or
eviscerating ATV language, which eventually passed through
conference committee last weekend, Sams said.

“I wasn’t going to put the Senate in that position on a
controversial issue like this by attaching it to a finance bill,”
Sams said.

John Schroers, a MOHA board member who also had worked
extensively on the dove issue, said Tuesday that he remained
optimistic about the dove hunt’s chance at passage in the
future.

“We got as far as we could with this knowing it had a 50-50
chance,” he said. “We’ve made great strides on the issue. I mean,
who would have thought we could get this far with this?

“We’ll regroup our forces and try again next year,” he said.

No 9 a.m. duck opener

The Omnibus Game and Fish bill that went down in flames
contained language for many other natural resource policy changes.
Because the bill did not pass, several things will not happen.
Among the changes are:

Duck hunters will not be allowed to begin shooting ducks at 9
a.m. on the opening day of the season;

New minimum size limits for walleyes to 20 inches and pike to 24
inches will not occur;

Hunters purchasing all-season deer licenses still will not be
allowed to party hunt;

There will be no change to laws prohibiting the use of hounds to
pursue bears;

Efforts by the Office of Environmental Assistance to make grants
to assist conservation and angler groups relating to lead fishing
tackle will not occur.

Language that would alter turtle seller licensing will not
occur.

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