Dove hunt gets state House OK

But the bill isn’t without its detractors

By Tim Spielman

Associate Editor

St. Paul The volatile issue of dove hunting was approved by the
Minnesota House this week after an amendment to remove the proposal
from the game and fish bill was killed, 78-49. Two other amendments
to modify a dove hunt also were shot down before the bill was
passed by House members, 89-34.

The proposal likely will face an even stiffer challenge in the
state Senate. However, the author of the House bill said he’s
“cautiously optimistic” about the Senate bill’s chances.

“My gut feeling is it looks pretty good in the Senate,” said Joe
Hoppe, R-Chaska.

Besides an amendment to completely remove the dove hunting
proposal from Alice Seagren, R-Bloomington, the bill also withstood
amendments from Ron Erhardt, R-Edina, to hunt doves only with bow
and arrow, and from Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, that doves only
be legal to hunt while in flight.

House floor arguments were much the same as they’ve been in the
past, Hoppe said. A dove bill also passed the House last
session.

“The testimony for (dove hunting’s) removal from the bill was
right out of the anti-hunting playbook,” said Mike Sidders,
volunteer for Minnesota Hunters for Dove Hunting. He said anti-dove
hunting testimony included “blatant lies and exaggerations.”

One such example, he said, was from Rep. Barb Sykora,
R-Excelsior, who in the Star Tribune said she opposed the dove
season because September is just when the birds nest, leaving “lots
of little orphaned mourning doves.”

During a September hunt, Sidders said doves would be beginning
to migrate, along with other migratory species.

Sykora on Tuesday told Outdoor News that she’s been a supporter
of hunting and the outdoors, and that she grew up on a farm in
southwestern Minnesota.

But, she said, “I fail to see the thrill in shooting those tiny,
little birds. It’s the principle of the thing. My constituency
doesn’t see them as something to hunt.”

Sykora said she’s received a lot of correspondence from those in
her electoral district. She supported Seagren’s amendment to kill
the dove hunting language.

“We’ll (Seagren and Sykora) always be standing up for the poor,
little mourning dove,” Sykora said. “You know how they get their
name? There’s always somebody coming after them.

“I haven’t opposed hunting, but I have a different perspective
on this one,” she said.

Also quoted in the Star Tribune was Rep. Barb Goodwin,
DFL-Columbia Heights, who said since mourning doves mate for life,
hunting would leave many “widowed.”

“They may mate for life, but that’s only because on average they
live a little over a year,” Sidders said. “It’s sick that nobody
holds the anti’s feet to the fire. They’re not dealing with
science.”

The House bill makes mourning doves game birds and gives the DNR
authority to set a season for them, based on guidelines from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which regulates hunting of migratory
birds. Thirty-nine states now allow mourning dove hunting.

There are annually about 10 to 12 million mourning doves in
Minnesota, and more than an estimated 500 million nationwide. The
Minnesota DNR supports dove hunting, and most biologists agree
hunting doesn’t pose a threat to the mourning dove population.
Opponents say the birds are peaceful critters that are too small to
be considered for a meal.

In neighboring Wisconsin, the state Supreme Court recently
upheld a challenge to the state’s dove hunt. And in Michigan, the
fate of dove hunting is up to Gov. Jennifer Granholm after the
state’s House and Senate approved the foundation for a hunt.

Activity in those two states may have taken the attention of
anti-hunting groups away from Minnesota, Sidders said. In fact,
Hoppe said he received less correspondence from national
anti-hunting groups than last year.

“We won’t be flying under the radar now, though,” Sidders
said.

Joining Seagren and Sykora in voting to remove dove language
from the bill were Republicans Ron Abrams, Minnetonka; Ron Erhardt,
Edina; Chris Gerlach, Apple Valley; Mary Liz Holberg, Lakeville;
Karen Klinzing, Woodbury; Denny McNamara, Hastings; Carla Nelson,
Rochester; Peter Nelson, Lindstrom; Lynne Osterman, New Hope; Jim
Rhodes, St. Louis Park; Char Samuelson, New Brighton; Seagren; and
Sykora.

House Democrats supporting the amendment to delete dove hunting
language were Irv Anderson, International Falls; Joe Atkins, Inver
Grove Heights; Connie Bernardy, Fridley; Len Biernat, Minneapolis;
Lyndon Carlson, Robbinsdale; Jim Davnie, Minneapolis; Keith
Ellison, Minneapolis; Matt Entenza; St. Paul; Barbara Hunter,
Columbia Heights; Mindy Greiling, Roseville; Alice Hausman, St.
Paul; Bill Hilty, Finlayson; Frank Hornstein, Minneapolis; Thomas
Huntley, Duluth; Michael Jaros, Duluth; Sheldon Johnson, St. Paul;
Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis; Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minneapolis;
Ron Latz, St. Louis Park; Ann Lenczewski, Bloomington; Bernie
Lieder, Crookston; Tim Mahoney, St. Paul; Carlos Mariani, St. Paul;
Mary Murphy, Hermantown; Joe Opatz, St. Cloud; Rebecca Otto, Marine
on St. Croix; Michael Paymar, St. Paul; Gene Pelowski, Winona;
Thomas Pugh, S. St. Paul; Katie Sieben, Newport; Nora Slawik,
Maplewood; Cy Thao, St. Paul; Paul Thissen, Minneapolis; Jean
Wagenius, Minneapolis; Neva Walker, Minneapolis; and Scott Wasiluk,
Maplewood.

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