Friday, January 27th, 2023
Friday, January 27th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Sparring continues in mourning dove bout

By Bill

Lake Orion, Mich. — Legal action and other objections have moved
to the forefront in the battle to protect dove hunting in

Earlier this year, the Committee to Restore the Dove Shooting
Ban, backed by the Humane Society of the United States – the
largest anti-hunting organization in the country – gathered enough
signatures to put a proposal to end dove hunting in Michigan on the
ballot in November. Since then, CRDSB and Citizens for Wildlife
Conservation, a sportsmen’s group dedicated to protecting
Michigan’s hunting heritage, have been raising money for the
upcoming media campaign both sides believe will be needed to win in

State Attorney General Mike Cox recently ruled that a
sportsmen’s sweepstakes, sponsored by the CWC, was illegal, and
shut it down. More recently, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a
member of CWC, has called for sportsmen to make phone calls and
send letters and emails to state and local officials in protest of
the 2006 Gala for Doves, sponsored by the CRDSB and scheduled for
Sept. 16 at the Detroit Zoo.

CWC’s Save Our Heritage Sweepstakes, which offered a top prize
of 40 acres in the Upper Peninsula or $20,000 cash, was shut down
by Cox because it was inadvertently advertised as a raffle,
according to CWC treasurer Jim Shaeffer. Shaeffer said raffles are
illegal for fund-raising in ballot initiatives, but sweepstakes,
which do not require a purchase for entry, are acceptable. The
phrase “no purchase necessary,” is printed on the sweepstakes

“A couple individual clubs working with CWC mistakenly promoted
the sale of the tickets as a raffle and unfortunately you can’t do
that,” Shaeffer told Michigan Outdoor News, “so the attorney
general shut it down.”

More recently, eyebrows were raised at the CWC headquarters when
it was learned that the CRDSB is planning a “Gala for Doves,” a
$100-per-person fund-raiser at the Detroit Zoo.

Patricia Mills, director of communications for the Detroit
Zoological Society, says the zoo is not attacking hunting, nor
taking sides in the dove issue.

“The zoo is not sponsoring the event and is not hosting the
event,” Mills said. “The group holding the event is renting one of
our facilities.

“Mainly, I think there’s a misunderstanding. An early release
that the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance sent out to its members stated
that the zoo is attacking hunting and hunting tradition. We’re not
attacking anyone …”

Some sportsmen think the zoo is taking sides.

“They’re free to rent their facility to anyone they want to and
we’re free to point out that by doing so they’re aligning
themselves with an anti-hunting movement,” said Rob Sexton, vice
president of governmental affairs for the U.S. Sportsmen’s
Alliance, which is a member of CWC. “I’m sure there are groups they
would draw the line on renting their facility to. Would they rent
to Louis Farrakhan’s group or the Michigan Militia? Probably

Sexton said he also was surprised that the zoo would rent its
facility to a group he says opposes all animal usage.

“The primary bank-roller of their (CRDSB) campaign is the Humane
Society of the United States,” Sexton said. “They are openly
anti-hunting and also oppose all animal usage … including things
like rodeos, circuses, and zoos. I think there is some irony in

On its website (, the CRDSB touts that
special guests to attend the Gala include, among others, Mike
Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the
United States; Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane
Society of the United States; and Ron Kagan, director of the
Detroit Zoo.

“It’s common practice to have a zoo employee greet people who
rent our facility,” Mills said.”My understanding is that Ron
(Kagan) is going to speak on something totally unrelated to dove

That didn’t appease Sexton.

“The fact that the zoo’s director is directly involved with this
event, regardless of what his speech is about, tells me that he
sympathizes with their cause. There are a lot of people that favor
hunting who visit the zoo. Whether boldly or not, the zoo is
aligning itself with an anti-hunting organization.”

Sexton says sportsmen and women who are concerned about this
development should contact Kagan and Gov. Jennifer Granholm at the

  • Ron Kagan, director of the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. Ten Mile Rd.,
    Royal Oak, MI 48068, (248) 398-0900, ext. 3118 or by fax at (248)
  • Gov. Jennifer Granholm, P.O. Box 30013, Lansing, MI 48909,
    (517) 373-3400 or by fax at (517) 335-6863.

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