OPEN SEASON: Hunters Enjoy Dove Season
More than 30,000 people were in the fields for the opening weekend of dove hunting season.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Joe Wilkinson explains, dove hunting has been a controversial topic for at least three decades.The Federal Government classified the mourning dove as a game bird in 1918, but it was just last year that Iowa approved its hunt.
Since then, Wilkinson says the controversy has died down.”Hunters are learning a little more about it and the folks that manage the wildlife areas for doves are learning a little bit too.”
Doug Nellons was always been more of a deer hunting kind of guy, but after his friends convinced him to try doves he says the experience is exhilarating.
“When you get a group of 15 or 20 coming at you, it’s hard to pick a target!” Nellons said.
The DNR is counting on the mourning dove to bring new, or retired hunters back into the sport.
According to Wilkinson “All you need is a bucket to sit on, some camouflage clothes, and a shot gun loaded with the right shot and you can walk in a half mile, quarter mile. You sit, and the doves come to you. So that’s really attractive to older hunters, it’s attractive to taking younger hunters in. They don’t have to walk very far and once they’re there, there’s a lot of action. Even if they’re not shooting, you’re seeing doves all morning long.”
One issue some hunters came across this weekend was limited fields creating a dangerous situation.
Nellons found that out early on, when another party began shooting right over his head.
He advises other hunters, “If you see a bunch of vehicles that are already here, find out where the other hunters are. We weren’t hidden, but they were shooting, literally, 50 yards behind us.”
Dove hunting season runs through November 9th.