Arizona hunters are ‘still going to find plenty of doves out there’ this season
PHOENIX — When you’re talking about 20 million mourning doves criss-crossing Arizona’s skies on opening day, versus the usual 30 million or so, what’s the difference, really?
In fact, Arizona’s dove hunters won’t even notice the drop-off when the 2018 season begins Sept. 1.
“The first half of 2018 was an extremely dry year,” said Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Based on what we’re seeing in the field, mourning doves may not have pulled off as many nests as usual. Early estimates are that most doves pulled off three or four nests, instead of the usual five to six nests.
“So what does that mean? Well, you still have to consider the scale we’re talking about. A down year like this one means there will be about 20 million mourning doves on opening day, instead of 30 million.
“You’re still going to find plenty of doves out there.”
All hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license, as well as a migratory bird stamp for the 2018-19 season — both of which can be purchased online now. Visit https://www.azgfd.com/bestofboth
For everything else “dove,” visit www.azgfd.gov/dove.
Also, check out O’Dell’s video that demonstrates two techniques for field-dressing doves at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DDRZGPzJDI.
Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds are comprised of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, shooting ranges, boating access and more.