ST. PAUL -- Emotions ran high last week as people on both sides of the mourning dove hunting issue addressed a hearing of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Legislation that would allow for a Minnesota hunt is still on track, though the committee voted 5-4 against it. Last year the bill failed. This year it's included in the omnibus game and fish bill, authored by Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids.
"All of the states around us, from Texas to North Dakota, have it," Saxhaug said of mourning dove hunting. "The only state that doesn't is Iowa, and last year their House and Senate both passed it and their governor vetoed it."
Jerry Bahls of the Audubon Chapter of Minneapolis said his chapter opposes hunting the bird. He said the population is declining and that "each bird only produces about two ounces of meat for the table."
Mike Hurwig, a hunter who lives in White Bear Lake, disagrees. He said he's hunted doves for 20 years and that they're very good eating.
Allen Bahn, nature enthusiast and businessman in Koochiching County, said he doesn't see many mourning doves in northern Minnesota and doesn't want them hunted. "I love to be out in the woods and see birds and animals," Bahn said.
Hunter John Shores said people shouldn't confuse the mourning dove with the turtle dove, which is the bird of peace. He said his priest confirmed that the bird of peace is the white turtle dove, not the mourning dove. "He gave me his blessing to hunt mourning doves," Shores said.
From her work with mourning doves, veterinarian Linda Wolf says the bird doesn't have much meat and that legislation calling for a hunt is "only an income source for the DNR."
The legislation now goes to a House and Senate conference committee. If it passes out of committee it still would need Gov. Tim Pawlenty's signature.
'Keep Your Cat Indoors' poster contest underway
Free-roaming cats are run over by cars, poisoned, attacked by other animals, contract diseases and parasites and kill millions of birds and small mammals. To encourage people to keep their cats indoors, the second annual "Keep Your Cat Indoors" poster contest for kids ages 6-12 is now underway.
Contest age categories are 6-7 years, 8-9 years and 10-12 years. Posters should depict a happy, safe, indoor cat and must be on 8-1/2 x 11 sturdy white paper or poster board. Clarity of message and quality of artwork are important.
Posters should be labeled on the back with the name, age and address of the entrant and county of residence. Teacher name, school or group, address, phone number and e-mail address should also be included.
Entries must arrive by April 15 at Katie Haws, DNR non-game specialist, 2115 Birchmont Road N.E., Bemidji, MN 56601.
Regional and state winners will be announced on April 22. There will be four winners in each age group for a total of 12 winners in each of the four regions of the state. Three state winners will be chosen from the 48 regional winning entries.
ATV club to meet April 10
The Cuyuna Range ATV/OHV club meets April 10 from 10 a.m. to noon at Spalding House in Crosby. Contact Ken Irish at (651) 451-3393 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Vern Lewis at (218) 546-7396 (email@example.com), or Jeanine Ross at (218) 546-6060, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Scientists need assistance in tracking bluebills
Researchers from Louisiana State University and the Minnesota DNR ask for help in tracking color-coded lesser scaup (bluebills) to document migration corridors and habitats used by the birds during spring migration. They also hope to assess body condition. Scaup populations have declined in recent decades.
Individual scaup are marked with one of four colors, based on body condition. People who see color-marked scaup should note the date of sighting, color of scaup, sex of color-marked scaup if known, total number of scaup observed on the same lake, location of sighting from nearest town or lake if known, and county and state. Name, address and phone number should be included so researchers can contact people for more information to send them a complimentary pen-and-ink scaup art print. Information can be submitted by e-mail to: Scaup_Project@LSU.EDU, by phone at (888) 646-6367, by fax at (225) 578-4144 or at www.iowadnr.com/wildlife.
State forest trail meetings coming up
The DNR will host meetings on proposed reclassification and off-highway vehicle trail plans for Pillsbury State Forest and Foot Hills State Forest.
The Pillsbury meeting is April 6 at the Pillager High School while the Foothills meeting is April 12 at the Pine River-Backus High School. Both meetings are from 6-9 p.m. Phone (888) 646-6367 for more information.
More over-limits found on Winnibigoshish
Another group of Michigan anglers has been found with more than their legal limit of perch on Lake Winnibigoshish.
On March 19, DNR conservation officers seized 90 perch from a motel room. Each angler was issued a summons for 30 perch over-the-limit. Charged were Garnet Dale Crawford, 37, Judith Marie Crawford, 44, both of Wolverine, Mich., and Larry Joe Larkin, 23, of Montrose, Mich.
This is the second group of anglers to be found with more than their legal limit of perch in one week. On March 13 two other anglers from Michigan were found with over-limits.
Arrests of both groups was made possible by calls to the DNR's Turn-In-Poachers hotline (800) 652-9093. Cash rewards are given for tips.
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