Inaugural mourning dove season begins Thursday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Inaugural mourning dove season begins Thursday

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JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) -

Early Thursday morning, many Iowans will take their first shot at hunting mourning doves. Lawmakers passed the controversial bill this spring, giving Iowans a new gamebird, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources a matter of weeks to prepare for the inaugural season.

"This is the first opportunity to hunt them in the state. A lot of people go out of state, and then there's going to be people who have never hunted them, and now might give it a try," said DNR Wildlife Manager Tim Thompson.

The rush to legalize dove hunting was met with a lot of controversy, something the DNR is accustomed to dealing with when introducing a new game animal.

"It's hard to break a tradition. When you've never had it, it was difficult because a lot of people said -- why shoot doves?" Thompson noted.

The DNR reports, mourning doves are the most abundant game bird in the country. They're also a challenge, even for the most experienced hunter.

"If you watch a dove fly, it doesn't fly straight! So it's a very tricky target," said Thompson.

Mourning dove hunting is ideal for folks who can't, or don't want to, walk out too far. As Thompson explained, you can hunt in fields just a few hundred yards off the road and have a successful day.

"We tried to have a lot of our plots in places close to parking lots and roadways so they only have to walk 100 yards. So they can get out and sit and still enjoy the sport," said Thompson.

It's also great for kids who don't have the patience, or strength, to hunt long hours or carry heavy guns.

This season, hunters can use lead shot to hunt mourning doves. However, Thompson believes most people will use non-toxic shot, especially if they're hunting other birds, like pheasant or duck.

The season opens September 1, and runs through November 9th. Shooting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

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