North Carolina is one of the thirty-eight states in which is legal to hunt Mourning Doves. In fact, here in NC we have three separate dove seasons every year. We even maintain land to attract doves for hunters, calling them "Gameland Dove Fields." These fields are seeded with some or all of the following: millet, milo, sunflowers, sorghum, or corn. The fields are mowed just before the start of the hunting season.
The final dove season of the year opened on Friday and we began to see more and more doves coming to our feeders. Wonder how they know that our community does not allow any hunting? The season will continue through January 10. The daily limit for each hunter is fifteen doves per day.
I will tell you that I have eaten my share of doves throughout my lifetime. My father was a hunter and he didn't hunt anything we didn't plan to eat. And I can assure you that doves are extremely tasty, marinated in an Italian dressing and cooked on the outdoor grill. Doesn't taste like chicken, either. It's WAY better than chicken. Today, I'm not at all certain that I could eat a dove.
Here are a couple of shots of a dove who, along with his mate, are hanging around our house:
Hey, Lady. You're not going to shoot me, are you?
I am a bird lover, but I have no problem with dove hunting. We have an extremely healthy Mourning Dove population here and across the United States. Unlike a lot of trophy hunters, dove hunters almost always eat what they shoot.
----------I must admit, I did have a little concern about this statement from the Website of Cabela's, the well-known outfitter:
Dove hunting is also popular with kids and women because they can shoot often, meet lots of other hunters and learn about safe firearm handling practices. Dove hunting is an interactive situation, and a dove field with many birds flying overhead will provide lots of stimulus for any age hunter. I frequently see fathers with young kids around dove fields. Small kids who are too young to shoot like to fetch doves and participate in the hunt when permitted.
----------I didn't like the insinuation that women somehow would be bored if not for shooting often and meeting other hunters. And somehow, the vision of little kids running around the fields like little retrievers just doesn't suit me at all.
----------I have mixed feelings about most things in life and my feelings about hunting in general and dove hunting in particular are also mixed. I have no problem at all with hunters who actually consume the animals or birds they legally hunt. I am opposed to hunting just for the sake of hunting.
While I never try to attract Mourning Doves to the feeders, I feel obliged to help them out a bit during hunting season. After that, guys...you're on your own again.