A dove hunter survey found some, well, obvious facts.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service conducted the first ever comprehensive mourning dove hunting survey in the United States, with the help of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), National Flyway Council.
While the intention was great (finding out who hunts dove and what affects their participation), the findings left a little to be desired.
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Patrick Durkin’s piece from the Green Bay Press Gazette pointed out that one of the first ‘Key Findings’ touted in the report is that “dove hunters are typically white males, 45 years of age.”
Tell us something we don’t know. A continued read through the ‘Key Findings’ and you’ll see things like hunting licenses and permits, gear, and especially shotgun shells as main hindrances. Those are all financial in nature, and as Durkin asked, why weren’t questions asked about individual health, hunting partners, family life, work obligations, weather patterns, other hunting opportunities and similar matters?
The movement to ban lead ammo in wingshooting is also a subject of the survey, with 51% of respondents agreeing that the tactic stems from animal rights groups looking to end hunting altogether. A total of 15.6% disagreed with that sentiment, but most conservation-minded hunters have long accepted the lead ban as meaningful to the environment, and don’t really think it’s that big of a deal anymore.
No matter the results, we’ve got high hopes that the information will at least go towards a better overall management and regulation process when it comes to dove hunting.
“As wildlife managers, we saw this unique opportunity to conduct a comprehensive national survey in order to gain perspectives of dove hunters versus the piecemeal regional efforts conducted in the past,” said Ron Anglin, Chair of the National Flyway Council, in the release. “Since doves are managed at both the regional and national levels, we now can look to this survey to provide us with hunter attitudes and opinions on the issues managers must consider.”
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The need for studies and surveys in this regard is there, but they need to ask the right questions and seek the right answers. Then, they need to take that information and put it to good use.
We’ll see how well this information is used nationwide, but until then, we’ve got dove hunting season to prepare for.
What are your thoughts on the survey? What should it have asked?