Genders split over hunting of doves
ST. PAUL -- A mourning dove may be a sweet songbird or part of a good meal, but the Minnesota House came down on the side of food. "They are very tasty," Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, said Tuesday before the House approved a mourning dove hunting ...
ST. PAUL -- A mourning dove may be a sweet songbird or part of a good meal, but the Minnesota House came down on the side of food.
"They are very tasty," Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, said Tuesday before the House approved a mourning dove hunting season. "There are many reasons we should be hunting mourning doves."
"It is a beautiful songbird," countered Rep. Alice Seagren, R-Bloomington, as she tried to remove the hunting season from an environmental funding bill.
The House voted 70-53 to establish a mourning dove hunting season in the first two weeks of September. Only men representatives spoke for the season; only women spoke against it.
A similar bill is making its way through the Senate.
The mourning dove -- with a distinctive "cooah, coo, coo, coo" call--is a gray-brown bird 10 inches to 12 inches long with purple-green iridescent markings on its neck.
Hackbarth said western and southwestern Minnesota would see an economic boost by attracting 50,000 dove hunters. He said the state would have about 12 million doves, before they head south.
"They are shot all the way down to Mexico," Hackbarth said, because 38 other states allow dove hunting.
Rep. Barb Sykora, R-Excelsior, said that is all the more reason not to hunt doves.
"I was just delighted to know at least in Minnesota they can raise their young safely before they head south," she said.
Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, reminded lawmakers the Bible says a dove carried an olive branch to Noah after the great flood.
"You hardly ever see a picture of Jesus unless he is surrounded by mourning doves," Kahn said.
"If you don't pass the Seagren amendment you should pray for forgiveness," she added.
Seagren said the state's 12 million doves would disappear quickly because it takes 20 to 24 doves for a six-person meal.
"To get kind of a nice family meal, we are going to shoot
1 million mourning doves," Seagren said.
Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, pointed out that the hunting season is supported by state and federal wildlife officials. The dove is about the same size as the long-hunted quail, he said.
Sykora didn't see it that way.
"I would ask you to just think about this sweet, little bird," she said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707