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News Articles

24
Better dove hunting chances this season

Special to the Sun

It's time to load up on shotgun shells: Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists are expecting increased dove hunting opportunities this year.

The early dove season opens today (Wednesday, Sept. 1) and runs through Sept. 15. The late dove season is Nov. 19 through Jan. 2. During the early season, adults can only hunt doves until noon. Juniors can hunt doves all day during the early season. There is also a juniors-only dove hunt at the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area Sept. 4 and 5. Youth are eligible to participate in youth hunts up to and throughout the calendar year of their 17th birthday. A hunting license is required for participants age 14 through 17; participants under age 14 need not be licensed if accompanied by a licensed adult.

Migratory game bird biologist Mike Rabe predicts a good year for dove hunters in Arizona. Biologists monitor dove populations in two ways: previous year harvests and call counts. Based on this information, populations for 2004 are estimated to be higher than they were in 2003, which should mean increased hunting opportunities.

Rabe said call counts are conducted in May each year, and between May and Sept. 1 "A lot of things can happen. White-winged dove populations are particularly difficult to predict because these birds often leave the state (they migrate to Mexico) in early September."

Everything is looking good so far.

Department biologists are asking hunters to check their harvested doves for bands. This is the second year of a banding study to examine dove harvest rates and movements. "It's easy to miss a band on a dove since they are so small, but it would assist department management efforts if hunters would call us when they find bands," Rabe said.

Bands can be called in at (800) 327-2263 (BAND). Hunters can keep the bands and get a certificate identifying the age, sex, location and date the bird was banded.

Don't forget that hunters must possess a special Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp in addition to their license to hunt doves. A feathered wing must be left on each bird for identification purposes until the harvested bird reaches its final destination. Migratory game birds, such as doves, can only be taken with a 10-gauge or smaller shotgun capable of holding not more than three shells, or by bow and arrow, crossbow or falconry.

Central Arizona

For central Arizona, hunters should experience decent action this year thanks to late spring rains and moderate summer temperatures giving the bird populations a boost.

Doves rely on available food and cover for nesting success, explains Jon Hanna, a department biologist based in Mesa. "Winter rains encourage weed production and other food resources giving doves what they need to reproduce. Last winter, Arizona experienced another dry season. Late April rains may have saved the day for doves and other small game species," he said.

Wrangler football gets underway against a tough opponent

Wickenburg High School opens its 2004 football season this Friday against a tough opponent - one that a year ago handed the Wranglers' their worst defeat in the nine years that Tom McGoldrick has coached at WHS.
Come early Friday for Ralph Moran Field dedication

Fans are invited to come early to Friday night's season opening football game at Wickenburg High School, for the dedication of Ralph G. Moran Field at the new Wrangler Stadium.
Cross country teams complete time trials, open season with 6-team meet at W.C.C.

Wickenburg High's boys and girls cross country teams completed time trials last week, with returning letter winners Terry Ames and Alex Gallagher turning in the best efforts.
Morning Star Karate students do well at Sedona tournament

Students from Morning Star Karate in Wickenburg recently competed in the Red Rock Rampage Karate Tournament. The tournament was Aug. 14 in Sedona.
Better dove hunting chances this season

Special to the Sun

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