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Strange but true: Hunting dove legal in parts of the city

Aug 31, 2004

With the annexation of land by the city, some prime dove-hunting land has become part of Yuma. And since it is illegal to discharge a firearm in the city, it would seem that this land was lost for hunting.

But when dove season opens Wednesday, hunters will be able to shoot in certain areas within the city limits. The Yuma City Council previously revised the city ordinance to designate some lawful hunting zones within the city limits.

Police spokeswoman Leanne Worthen said hunting in the city limits has not been a problem in the past.

"Most people are familiar with the rules, laws and regulations," Worthen said. "And they abide by them."

According to a map provided by the city, it is legal to hunt within the city limits in most areas from Avenue 6E to Avenue 10E between 40th Street and County 13th Street. Also, hunting is allowed from Avenue 8E and Avenue 10E between County 14th Street and County 13_x0014_ Street and also just north of Interstate 8 from Avenue 5E to Avenue 6E.

"They need to always know where they are," Worthen said. "And they need to remember that there are state and federal laws that the hunters are responsible for."

Worthen said police and the Arizona Game and Fish Department receive some reports every year of hunters shooting near buildings.

"We'll get some calls from people saying there are hunters too close," she said. If hunters are in an orchard, they are reminded to look around and make sure that there are no nearby buildings that are hidden by trees.

People charged with discharging a firearm in the city limits face a class 1 misdemeanor and possible forfeiture of their weapon.

Richard Sprague, owner of Sprague's Sports and RV Inc., said plenty of hunters have taken maps from his store to familiarize themselves with the area. He said in the past hunting within the city limits has not been a big issue.

"The city has been annexing property out there quite a ways," Sprague said. "There's going to be a learning curve. But the city has been good about that. I don't know of anyone who has been unfairly cited."

Sprague said most of the local hunters already know the rules and where they can and cannot hunt. However, some of the hunters that come to Yuma for dove hunting need the information.

"We've got maps here, but most people are fairly aware," he said. "Some of the out-of-town people take them. They want to make sure that what they do is correct."

Sprague said Monday that business was strong in preparation for opening day. He said his store had already written out numerous hunting licenses.

"It's been brisk since we've opened the doors," he said. "It's good. We see some faces that we only see once a year."

Other basic dove hunting rules are:
--The season begins Wednesday and runs through Sept. 15. Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise until noon.
--It is illegal to shoot within a quarter-mile of an occupied structure, across or into a road or railway or from a vehicle.
--Littering is illegal. Litter can include spent shotgun shells and dove feathers and parts. A littering ticket can possibly lead to loss of hunting privileges.
--The bag limit is 10 doves per day with no more than six white-winged doves. The possession limit is 20 doves with no more than 12 white-winged doves.
--Doves may be taken only with shotguns that can hold no more than three shells.
--Hunters older than 16 must have a valid hunting license with a Migratory Bird Stamp. All hunters older than 14 must have a license. Migratory Bird Stamps can be purchased at the Game and Fish Department or sporting-goods stores.
Jeffrey Gautreaux can be reached at or 539-6858.

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