Washington, DC--The special interest lobby is pushing Congress to appease the dove shooting agenda for a dangerous renegotiation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in order expand the dove season.
House Concurrent Resolution 275 presses the United States to negotiate with other signatories to the bird treaty (Canada, Mexico, Japan and Russia) to allow the dove shooting season to start the last week of August in 35 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Under the Act, it is currently illegal for states to allow hunters to shoot mourning doves before September 1st (a date initially established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "reduce" the impact of hunting on nesting doves).
H.CON.RES.275 SUMMARY: Expresses the sense of Congress that, to provide a fair and equitable opportunity for individuals to hunt for mourning doves: 1) the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 should be modified to allow for mourning dove hunting during the last week in August in areas north of 37 degrees north latitude; 2) the United States should begin discussions with the appropriate parties to ensure that all Americans have an opportunity to harvest migratory mourning doves in an equitable manner; and 3) hunters and wildlife management agencies in States north of 37 degrees north latitude should support an earlier opening date for the mourning dove hunting season. Expressing the sense of the Congress that hunting seasons for migratory mourning doves should be modified so that individuals have a fair and equitable opportunity to hunt such birds. (Introduced in the House 11/16/2001, passed the House Resource Committee 2-27-02, reported by Committee and placed on House calendar 3-4-02, passed the House by "voice" vote 3-6-02 with a motion to reconsider--few members were on the floor of the House at the time, click here).
According to Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, (who introduced the resolution and is committee chairman for the House Resources Committee), "The mourning dove flies south at the first nip of frost in the air. By the time hunting season opens (September 1st) in half of the states (35 states to be exact), a hunter is lucky to find a hardy bird or two left. Most doves in northern states have lit out for warmer climates by then."
The ranking democrat on the panel Rep. Bob Underwood, D-Guam, said he was concerned about the bill because the population of mourning doves is declining across North America, but he did not object since the resolution is not binding.
David Dolton, who tracks the population for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was quoted as saying the government cannot assess the impact of changing the season "without conducting a very costly, major study. It's questionable for one week of hunting."
The proposal concerns many about what the consequences of such a radical international move would have on the Act and the mourning dove population. Wildlife officials warn that renegotiating the treaty to change the dove season opens it up to other changes - with far ranging repercussions; not to mention a higher percentage of dependent fledglings are still in the nest during late August.
To negotiate a new treaty is irrational for many reasons. There is no "sound science" to support this resolution. The "wants and whims" and the emotional tantrums of what some might think as "fair" should not be the "basis" for determining an earlier season that will cut into the prime nesting season of the species.
SPC press contacts have confirmed the groups who are pushing for this resolution are hoping to use it as a tactic to assist them to build support to legalize dove shooting in the non-hunting states they have always failed in...Michigan was specifically mentioned. Herein lies the real intentions of this resolution.
Source, including but not limited to: Go Memphis, Scripps Howard News Service, National Journal News Service, Congressional House Resource Committee, Thomas Legislative Information.
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Page Updated: 03/26/02