Population Status Report
Population Trend Overview: Significant declines confirmed in all three management Units. Dove populations from groups of non-hunting states in the Northeast and Upper Mideast had much higher annual survival rates. The population increased in Michigan, while a downward trend was specifically noted in Indiana and Ohio.
The following report consists of three Management Units: Eastern Management Unit (EMU), the state of Michigan is a part of the EMU and consists of 27 states, dove hunting is permitted in 18 of those states. Central Management Unit (CMU), consists of 14 states, dove hunting is permitted in 12 states. Western Management Unit (WMU), consists of 7 states, all states permit dove hunting.
Excerpts from 2002 Mourning Dove Breeding Population Status Report
Over the most recent 10 and 37 year periods, significant declines were indicated for doves heard in the Central and Western Units. Additionally, in the Eastern Management Unit, a significant decline was detected over 37 years...
Although not known precisely, the fall population has been estimated to be about 475 million (Dunks et al.1982, Tomlinson et al.1988). However as there is evidence of population decreases since this estimate was made from data collected in the 1970's, we believe that the mourning dove population has declined to slightly more than 400 million in the United States.
The EMU was further divided into 2 groups of states for analyses. States permitting dove hunting were combined into one group and those prohibiting dove hunting into another.
EMU Population Trends: 10 and 37 year -- Analyses indicated significant declines over the most recent 10 and 37 year periods for the combined hunting states. No significant trend was found over either time period for the combined nonhunting states. For the Unit, there was no trend indicated over 10 years, but a significant decline shown over the long term.
2001-2002 Population Changes -- The population did not change significantly between years [01-02] in the combined hunting states (-2.6%). The index for the combined nonhunting states increased significantly (26.5%).
The population increased significantly in Michigan and the New England states (non-hunting states)
Between 1966 and 2002, an increase was noted in New England (non-hunting states), while a downward trend was noted in Indiana (with additional declines noted over past 10 years) and Ohio (hunting states).
CMU Population Trends: 10 and 37 year -- A significant decline in doves heard was indicated for the Unit over both time periods.
WMU Population Trends:10 and 37 year -- A significant decline in numbers of doves heard was indicated for both time periods. Analyses of doves seen also indicated a significant decline for the long-term periods.
Arizona shows a decline over 10 years while all states in the Unit have a decline between 1966-2002.
State Surveys: In summary, it appears that the dove harvest throughout the United States is on the decrease.
Wildlife professionals have long recognized that reliable harvest estimates are needed to monitor the impact of hunting...there are serious problems with using either current state or federal harvest surveys to monitor the national or regional harvests of mourning doves...
Harvest Dynamics: The role that various sources of direct mortality and their interactions have played in the population dynamics of mourning doves is sometimes unclear...high harvest rate historically and the role of hunting in this decline is unknown...
We examined the influence of various sources of mortality on doves...the sources for mortality...was hunting (65.3%), avian predators (16.3%), unretrieved hunter kills (10.2%), unidentified predators (4.0%), mammalian predators (2.0%), and unknown causes of death (2.0%).
Understanding the effects of harvest on Mourning Dove populations is a multi-faceted challenge...
Dove populations from groups of non-hunting states in the Northeast and Upper Mideast had much higher annual survival rates.
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Page Updated: 07/30/02