Lawmakers Duck Dove Call
- Detroit News
The state Legislature is taking aim at the mourning dove again. But this time it is going after the tiny bird with a blunderbuss that could bring many other protected animals in Michigan under fire.
A public outcry forced the state Senate to back down last year on a proposal that would have rescinded Michigan's 96-year-old ban on hunting mourning doves.
But a bill that passed the House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Committee last week would shift the power to decide which animals are legal game from the Legislature to the appointed Natural Resources Commission.
Since members of the NRC do not have to face the voters, and are friendly to hunters, passage of this bill would almost certainly turn the doves into targets.
"These are much-loved back yard birds," says Wayne Pacelle, senior vice-president of the Humane Society of America. "They should not be shot for target practice."
We opposed the measure that was introduced last year for several reasons. The dove is not a source of meat, it is not a pest, its population does not require culling and there is no shortage of other game birds in Michigan.
While we support hunting as a sport and a significant source of revenue for the state's tourist industry, the only reason for revoking the ban on mourning doves is for the sheer joy of blasting away at a moving target.
But the current measure is much worse than last year's. In delegating the power to decide which animals should be protected, the Legislature under this bill would be giving overly broad powers to define game to the NRC and shielding such decisions from a response by the others.
Simply because of the clumsy scope of the new bill, state Humane Society officials feel that it can be defeated. It should be. Because now the issue is far wider than mourning doves.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs recognizes this and has not supported this bill, as it did the previous one.
The Legislature should take the hint and vote it down. This bill does no favor to those who love the state's wonderful outdoors.
- Songbird Protection Coalition