The Honorable Matt Milosch
S0989 House Office Building
P.O. Box 30014
Lansing, MI 48909-7514
October 20, 2003
Dear Mr. Milosch:
Wildlife Watch, Inc. is an animal protection organization
that educates the public about the mismanagement of wildlife by state and
federal wildlife agencies, and the destruction of wildlife and ecosystems in
the name of sport hunting and game management.
It has come to our attention that HB 5029, a bill that
would list mourning doves as game, thereby granting the natural resources
commission permission to open the first hunting season on these animals, is
up for a hearing before the House Conservation and Outdoor Recreation
Committee. On behalf of our greater than two thousand members and supporters
in the state of Michigan, we urge you to vote "no" and "without
recommendation" on this dangerous bill when it comes for a vote.
Since 1905, mourning doves have enjoyed protection from
hunters under state law, and this most cherished of Michigan's songbirds has
been for more than 5,000 years an internationally recognized symbol of
peace. There are no legitimate reasons to use these birds as little more
than moving targets, since they are truly as benign as any species can be.
Mourning doves eat seeds that would grow into unsightly weeds, pose no
threat to other species or plant crops, and regulate their own population
very efficiently without the interference of man.
Over the past 37 years, hunting has contributed to the
significant declines in mourning dove populations that have been recorded in
the Eastern, Central and Western Management Units which comprise the states
where mourning dove hunting is legal. (Dolton, D.D., and R.D. Holmes. 2002.
Mourning dove population status, 2002. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Laurel, Maryland. 30 pp.) Michigan does not need to add to these infamous
A similar bill to legalize dove hunting in New York was
defeated with help by the telephone company. Mourning doves like to sit on
the phone wires and AT&T could foresee the result if the bill had passed.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources supports this
bill, because it will help to pay the salaries of Department employees.
Since the salaries of DNR employees are paid through funds raised by the
sale of hunting licenses, the officials of the DNR support this bill out of
a conflict of interest. This is the truth behind state game management
agencies throughout the United States.
We join the Lansing State Journal and millions of Michigan
residents and stand in opposition to this bill what so clearly panders to
violent special interest groups. Surely Representative Tabor must have more
important things to do than lobby for the passage of a bill that will
encourage the destruction of peaceful doves. Our members and supporters urge
you to vote against this dangerous and misguided bill when it comes for a
vote. Your reply will be greatly appreciated.