Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Don't Hunt the Doves


Wildlife Watch Inc.
Helping People, Environment, and Wildlife
PO BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561
Voice:(845) 256-1400; Fax:(845) 622-7999
e-mail:
wildwatch@earthlink.net
Contact: Joe Miele, Vice President
201-368-8271

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 statistics.

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.

Sincerely,

Joe Miele

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