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Great American Outdoors


Banding mourning doves in Montana!

Countless boxes of shotgun shells, 5 gallon buckets, t-shirts and cut off jeans.  Those are a few of the things that come to mind when I think of dove hunting as a kid.  I’d tag along with my dad to neighboring farmer’s corn field.  One particular dairy farmer would leave several stands of corn just for us dove hunters.  (I liked to call myself a dove hunter even though I was more of the retriever.)  Later in life, I began hunting with my future husband.  It was always a jovial time afield.  I haven’t been on a dove hunt for quite a few years but I still remember the fun time and delicious meals we would grill up after from the day’s harvest.

Montana, along with many other states, band mourning doves for management purposes.  Data provided by tracking banded birds provides population and habitat information.   Keep reading for more information on the program and how to report data if you harvest a banded bird.

“Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife biologist Ryan Williamson is in full swing of trapping and banding this small game bird.”

“Mourning doves are one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America, and are also a popular game bird with hunting seasons established in 40 of the lower 48 states. As part of an effort to estimate population size, harvest rates and regulations, mourning doves are banded throughout the United States including within Montana’s Region 6.”

‘“Banding mourning doves helps wildlife managers estimate population size and harvest rates for the species, and this in turn is used in the federal framework to establish dove hunting regulations for each state,” says Williamson, who is assisting with banding operations in Montana.”‘

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