Monday, August 6, 2007

There's a New Dove in the Texas Sky

Like the lyrics to an old Eagles song “Johnny come lately, the new kid in town everybody loves you, so don't let them down.”
The new kid on the dove hunting scene is the Eurasian Collared Dove. Also like the song all the hunters seem to love the new dove and as a fan of exotics and more hunting opportunities I don’t think the Eurasian Dove will let us down. As a non-native introduced species there is no bag limit and no season. This means they do not count towards the daily bag limit and Texas hunters may shoot as many as they like. It is a great target and also is excellent table fare.

The Eurasian Collared Dove is an introduced exotic dove, grayish buff in color with black rings around the back of the neck. It is a little larger than a Whitewing with a long squared off tail. It has a flying style much like the Mourning Dove. They are native to the Indian Subcontinent and have expanded across Europe and North Africa. The first Eurasian Doves in the Western Hemisphere apparently escaped from a bird dealer in the Bahamas in the 1970s and were found in Florida in the early 1980s. Birds were first seen in Texas in the mid 1990s and now number several hundred thousand strong in the State.
Although not near as numerous as Mourning Dove and Whitewing Dove the Eurasian Dove is here to stay. I believe it will fill a niche in the habitat and not really have an impact on our native species but time will tell. Perhaps it is here to replace the Passenger Pigeon. However the Eurasian Dove will be a welcome target and help fill hunter’s bags in the future. Good Shooting, Wild Ed

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