Facts On Ontario’s Dove Hunt

More Facts Regarding Ontario’s Dove Hunting Season

An Assessment on the Feasibility of Reinstatement of a Mourning Dove Hunting Season in Ontario

Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario Region

17 September 2011


Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) are one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds in North America. Fall population estimates for the United States (U.S.) alone range from 350 to 475 million birds (Dunks et al. 1982, Otis et al. 2008). This species breeds from southern Canada throughout the U.S., all Caribbean Islands and into Mexico. Mourning Doves will winter throughout much of the breeding range, but the majority of birds migrate to winter in the southern U.S., Mexico and further south into some areas of Central America. Although at the northern part of their range, Mourning Doves are a common bird of rural and urban areas throughout most of southern Canada.

The Mourning Dove is listed as a migratory game bird under the Migratory Birds Convention and is thus subject to federal protection and regulation in both Canada and the U.S. Environment Canada is the federal agency with the responsibility to ensure conservation and management of migratory birds, including Mourning Dove, in Canada. In the U.S., protection, conservation, and management of migratory birds is the responsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Mourning Doves are one of the most popular and heavily harvested North American game birds, particularly in the U.S. where they are hunted in 40 of 50 states. In the U.S., approximately 1 million hunters annually harvest about 15 to 20 million of these birds, typically representing 5% to 10% of the estimated fall population (Otis et al. 2008). Data from the 2010/11 hunting season shows that an estimated 960,000 hunters harvested 17.2 million doves across the Eastern (EMU), Central (CMU) and Western (WMU) dove Management Units in the U.S. (Seamans et al. 2011). Mourning Doves are also harvested in Mexico and Central America, but no reliable harvest estimates are available for those areas (Otis et al. 2008).

Hunting Mourning Doves is much less common and harvest is much lower in Canada than in the U.S. To date, only two provinces have instated dove hunting seasons, British Columbia and Ontario. British Columbia is currently the only province with an annual Mourning Dove hunting season which was instated in 1960. In recent years, hunter numbers and harvest have declined with fewer than 100 hunters estimated to take part 2

in the harvest and the estimated number of doves harvested as low as 200 per year (Environment Canada, National Harvest Survey data).

Ontario was the first province to instate a Mourning Dove hunting season in 1955. Purportedly, only a small number of birds (~ 300) were harvested during the 1955 season (Anonymous 1956 in Reeves 1993). At that time there likely was low interest and low hunter participation because Mourning Doves were much less abundant and less widespread throughout the province than at the present time. The Mourning Dove hunt was in effect for only the 1955 season in Ontario season, and doves have not been hunted in the province since that time. However, over the past several years hunters have become increasingly interested in reinstatement of a Mourning Dove season in Ontario.

Over the past 5 years, the Canadian Wildlife Service – Ontario Region (CWS – ON) has received requests from hunting organizations and individual hunters (Appendix 1) to reinstate an annual fall Mourning Dove hunt in the province. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), one of the largest organizations representing Ontario hunters’ interests, has requested and financed independent studies (conducted by Long Point Waterfowl) evaluating Mourning Dove population dynamics and public opinion of instating a hunting season in the province (Barney et al. 2007). These studies highlight that Mourning Doves have undergone considerable increases in both population size (winter) and breeding distribution throughout the province over the last three decades and are hunted sustainably in adjacent U.S. states which have comparable abundance indices to Ontario. Further, results from a public opinion poll showed that most Ontario residents questioned in 2006 would support a hunting season (58% in favor, 25% neutral and 17% opposed) if they could be harvested sustainably (Barney et al. 2007). The OFAH also draws attention to the economic benefits and increased hunting opportunity for Ontario residents that would result from having a dove hunting season.


Get out with your kids and friends and enjoy some time in the field,

Dove hunting is challenging and a great way to enjoy October day

Dr, Scott Petrie and son enjoy time together during a Dove hunt in SW Ontario For more info check out www.longpointwaterfowl.org

Dr, Scott Petrie and son enjoy time together during a Dove hunt in SW Ontario
For more info check out www.longpointwaterfowl.org

Response to Ontario’s Dove Hunting Season

Dr. Scott Petrie response to Charles Cecile concerns regarding Ontario’s Dove Hunting Season


As a media recipient of Dr Scott Petrie email about Dove hunting I felt this topic important.

Please contact either person if you have concerns,

BUT please  respect their views  and stay on topic


Subject: RE: Mourning Dove Hunt
From: “Scott Petrie” <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, September 25, 2013 11:31 pm
To: “Charles Cecile” <[email protected]>

From: Charles Cecile <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, Sep 23, 2013 at 9:02 PM
Subject: [Ontbirds] Ontario Doves
To: [email protected]Hi Birders,The Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada) has changed its Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations to allow the hunting of Mourning Doves in central and southern Ontario starting this fall.  This is an area of Ontario that hosts many breeding and migrating bird species.My understanding is that the hunt is mainly for target practice and sport for hunters.  But how many other bird species will be shot by frustrated or ignorant hunters?

Shame on Scott Petrie (Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Long Point Waterfowl) for pushing to get this hunt approved.  He is reported to have said that “the dove hunt will be great for young hunters. “Because we have so many (doves), it’s a good opportunity for them to get out and shoot and practise their skills.”http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4051895-doves-get-another-reason-to-mourn-in-september/

( You can respond [email protected] about the above article )

Apparently, Birds Studies Canada (Port Rowan) hasn’t taken an official position on the hunt.

If you care about this issue, let your opinions be known to those who make these decisions!  Write to: Jack Hughes, manager of population conservation with Canadian Wildlife Service Ontario, Environment Canada.

Charles Cecile

From Dr. Scott Pertrie

Mr. Cecile,
It has come to my attention that you have a limited understanding of the Ontario Mourning Dove hunt and the importance of hunting in general. I have attached several documents that you should read prior to making public statements about any form of hunting or about my contributions to our hunting heritage.
There are two possible scenarios here, 1/ you will ignore my suggestion to read these document and will continue your ill-informed and counterproductive ways/announcements, or 2/ you will read these attachments, thereby becoming informed about the importance of hunting and the potential for birders and hunters to team-up for conservation, following which you will send a retraction to Ontbirds and an apology to me.
For all involved, I sure hope you make the right choice!
Dr. Scott Petrie
Mr. Cecile,
I generally try to avoid discussions with people that make illogical and ill-informed statements. However, as you opted to make your absurdities public (which you were chastised for), I will respond. See my responses (in bold) to your comments in red below:
Dr. Petrie,  
First let me say that I was very disappointed to read about the Mourning Dove hunt that is taking place in here in Ontario.  Mourning Doves are small birds compared to game species such as waterfowl and as such would provide little meat to eat. 
Totally illogical as humans eat many small birds, animals and invertebrates, e.g., woodcock, sardines, mussels, frogs legs, etc. What matters is that doves are the most abundant game bird in North America and they are delicious.
However, what really worries me is that many other species of birds may be shot as less knowledgeable hunters see very fast flying birds going by.  I can think of many songbirds and accipiters that may sit on hydro wires and fly quickly by.
It is illegal to shoot from roadways making most hydro wires off limits to hunters. Also, hunters are taught not to shoot birds from wires and we prefer the added difficulty of shooting birds on the wing. 
Doves are harvested in 40 states and one other province. Surely if incidental harvest of non-game species was an issue then it would have been reported/studied. Please direct me to the reports/studies upon which you base this concern.
I don’t want to get into a discussion about the values and ethics of hunting with you.  I think that we can agree to disagree on that.
Of course you don’t want to get into this discussion with me!! One of the inconvenient truths is that hunters are MUCH more philanthropic when it comes to contributing to conservation. In fact, hunters give 12 dollars for every dollar that non-hunters do. As predicted, you didn’t read the reports that I sent you!
But I am concerned about the process that led to Environment Canada’s changing the hunting regulations. 
That’s because you know little or nothing about the process and you failed to even realize that there was a consultation period.
I have yet to speak to or hear from any birder in Ontario who knew about the Mourning Dove hunt prior to the article on the hunt that appeared in the K-W Record newspaper back in late August.  I contacted Ontario Nature who informed me that they didn’t know about the hunt until very recently.  And apparently, Nature Canada also didn’t know about the changes in the hunting regulations.  These are organizations with thousands of members.
I have spoken with many birders that were aware about the consultation process. Based on the fact that CWS extended the consultation period from 1 year to 2, any person or organization that was not informed can only blame themselves.    
I feel that Environment Canada’s and Canadian Wildlife Services’ consultation process was too limited and that more extensive consultation should have occurred with the birding community.
See above – I suggest that if you want to comment on regulatory changes then you should access the reports that are in the public domain and are widely disseminated, including to a number of animal rights groups.  
I’ve noted the CWS document you sent on how population estimates and dynamics of Mourning Doves were arrived at.  However, I didn’t see a study or assessment of what impacts the hunt would have on other bird species.  Did CWS carry out any such studies?
No, and why should they? If you feel that they should conduct such studies then provide them with the evidence (scientific or even anecdotal) that the US dove hunts impact other species.
If you feel that my comments with respect to you were offensive, then I am sorry.  I was referring to your comments that were reported in the Record article.  If you were misquoted in the Record article, please let me know.  I do feel that Ontario residents should have been better informed of the proposed changes to the Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations prior to a decision being made.
I wasn’t misquoted in the article – there are many ecological, economic and social benefits associated with a Mourning Dove season in ON and your comments have done absolutely nothing to change my mind! I ask that you stop using your ill-informed anti-hunting sentiments to drive a wedge between birders and hunters!

Again any feedback or concerns please keep it respectful and on topic

IHunterApp Maps Out Hunting Across Canada Podcast #1316

IHunterApp founder Mark Stenroos has an app for hunters across Canada, great for Canucks and Americans headed north to hunt in Canada. Detailes maps of WMU, regulations hunters can understand, filled with local interests that helps hunters. Give sunrise/set times for your GPS location. Add waypoints or let family and friends know your location and much more. Updated every year free and costs just $5.99. Check it out and thanks for subscribing to http://www.RippleOutdoors.com/podcast

Please Leave a comment and subscribe on iTunes



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Learn How to Hunt Pheasants During the Essex Youth Day Hunt

 Still a few spot left for young pheasant hunters to sign up, so apply ASAP.

Youth Pheasant Hunt September 28th

The Essex Youth Pheasant Hunt on September 28 th will be promoting hunting for 25 apprentice hunters and mentors during Youth Hunting Day September  2013

During the day kids will learn hunter safety, ethics and social camaraderie with their mentors and volunteers and  enjoy a great time.

The day will consist of Orientation and Hunter Safety

Trap station will be set up for shooting

How to field dress a pheasant                                               Young Pheasant Hunter

LUNCH provided


Pre Registration for 25 apprentice hunters and mentors is required.

Contact Len ; 519.839.4009 home or cell 519.987.4009

Course is Filling Up Fast so don’t wait, call before September 18th.

Canadian High School fishing clubs participation needed

Sign up your Canadian School fishing club to win $4000

Media Release

Berkley fishing tackle is going back to school. High school that is, with the launch of the first International High School Fishing Club Challenge. Beginning August 15th, high school fishing coaches can register their school to participate in the program. The program lasts through the school year and offers numerous fishing related opportunities, rewards, product samples and prizes. 

”The program is designed to encourage more students to participate in fishing activities through high schools,” says Roxanne Coleman, Senior Field Marketing Manager, Berkley Fishing. “Throughout the year clubs will be given a variety of team and individual challenges and the successful completion of those tasks will earn the club rewards and points for the team.” 

The ultimate goal is to win the Berkley High School Cup. The winning team receives $4,000 in prizes for that fishing team. Berkley will also be awarding 2nd place, 3rd place and honorable mention finishers. This program is not just about catching the biggest or most fish; it’s about learning fishing skills, nature conservation and creating a lifetime hobby. 

”Berkley Fishing is stepping outside the box to bring a one-of-a-kind fishing program to high schools in the US and Canada,” said Chris Hockley, Berkley Brand Marketing Manager. “Our objective is to enhance the student’s enjoyment of fishing and all that comes with the sport.” 

Fishing clubs do not have to be sanctioned by the local board of education, but must be a part of the high school, just like the debate or math clubs. 

For more details and to sign up team coaches (only one per school) register at http://www.berkley-fishing.com/high_school_registration. – See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/296117#sthash.f89Nv04b.dpuf

Cabela’s Color Phase Camo Podcast #1315

Cabela’s Color Phase camo clothing co- inventor Ben Harvey talks about the many benefits of hunting clothing that changes color as conditions change during you’re hunt. You can view Cabela’s website here

Please subscribe to the podcast show and leave a comment on itunes
Episode Resources

Ripple Outdoors

Youth Hunting & Conservation Course a Great Success!

Long Point Media News

Long Point Waterfowl recently held its 5th annual Youth Hunting & Conservation Course (YHCC).  The YHCC was held from July 20th to the 25th at our Research & Education Centre. Thirty youth (ages 12 – 16) from across Ontario attended the 6 days of classroom certification, hands-on activities, hunting demonstrations and FUN!!

Reporter Jeff Tribe, of the Tillsonburg News, wrote a very informative article about this year’s YHCC. The link to that article, with many of Jeff’s great photos from the event is:


Scott’s Adventures in the High Arctic

Scott Petrie (LPW Executive Director) was lucky to be invited to participate in a spring Snow Goose hunt with Canada in the Rough (Beasley Brothers) in June.

The hunt took place on Southampton Island, just below the Arctic Circle. The TV program will air in early 2014. Scott indicated that it was the trip of a lifetime!


  • September 21: Long Point Youth Heritage Hunt
  • September 22: Duck Day 2013, at the LPW Research & Education Centre


Please visit our website www.longpointwaterfowl.org for more information about these and other events.

OTHER NEWSThe 2013-14 Canadian Migratory Birds Regulations are now available on line at :http://www.ec.gc.ca/rcom-mbhr/default.asp?lang=en&n=762c28ab-1Of Special Note: changes to Black Duck regulations, and the opening of a Dove hunting season in Ontario.

The Outdoor Shopper Channel Podcast #1314

The Outdoor Shoppers Channel Founders and CEOs Speed Bancroft abd Terry Jones highlight the benefits of this outdoor shopping channel in this Hunt Talk episode with Host Peter Wood. Get your credit card ready for some outdoor bargains. Their website is http://www.theoutdoorshopper.com. Please subscribe and leave a comment on iTunes.
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