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Illinois Outdoors

Lee Lewis waits for doves in a welcome bit of shade Monday afternoon in Knox County during opening day of the Illinois dove season.

Dove season starts slowly

September 02, 2008 at 10:38 AM

High hopes met with high temperatures Monday for the dove season opener.

Unfortunately, harvest totals were not so inflated in what was a slower-than-usual opener for many.

“The heat affected the success rate in that the doves didn’t fly early and hunters left early,” said Rick Knisely, site superintendent at Snakeden Hollow State Fish and Wildlife Area in north-central Illinois. “But even when they started flying better they didn’t come in like they usually do.”

Knisely’s comments summarized what many were saying Tuesday in the aftermath of opening day. While some hunters reported limits, they were in the minority in central Illinois. Best action was reported by those who hunted in the morning on private fields with good stands of sunflowers, though I did hear one report of three limits that came early off a gravel road. And Adam Jaegle of Kingston Mines was part of a group of nine hunters who shot limits in a field near Groveland.

“It wasn’t a normal opener. It was a struggle. I didn’t talk to many people that had great openers,” Jaegle said. “I think that rain last week kind of knocked us out.”

Here are totals for some state sites for opening day (more to come):

  • Babe Woodyard State Natural Area—15 hunters, 0 doves, 1 shot. Fields were very poor.
  • Banner Marsh—85 hunters, 217 doves, 2.52 doves per hunter
  • Chain O’Lakes—25 hunters, 8 doves, 0.3 dph
  • Des Plaines—Estimated 115 hunters, 700 doves
  • Double T—127 hunters, 77 doves, 0.58 dph. Neighboring private fields hunted hard in the morning, which may have impacted results. Then again, shouldn’t that concentrate doves into fields that were hunted in the afternoon?
  • Green River—146 hunters, 841 doves, 5.8 dph
  • Hennepin Canal—96 doves
  • Iroquois County—58 hunters, 17 doves, 0.29 dph. Dale Bowman of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the opener was slow. Obviously, he was correct. Last year this site accounted for 2,007 birds for 249 hunters overall—8.06 per hunter for the entire season.
  • Jim Edgar-Panther Creek—152 hunters, 1,509 doves, 9.93 dph
  • Johnson-Sauk Trail—Despite good fields, hunting was very slow.
  • Jubilee College State Park—34 hunters, 27 doves, 0.79 dph.
  • Kankakee—87 hunters, 648 doves, 7.45 dph
  • Mackinaw River—97 hunters (including 37 youth hunters), 307 doves, 3.16 dph
  • Madigan State Park—30 hunters, 427 doves, 14.2 dph. That total included one hunter who shot out in 45 minutes.
  • Matthiessen—116 hunters, 919 doves, 7.9 dph
  • Mautino—122 hunters, 509 doves (133 cripples), 4.17 dph.
  • Middle Fork—Estimates of a handful of hunters and just 20 doves.
  • Pyramid State Park—250 hunters, 900 doves, 3.60 dph. Another typical southern Illinois hotspot with good fields but very few birds.
  • Ramsey Lake—59 hunters (22 youths), 359 doves, 6.08 dph.
  • Sam Parr—100 hunters (20 youths), 600 doves, 6.0 dph. Site did well to get sunflowers in before heavy rains.
  • Sangchris—Estimated 50 hunters and 650 doves. “We were fortunate to beat the rain early and get our crops up,” said Steve Carey, site superintendent. “I’d say on average our hunters were taking about three hours to get their birds.”
  • Shabbona Lake—60 hunters, 276 doves, 4.60 dph
  • Shelbyville SFWA—108 hunters, 1,196 doves, 11.07 dph
  • Silver Springs—127 hunters, 234 doves, 1.84 dph
  • Snakeden Hollow—107 hunters, 405 doves, 3.79 dph. Well below last year when 116 hunters shot 1,365 doves and well below the five-year average of 800 doves for the opener.
  • Ten Mile Creek—Usually a southern Illinois hotspot, hunting here was “not too good” according to John Irvin. “We had maybe two good fields, one with about 800 birds and one with about 400. But we just don’t have a lot of birds yet. I don’t think they’re here yet.”







Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Was out at the archery range at Silver Springs late afternoon yesterday.  Sounded like a lot of shooting going on.  Curious to know how things went over there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 11:06 AM

I’m sad to see that people enjoy causing intentional death to a beautiful bird like the dove.  These birds come to my feeders and are interesting to watch and listen to,  and to shoot them (or any animal) is a terrible “sport”...It troubles me that humans can so separate themselves from other living creatures and justify killing them as if animals’ lives are totally inconsequential. Do you think it is any less painful for a dove to get shot than a primate (which is what humans are)?  The answer is no!  We consider it a horrific tragedy when any human being is killed, yet birds are killed by the thousands for no good reason, and few people even think about it.  If you have never owned a pet bird, then you cannot know the wonderful personalities and intelligence they possess, and how interactive they can be with people. They become just as attached to their owners as your hunting dogs do.  Please consider what I have said and take a more humane approach to life…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 02:45 PM

Betsy is right. Birds do have a place in our lives. Generally right next to the mashed potatoes. Yumm! Please pass the gravy.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 03:17 PM

I had a horrible nightmare one time…I drempt I was a vegetarian tree hugger..i woke up drenched in sweat and thought to myself, thank god im not like them…Thank you god for letting it be only a dream!!!  HAHAHAHA By the way..why are you following a hunting forum?  Shouldn’t you be involved with a bird watching group?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 03:40 PM

Betsy came to this forum with the notion that most of us are idiotic barbarians.  I suspect that the responses she has received have confirmed that in her mind.  She makes a serious point; the idea that killing is per se bad is not a terribly revolutionary proposition.  However, her post is also a bit patronizing, assuming that none of us have ever considered the ethics of hunting and that if we simply reconsider her words, we will stop this activity.  I would ask Betsy to do some more thinking, for her words reveal a significant misunderstanding of what it is to hunt.
Fundamental is her statement, “It troubles me that humans can so separate themselves from other living creatures and justify killing them as if animals’ lives are totally inconsequential.”  In my experience, most hunters are closer to and have a deeper appreciation of the animals they hunt.  Hunting is spiritual.  I never feel closer to nature or God as when I leave the modern world and reinsert myself into the food chain.  This is how the world is made.  Do you remember what the two earliest, and hence most basic, human activities were?  Hunting and gathering.  I agree with Betsy that we are primates (i.e., animals).  As animals, when we hunt, we are returning to our roots in a very real sense.
I also disagree that “people enjoy causing intentional death to a beautiful bird like the dove.”  Few hunters would enjoy shooting a dove off of you bird feeder any more than they would enjoy shooting the half-tame squirrels that populate most towns.  Simply killing is not hunting even though it is the culmination of the hunt. 
Finally, I guess that if hunting were only sport, it would be terrible.  But it is not, despite some flawed attempts to justify it on those grounds.  In my heart, I believe it is spiritual.  If you cannot grasp this, think about and look to certain Native American cultures for guidance.  I believe there is a tribe in norther Canada or Alaska that still takes a whale every year, to maintain their relationship with nature.
For the hunters here, I suggest we take people like Betsy seriously, respond politely, and state our cases as persuasivley as possible.  Regardless of whether she is a vegetarian tree hugger, bird lover, or just hyper-empathetic, she is also another thing: a voter.  I saw a survey recently that said that 75% of Americans do not oppose hunting.  We need to keep it that way.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 05:22 PM

Another thing to consider when talking about dove hunting is population of birds. I am not familiar with the dove population in the state of Illinois, but I am sure it is fairly substantial.  Take the state of Texas for example.  Their estimated dove population is 50 million birds.  After the hunting season and normal predation, the population gets down to about 25 million birds.  After the spring hatch it is right back up to 50 millions birds.  That is the great thing about this “RENEWABLE RESOURCE” that GOD gives us to be stewards of.  Look how many dove there are in Argentina. They have become pests down there consuming millions and millions of dollars of crops each year.  Can you imagine how many deer there would be if there were no hunting season?  God help us.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 05:47 PM

Let’s get back to the slow opener. My son (12) went on his fisrt dove hunt Monday. He managed to put eight in his bucket before we quit. We spent about four hours in the field. Four of us accounted for twenty-four total. The past three years the same field produced a limit for me in less than thirty minites and four limits in less than an hour. I think because of all the wheat fields around this year the doves are more spread out and aren’t useing the sunflower patches as much. Most of the doves we dressed had wheat in thier crops.  DEW Livingston County

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 08:38 PM

Congrats to your son! I hope that was the start of a long life of enjoyment.“Sounds like he even out shot some people”.
Never thought about the wheat..thanks!

Happy Hunting!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 09:00 PM

Plenty of dove in central Illinois.  Got my 15 in about 30 minutes today at a co-workers sunflower field.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/02 at 09:09 PM

Wow, a interesting blog by Betsy, dove hunting around me has been pretty slow, seems like alot of birds moved out already and with the front coming in expect more to do the same.  Everyone has their own opinion on hunting but beleive me that this Betsy is a little extreme with her love for birds. “Birds are killed for no good reason”, its called hunting, its a management tool to control populations.  I guess in Betsy’s world animals are suppose to overpopulate the earth so they can die a horrible death due to starvation and disease. It is not about the kill for me, its about the whole experience. My opinion is that keeping a once wild bird in a cage is cruel, I wonder if Betsy has seen how they trap some of these birds that are either turned into breeding pairs or sold to live their long lives in a small cage.  I have seen birds get beaks ripped off, toes bit off, etc, etc by these bird lovers other birds,  now that is sad to me.
Birds belong in the wild whether they are cage raised or wild caught.  Now think about that Betsy.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 08:07 AM

Well I am a female and I went Dove Hunting for the fisrt time on Monday and boy it was a rush! My husband got a lot of greif when he returned Tuesday back to work from his co-workers, but oh well. I look forword to this weekend so I can try to get some more. It is fun and they are great EATING. Cannot wait unitl Duck season!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 10:49 AM

  How was that steak that you had for dinner that someone hit in the head to kill for you to eat!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/03 at 06:10 PM

“The happy cows of California are fiction.”

Wish I had wrote that. This has been a very good discussion. For that I actually thank Betsy, since it was her missive that prompted all the well-worded replies.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 09/04 at 07:48 AM

I am an avid environmentalist and conservationist who just graduated from the U of I with a degree in Environmental Science.  I have been called a “tree-hugger” by numerous of my friends, but recently I have become an avid hunter.  What “Betsy” doesn’t understand is that hunting is the humane action to take.  Perhaps if humans had not eradicated most of the predator species then overpopulation and all of the diseases that accompany it would not be a problem.  The real barbaric action is letting a deer die from one of the numerous over-population diseases.  I wish people would do a little research before they fly off the handle and offend an entire group of people who contribute more to conservation than “Betsy” ever will.  Animals, such as doves and deer, were intended by nature to be eaten and that is all that needs to be said.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/09 at 07:11 PM

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