October 27, 1998

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Via E-mail: letters@plaind.com
1801 Superior Avenue, N.E.
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-2198

Re: Issue One: Banning Mourning Dove Hunting

Dear Editor:

I was sadden this morning to read Benjamin Marrison's article entitled "Mourning Doves Hunting Ban May Fail, Poll Shows." I cannot help feeling that the majority of voters are unclear about the content and intent of this ballot initiative.

Unfortunately, this indicates that the deceptive campaign advertising being produced by the Ohioans for Wildlife Conservation (a misnomer, if ever there was one) is working--they are lying to the public and the public is believing the lies.

Ohioans need to know that Issue One has nothing to do with animal agriculture, outlawing hunting, or ending medical research utilizing animals. Issue One is very simple. A "yes" vote will ban the hunting of mourning doves and return them to the protected status they had prior to the 1994 vote by Ohio Legislature (not Ohio citizens, I might add) that passed by just one vote. A "no" vote will allow hunters to continue killing mourning doves.

Regarding the article and the debates for and against, Mr. Woodford said, "I can see if they're going to go out and kill 50 or 100, but if they limit it, I don't have a problem at all." To educate Mr. Woodford and anyone else interest regarding limits and birds taken, I offer the following information.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources/Wildlife Division (on their website) referring to the first season [1995] after the mourning doves were removed from the protected list states: "Ohio held its first dove hunting season in 19 years. Preliminary estimates from the All-Species Harvest Questionnaire showed approximately 40,000 hunters spent 225,000 days hunting and harvested 415,000 birds during the 1995 season. This was significantly higher than expected. We also made substantial progress on the development of a mourning dove chapter for our strategic plan."

Further, according to the Wildlife Division, the current mourning dove season is 9/15 through 10/14 and 10/30 thru 11/28 (60 days) with a 15-bird/day limit. If each of the hunters in the 1995 questionnaire is hunting today and were to shoot just the limit on one day within the season, you are looking at about 600,000 birds slain. That's only one-day's hunting by each hunter.

To address the claims that out of state extremists hired professionals to gather signatures for this initiative. I, for one, have lived in Ohio my entire life, and I helped gather signatures to put this issue on the ballot. I did receive some compensation though, a good feeling that I'd contributed and followed my conscience, and a nice thank you note from the Save the Doves organization for my efforts.

Putting aside double-talk and alarmist tactics of opponents let me say that the issue comes down to simply whether or not you think we need another species hunted. This bird yields little meat and often many many more are merely wounded or go unrecovered than are collected and eaten by hunters. They are live target practice more than anything else.

A pair of mourning doves regularly visits my backyard and my ground-feeder. When they're not eating, they sit together in the grass out back with all their feathers gathered up, and I watch them happily from my kitchen window. I feel privileged when they visit my yard and don't want to lose either of my special guests, and that is why I will vote "YES" on Issue 1 to doves returned to the protected status.

Sincerely,
Leigh-Anne Dennison


UPDATE:

This letter was printed in the Sunday, November 1st, edition of The Plain Dealer.
Despite the efforts of many, many Ohio animal lovers, this Issue failed to pass (40%/60%).

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