The mailboxes of many of the state's dove hunters soon will be flush with surveys the Pennsylvania Game Commission would like to see them complete and return.
The National Dove Hunter Survey - a cooperative effort by state fish and wildlife agencies, all four of the nation's flyway councils and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - will be arriving at the homes of many hunters in the coming days and weeks.
A random sample of dove hunters will receive the survey, and will be asked about their experiences and opinions on dove hunting. Topics include hunter characteristics, time spent hunting, constraints to hunting, and thoughts about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to consider hunters' opinions and preferences about seasons whenever possible. He said he survey results will complement science-based information for the management and conservation of migratory birds.
"If you are a dove hunter and receive one of these surveys, we encourage you to complete it and return it as soon as possible," Roe said. "That's the only way to ensure the opinions of Pennsylvania's hunters are included in this national survey."
There are more than 1 million dove hunters nationally, with seasons in 42 states. Recent statistics for Pennsylvania show an estimated 16,700 hunters harvesting nearly 200,000 doves annually.
Mailings of the National Dove Hunter Survey began on June 20, and survey results will be compiled by the end of the year.