Dove hunt­ing will be dif­fer­ent this year

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - DALE BOWMAN dbow­ | @Bow­manOut­side

Avery dif­fer­ent dove sea­son comes to Illi­nois’ pub­lic sites. Dove hunt­ing opens Tues­day, as usual on Sept. 1. That’s the only usual thing. At least there will be hunt­ing at pub­lic sites (with strict pro­to­cols).

There will be no daily draws and no stand­bys. Hunt­ing the first five days is by as­sign­ment for those who re­ceived a per­mit. Per­mit hold­ers should have re­ceived a let­ter with a field/stake as­sign­ment and other in­for­ma­tion. My let­ter ar­rived Mon­day. Throw in one more curve.

Last week, a reader emailed, “Is there any talk about sus­pend­ing the non-toxic ammo re­quire­ment for dove sea­son in state-con­trolled ar­eas this year? No one seems to have the right steel shot in stock.”

I had no idea. I have plenty of No. 7 non-toxic shot left. But he was right. I found a cou­ple of boxes at one box store, oth­er­wise empty shelves.

“Although we sym­pa­thize with hunters that may ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fi­culty lo­cat­ing non-toxic shot this year, we can­not re­move the non­toxic re­quire­ments from our state sites,” ex­plained Mike We­fer, chief of wildlife for the Illi­nois De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. “These rules were en­acted to pro­tect the wildlife and nat­u­ral re­sources on our pub­lic lands. The haz­ards of in­gest­ing lead shot for water­fowl, up­land birds and other wildlife are well-known, and most hunters sup­port the switch.”

Ad­just­ments come in all forms. With the dif­fer­ences this year, Nate Goet­ten, site su­per­in­ten­dent at Jim Edgar Pan­ther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, top site in the state, said they would be hunt­ing all six fields so all per­mit hold­ers will be hunt­ing over sun­flow­ers.

Nearby, Des Plaines SFWA is the con­sen­sus pick for good sun­flower fields.

“Ours are as good as any­body’s,” site su­per Jeff Wep­precht agreed. “But we ain’t see­ing many doves.”

That can change, ei­ther way, lit­er­ally overnight.

“Doves had good re­cruit­ment this year, de­spite early heavy rains,” wildlife bi­ol­o­gist Bob Massey mes­saged. “Last two months have had good con­di­tions, dere­cho notwith­stand­ing. . . . Now we just need the doves to co­op­er­ate and to avoid re­ally cool nights to push them south.”

It could get in­ter­est­ing. The week­end fore­cast in­cludes a cold snap.

De­tails on the 2020 sea­son are at dnr.illi­­ing/Pages/DoveHunt­ing.aspx. HOF

Con­grat­u­la­tions to Mike Con­lin, Illi­nois fish­eries chief for 30 of his 38 years with the IDNR (and De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion), for his selec­tion to the Illi­nois Out­door Hall of Fame. Wild things

Fi­nally had a ruby-throated hum­ming­bird work­ing the mil­lion bells in my wife’s hang­ing bas­ket . . . . Steve Stat­land emailed, “Fi­nally saw my first nighthawk [Mon­day night].” He’s ahead of me. Stray cast

If Mike Mul­li­gan says bump one more time when he means mound on The Score, I don’t care if he is a for­mer Sun-Times­man, I’m driv­ing down­town and do­ing to him what an ot­ter does to a sucker.


A dove sits on a wire with star­lings above the weed seeds along a ditch in a col­lar county.

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