New juniors-only sandhill crane season announced

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July 17th, 2008

New juniors-only sandhill crane season announced

PHOENIX — The 2008-2009 hunting regulations for dove, band-tailed pigeon and Eurasian collared-doves, as well as the 2008 regulations for sandhill cranes, are now available online at www.azgfd.gov/rules. Printed copies should be in department offices and license dealers after July 25.

The dove season will follow the same guidelines and bag limits as in previous years, with the early season open from Sept. 1-15, followed by a late season from Nov. 21, 2008 through Jan. 4, 2009. Youth 17 and younger can enjoy the juniors-only program that allows for statewide, all-day hunting during the early season, and a special hunt at Robbins Butte Wildlife Area, held on Sept. 6-7. For details on the Robbins Butte youth hunt, contact the Mesa regional office at (480) 981-9400.

“The super abundant rains this past winter and early spring have resulted in a robust seed crop in the desert and a tremendous crop of saguaro blossoms. This should result in a nice fat population of dispersed mourning doves and white-winged doves,” says small game management supervisor Mike Rabe.

“Dove hunting is a deep-rooted family tradition, and in many cases, is the best way to teach the next generation about the value that hunters bring to wildlife management,” says Recruitment/Retention Coordinator Tristanna Bickford. “However, families without a hunting background are encouraged to come to the Robins Butte Dove Hunt where we will have mentors to teach youngsters how fun and safe dove hunting is.”

Included within the dove regulations are the season dates and bag limits for band-tailed pigeons and Eurasian collared-doves. Band-tailed pigeon season starts Sept. 12 (north zone) or Sept. 19 (south zone) and runs through Oct. 5. The season for Eurasian collared-doves is open now and runs year-long from Sept. 1, 2008 – Aug. 31, 2009. Hunters are reminded to keep one feathered wing attached to all harvested birds, including Eurasian collared-doves, until they reach their final destination. Also, hunters 16 and older are required to have the Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp. The stamp is not required to harvest Eurasian collared-doves.

The 2008 sandhill crane season offers a change with a juniors-only hunt Dec. 12-14. This is the last hunt of the season and should offer the greatest opportunity for a successful hunt. There are 50 slots available and the harvest limit is two birds per hunter.

Sandhill crane season is regulated through the Arizona Game and Fish application process. Hunters interested in hunting sandhill cranes must apply for a hunt permit-tag. Applications can be found at any department office, license dealer, or downloaded from www.azgfd.gov/rules (select the “Hunt Permit Tag Application [PDF, 312kb]).” Applications must be submitted by U.S. Mail only. There is no online process and hand deliveries will not be accepted. Applications will be accepted after Aug. 4. All applications must be received by Sept. 2 – postmarks do not count.

Did you know, mourning doves are the most numerous, widespread game bird in North America? They are prolific breeders with an average life span of 1-2 years. Controlled hunting seasons maintain them as a sustainable wildlife resource. Dove hunters are a valuable conservation tool. There is an excise tax on ammunition that is contributed to the Pitman-Robertson Fund, which in turn is returned to state wildlife agencies for the management of wildlife, which benefits all citizens. Additionally, hunters provide hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy, by purchasing ammunition, gas, food and lodging while engaging in this American tradition.

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