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Archive for Sunday, August 22, 2004

Missouri seeks to crack down on shell litter

August 22, 2004

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For a wingshooting challenge, nothing beats mourning doves. Perched on a telephone line, the somber gray birds seem almost tame.

But these same birds top 50 mph on the wing, and are capable of aerial maneuvers an F-18 pilot would envy.

That's why the mourning dove is North America's most popular game bird and, indirectly, why Missouri is launching a crusade to reduce litter in fields managed especially for doves.

Doves are such difficult targets that even talented shotgunners often fire two or three shots for every dove they bag.

The average at conservation areas where records are kept is five shells per dove.

Last year, Missouri hunters killed more than 800,000 mourning doves.

It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that dove hunting generates a lot of potential litter.

"We are talking about something like 4 million empty shotgun shells and 160,000 cardboard boxes that the shells came in," state official Dave Erickson said.

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