Mourning Doves have been protected from hunters in Minnesota since 1946. There is no legitimate reason to hunt Mourning Doves, or to change Minnesota’s longstanding protection of these lovely birds. Doves have no meat or trophy value, and therefore would be used primarily for target practice. There are many other species of birds for hunters to shoot. These gentle backyard birds do not cause any damage, pose no threat to agriculture, and there are no overpopulation concerns.
In 2002 & 2003, hunters pushed hard for passage of legislation to open a season on Mourning Doves. With the help of MHS and its members, the bill was defeated. Unfortunately in 2004, though MHS, the Humane Society of the United States & others worked hard to protect the Mourning Doves, the bill to allow the hunting of these birds was passed.
HUNTING BEARS WITH HOUNDS
Minnesota has had a long tradition of banning hound hunting of black bears because the majority of citizens, hunters and non-hunters alike, oppose the practice. In both 2004 and 2005, hunters pushed hard for passage of legislation to allow bear hunting with hounds. In both 2004 and 2005, this bill was defeated thanks to the help of the Minnesota Humane Society and its members!
The Minnesota Humane Society opposes the use of hounds for hunting bears for the following reasons:
- Hound hunting is highly stressful to prey. Hounds may pursue the bear for hours. Long chases can severely stress bears, causing overheating and potential brain damage.
- Bear cubs are often killed. Mothers and their young are frequently separated during the chase, and hounds are sometimes known to tear apart the young.
- Hound hunting is unsporting. The hunter releases a pack of hounds to pursue a bear. The frightened animal climbs a tree to escape and is then shot by the hunter.
- Hound hunting is very cruel to the dogs. Bears will fight their pursuers—sometimes crippling or killing the hounds. In one bear chase study, a dog died four hours into the chase from “exhaustion”.
COYOTE BOUNTY HUNT
In 2005, the Minnesota Humane Society and others spoke out against a bill to allow counties to offer bounties to hunters taking coyotes, and the bill was defeated. This bill was introduced as a measure to decrease the number of coyote attacks on sheep and livestock. Bounties were used in the United States, including in Minnesota, but were discontinued in the 1960s because they were not effective. Bounties do not work and do not target the problem animals. Also, wolves may be taken accidentally. Other more effective options include using professional trappers and improved livestock security measures.