(WI) Court clears way for mourning dove hunt


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Drizzt
March 31, 2003, 09:06 PM
DNR: Court clears way for mourning dove hunt
BY JR ROSS
Associated Press

MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources has the authority to allow a mourning dove hunt, an appeals court ruled Thursday in overturning a decision that halted a hunting season for the state's symbol of peace almost two years ago.

The DNR immediately announced it would go ahead with plans for a 60-day hunt to begin Sept. 1.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to overturn a circuit court's injunction preventing the DNR from holding a mourning dove hunt that was supposed to begin in September 2001.

The court ruled that though state statutes do not specifically list the mourning dove among the game birds that can be hunted in Wisconsin, the DNR still has the authority to establish a hunt for them.

The mourning dove, known for its soft cooing call, is a common visitor at backyard feeders, but it also is hunted in many other states.

The DNR established rules for a mourning dove hunt in 2001. But the Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Cranes and Doves filed a lawsuit to stop the hunt, arguing the Legislature never intended for the bird to be hunted.

Dane County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser then issued an injunction just days before the mourning dove season was to begin, halting the hunt. He ruled the definition of "game" in the state statutes that give the DNR authority to establish hunting seasons is ambiguous, and there was evidence the Legislature did not intend for mourning doves to be considered game birds.

Calls to the DNR and co-founders of the Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Craves and Doves were not immediately returned Thursday.

The original hunt, slated to last from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30 in 2001, was expected to draw 30,000 hunters.

http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/local/5499352.htm

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