Factors affecting mourning dove harvest in Missouri

Thomas W. Bonnot, John H. Schulz, Joshua J. Millspaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura)management efforts have focused on reducing uncertainties in harvest management at national and regional scales, but there remains considerable interest in issues related to local, intensively managed areas. Our objective was to evaluate effects of different local management strategies, including field management and regulations, and weather, on the number of hunts and the number of doves harvested annually. We collected harvest information from dove hunters, and area management characteristics from wildlife managers on 9 public hunting areas in Missouri, USA from 2005 to 2009. Number of hunts on an area was best explained by number of hectares of crop on the area; however, acreage above 50 ha offered limited increases in the number of hunts on a site. The most supported model for the number of doves harvested contained a positive effect of acreage of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) in good or excellent condition. This model was followed by a closely competing model reflecting increases in the number of doves harvested when an area used daily lottery and shot-type restrictions; however, complete overlap between these 2 regulations prevented separation of their individual effects. To manipulate hunting opportunities and harvest levels in Missouri, managers can be most effective by controlling hectares and condition of managed croplands, especially sunflowers. However, further work is needed to assess the relative impacts of lottery regulations and nontoxic-shot restrictions on dove harvest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Harvest management
  • Hunter participation
  • Missouri
  • Mourning dove
  • Zenaida macroura


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