Revisiting effects of hunting on mourning dove nest survival

John H. Schulz, Xiaoming Gao, Peng Shao, Zhuoqiong He, Joshua J. Millspaugh

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3 Scopus citations


We reconstructed a historical dataset from a national mourning dove Zenaida macroura nesting study evaluating the effects of hunting on nesting birds during the September portion of the hunting season using Bayesian hierarchical models; the reconstructed dataset contained 707 nests. The original nest survival estimate of 96.3% (nonhunted zones) fell within the range of our average daily nest survival rates and credible intervals (CI) of 97.2% (95% CI: 96.2-98.0%) for nonhunted, but the original nest survival estimate of 95.5% (hunted zones) was lower than our average daily nest survival rates of 96.9% (95% CI: 96.1-97.7%) for hunted zones. Similarly, overall nest survival for areas and years combined for hunted zones was 44.3% (95% CI: 35.3%, 53.9%) and 48.1% (95% CI: 36.9%, 59.8%) for nonhunted zones. The most parsimonious model contained the primary covariates of hunted or nonhunted status (hunted or paired hunted) or paired hunted or nonhunted nest searching plot (zone), and year. We observed lower nest survival for the hunted or delayed-hunt zones compared to the zones with hunted or nonhunted season structure. Regional differences may be explained by states with early and late hunting seasons separated by 21 d compared to other pairs where hunted and nonhunted areas occurred simultaneously. Our reanalysis provides managers additional assurance that the basic premise of limited or no effect of harvest on mourning dove populations is still valid but continued monitoring of population status is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Bayesian hierarchical model
  • Dove hunting
  • Mourning dove
  • Nest survival
  • September hunting
  • Zenaida macroura


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