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Changes possible in fall dove season

The state Game and Fish Commission on Thursday heard proposals for minor changes for the 2013-14 dove hunting season at a meeting held in Mountain Home.

Luke Naylor, migratory bird program coordinator, told the commission that the earliest allowed opening of dove hunting by federal regulations is Sept. 1, which falls on Sunday this year. The agency nearly always sets Saturday openings for hunting seasons, which would be Sept. 7, several days after the Labor Day holiday.

The commissioners agreed to study the early migratory bird proposals, solicit input from hunters and set the seasons at their July meeting in Little Rock.

Naylor said a possible rule change would affect hunters who shoot both mourning doves and Eurasian collared doves. The latter are an invasive species, and there is no daily bag limit on them. Mourning doves have a daily limit of 15.

He said one possibility when a hunter takes both species is to allow the field dressing of mourning doves, “breasting out” to most hunters, but require they leave a wing attached for Eurasian collared doves for identification purposes.

Federal guidelines have not been handed down for teal hunting, and Naylor said there is talk at the federal level of increasing the daily limit, which has been four for many years.

The season dates proposed:

Mourning dove and Eurasian collared cove, Sept. 1-Oct. 20 and Dec. 21-Jan. 9.

Teal, Sept. 7-22.

Rail, Sept. 7-Nov. 15.

Woodcock, Nov. 2-Dec. 16.

Common Snipe, Nov. 1-Feb. 15.

Purple gallinule and common moorhen, Sept. 1-Nov. 9.

Early Canada goose, Sept. 1-15.

Northwest Canada Goose Zone, Sept. 21-30.

In other action Thursday, the commissioners approved $50,000 for emergency repairs at Mallard Lake near Manila in northeastern Arkansas. The north levee of the 300-acre lake was breached Monday. The lake’s level has dropped about a foot.

The commissioners also approved making an offer of $100,000 for a 40-acre in-holding at Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area in Newton County. There is a current legal action growing out of a timber cutter taking trees on Game and Fish Commission property in 2008 and 2009.

The commissioners elected Ron Duncan of Springdale as chairman. He replaces Ron Pierce of Mountain Home, whose seven-year term ends June 30. Ty Patterson of Texarkana was chosen vice chairman.

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