By JIM FOSTER
Special to the Parade
Fact: The white-wing dove is a Mexican and South Texas Bird. Over the last decade the species has moved in a slow exodus to establish new colonies and new territories in the northern part of the state. However, this is the area that was most popular for years and where the “classic” white-wing party hunting began.
This special hunt has continued for decades and has developed a party flavor of people gathering for a common goal. Some hunters will even cook and BBQ in the dove fields so as to be ready to hunt when the season opened at noon. But, as the birds moved north, things begin to change, hunting in Mexico is all but over and changes are being made.
So, once again the state of Texas (TPW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has decided we in the southernmost counties in Texas will not be included in the scoping process unless some of us drive to Corpus Christy or San Antonio, or write a letter or email.
TPW will be gathering input (scoping meetings) on possible dove hunting changes in conjunction with upcoming public hearings in San Antonio and Corpus Christi.
Information will cover the expansion of the Special White-winged Dove Area and a reduction of mourning doves in the daily bag for the early four-day season. Didn’t the special hunting start here where no comment is wanted?
The public hearings will begin at 7 p.m., to be followed by scoping sessions, and are set for March 7 in Corpus Christi at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi, NRC Rm. 1003, 6300 Ocean Dr., and March 12 in San Antonio, at the Lions Field Community Center, 2809 Broadway.
In 2012 the USFWS, approved an expansion of the current special white-wing area boundary in South Texas nearly doubling its size. The boundary would be expanded east to Interstate Highway 37.
The USFWS did express concern about potential increased harvest of mourning dove in the special area. If Texas accepts the expansion, the USFWS is mandating a two-bird daily bag limit reduction for mourning dove during the early season.
It must be noted that other fishing and hunting related issues will be covered at these meetings and not limited to this possible regulation change. I guess we Valley folks don’t require a public meeting for regulations affecting our area. I know times are tough but we have a voice as well.
Additionally, public input on the dove zone scoping items can also be submitted electronically at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/feedback/public_comment/scoping/ by email to Shaun Oldenburger at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in writing to Shaun Oldenburger, PO BOX 788, San Marcos TX 78667.
Editor’s Note: To see more of Jim’s writing and photography go to: http://fosteroutdoors.blogspot.com/. If you have comments or news for Jim Foster, email him at email@example.com.