Want to take part in a national study? Take a look... OHIO'S HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO HELP IN NATIONAL MOURNING DOVE STUDY COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters are encouraged to report any banded mourning doves they take during the upcoming season in order to help wildlife agencies nationwide manage this important migratory game bird, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Ohio has joined 25 other states in a three-year national study to better understand the impact of hunting on mourning dove populations. The study, begun in 2003, involves banding doves to determine harvest rates; estimate annual survival rates; provide information on the geographical distribution of the harvest; and develop and refine techniques for a future dove-banding program. The U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are coordinating the study. "Hunters are a critical link in this mourning dove banding study," said Dave Scott, wildlife research administrator with the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "Any hunter who kills a banded mourning dove needs to call 1-800-327-BAND (2263) to report the band number and location where the bird was taken." Banded birds can also be reported through the Internet at www.pwrc.usgs.gov by selecting the "Bird Banding Lab" link. Hunters can keep the bands and will be provided with a certificate identifying the age, sex, date and location where the bird was banded. "Because of the importance of mourning doves as a migratory game bird, it is important that wildlife managers collect good population and harvest data to guide annual management decisions," said Scott. More than 85,000 doves will be banded in the next two years by wildlife biologists throughout the study area. Doves will receive a metal U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service band inscribed with a set of numbers and a toll-free telephone number. Banded doves will be released at the point of capture. Mourning doves are one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. The mourning dove is also a very popular game bird that is hunted in 40 of the lower 48 states. More individual mourning doves are harvested annually than all other migratory game bird species combined. In Ohio, 50,000 dove hunters annually harvest approximately 300,000 mourning doves. "Sportsmen can expect excellent dove-hunting opportunities in 2004," said Scott Hull, project leader with the Division of Wildlife's Olentangy Wildlife Research Station. Ohio's dove hunting season has been set for September 1 through October 17, and December 21 through January 2, with a daily limit of 15 birds and possession limit of 30 birds.