Photo courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Seven species of doves are indigenous to Texas, and all are flourishing, said Shaun Oldenburger, who is the Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird program leader for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Experts said the hunting outlook for the first dove season this year should be good.
Posted: Sunday, August 3, 2014 4:30 am
SUSAN SHARP | FME NEWS SERVICE | 0 comments
BY SUSAN SHARP
FME NEWS SERVICE
TEMPLE — The dove population is alive and well in Texas.
Seven species of doves are indigenous to Texas, and all are flourishing, said Shaun Oldenburger, who is the Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird program leader for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Part of Oldenburger’s job is to measure the population levels of doves in the state. He has especially been keeping an eye on two species that are legal to hunt, the mourning and white-winged doves, because both populations have fluctuated during the past decade or so.
The mourning dove population has been declining for the past seven or eight years; however, that dove species is still one of the most numerous in the United States, he said.
“We still have a lot of mourning doves,” Oldenburger said. About 160 million mourning doves live in Texas, and 350 million of them live in the United States.
White-winged doves also are numerous, although from the 1960s to the 1980s their numbers were dropping. Because of hunting restrictions, their numbers have increased, he said. Now, the Texas population of these birds is estimated at about 15 million, and special restrictions were lifted.