Missouri dove hunters have a chance to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, garnering hunting trophies while helping ensure good management of mourning dove populations.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is among 34 states participating in an effort to gather practical information about the nation's most popular game bird.
The agency is placing leg bands on approximately 2,500 mourning doves annually at 15 conservation areas.
Hunter reports of taking banded doves will add to scientific understanding of how many doves there are and how hunting affects dove numbers.
The Conservation Department traps doves using wire cages baited with grain and fits the birds with leg bands before releasing them. Banders average around 100 doves per site, but as many as 600 doves may be banded in some areas.
Hunters who shoot banded birds have three ways to report their good luck.
They can send a post card to BIRD BAND, Laurel, MD 20708, call 800-327-2263, or report the band online at reportband.gov/.
Regardless of the reporting method, hunters provide the band number, and where and date the bird was killed.
Missouri's dove season opens Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 9.
The daily and bag limits are 12 and 24, respectively.
For more information about migratory bird hunting, visit mdc.mo.gov/8927, or get a copy of the 2008 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest wherever hunting permits are sold.