Hunting Eurasian Collared-Doves

Eurasian collared-dove
Eurasian collared-dove. (Stock photo)

Question: Do I need a hunting license and tags to take Eurasian collared-doves? (Charlotte)

Answer: To hunt Eurasian collared-doves, you need a license and an upland game bird validation (formerly known as a “stamp”). You don’t need tags. Hunting season for most species of dove occurs in two seasons: Sept. 1-15, and from the second Saturday in November for 45 days (this year, that’s Nov. 7- Dec. 28). But you can hunt Eurasian collared-doves year-round, and there’s no bag limit.

Why is there no bag limit? California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Migratory Upland Game Bird Biologist Megan Crane explains that the Eurasian collared-dove is one of the most successful terrestrial invasive species on the planet. Originally native to India and surrounding areas, the Eurasian-collared dove spread rapidly across Europe and Northwest Africa in the 1900s. In the 1970s, they were accidentally released in the Bahamas. They then dispersed to Florida and have been making their way across the continent ever since.

Eurasian collared-dove held by CDFW employee
A Eurasian collared-dove captured by a CDFW scientific aid during a banding operation. (CDFW staff photo)

Expansion of the Eurasian collared-dove follows human development. They are very well adapted to human-dominated landscapes and thrive in agricultural areas. Because they are an invasive species, the greatest concern rests in their potential to outcompete native species and spread disease. While there’s not a ton of evidence that they’re outcompeting native species in California, Eurasian collared-doves are known vectors of avian trichomoniasis, a virulent pathogen that can wipe out vast numbers of our native band-tailed pigeon and mourning dove. As you can see, Eurasian collared-doves can be a bit problematic — which is why there’s no limit on taking them. Happy hunting, and we hope you bag a few!

Age change for junior hunting license

Question: How do you explain taking hunting opportunities away from 16- and 17-year-olds with the new age limitations on Junior Hunting Licenses to those 15 and younger? I was looking forward to enjoying two more years of youth hunting opportunities with my son. Now that’s not possible. (Marcus)

Answer: The law allowing youths up to 18 years old to purchase a Junior Hunting License has changed. Per Fish and Game Code, section 3031, a California resident or nonresident now must be under 16 years of age on July 1, 2020, in order to be eligible for a 2020-21 Junior Hunting License. If your child turns 16 on or before July 1, he or she is not eligible to buy the junior hunting license, even if they would be purchasing it before July 1.

We understand your frustration with the age change. Not only are Junior Hunting Licenses available at a significantly reduced price – $13.53 compared to $51.02 for an adult Resident Hunting License – but the Junior Hunting License qualifies kids for many special youth hunting opportunities for big game, upland game birds and waterfowl throughout the year. These high-quality hunts are sponsored by CDFW, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several nonprofit wildlife conservation groups.

The change to the Junior Hunting License age occurred in the State Legislature – not with CDFW or the California Fish and Game Commission. In 2014, state legislation was signed into law that increased the Junior Hunting License age eligibility from youths under 16 to those under 18, granting kids and their families two extra years of discounted licenses and opportunities for special youth hunts. That legislation, however, included a five-year sunset provision that expired with the 2019-20 license year. Efforts to extend the Junior Hunting License age failed in the Legislature last year and eligibility reverted back to those under 16 for the 2020-21 hunting seasons.

Legislation has been introduced once again to increase the eligibility age for a Junior Hunting License back to those under 18. We are hopeful the issue will be addressed particularly in light of our well-received efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate (R3) hunters and anglers of all ages in California.

Redeeming a fishing license gift voucher

Question: I received a CDFW gift voucher for a Resident Sport Fishing License. How do I go about redeeming that to get my actual fishing license? (Luis)

Answer: Congratulations! California sport fishing licenses make terrific gifts. As you noted, a gift voucher is not a valid license and must be redeemed for a sport fishing license before fishing. There are a few ways to do this.

If you have access to a printer, you can redeem your voucher online at CDFW’s website. After entering your voucher information, you will receive a temporary fishing license to print out and use immediately until your actual license arrives in the mail.

Ordinarily, you can also redeem your voucher at authorized retail license agents statewide or at one of CDFW’s license sales offices. It’s best to check ahead before heading out. CDFW has closed its license sales offices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), and some retail license agents similarly have closed or reduced their hours of operation.

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