Mourning Dove Harvest Characteristics, Survival, And Population Trend In North And South Carolina

Within a study area comprising 6 South Carolina counties and 4 North Carolina counties, mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) harvest characteristics, survival, and population trend were studied. High survival and productivity are the factors responsible for the high mourning dove population on the study area. From 1968 through 1975, the study area had a stable breeding population trend, and productivity equaled or exceeded the productivity necessary to achieve population stability. Adult doves survived at a rate of 43.0%, immatures at a rate of 26.3% Increasing the bag limit for 2 hunting seasons had no adverse effect on breeding population, productivity, or survival, but it did increase the shooting pressure on immatures. Age specific vulnerability to hunting was found only in September and October. There was no evidence of sex-specific vulnerability to hunting among adults. Approximately 86% ofthe harvest of doves banded on the study area occurred during September and October. At no time were more than 20% of the doves banded on the study area harvested off the study area. Adult doves leaving the study area moved to other portions of South Carolina, immatures leaving moved to Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Adult doves from South Carolina and Virginia contributed to the study area's harvest, and immature doves from Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee contributed to the study area's harvest.

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