Georgia's Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) provides managed dove fields that are open for public dove hunting. Our goal was to examine public mourning dove hunting demand and opportunity in Georgia along with the spatial and temporal distribution of each. We defined public fields as fields owned or operated by WRD and open to any properly licensed hunter, and we defined public demand as the number of hunters that utilized those fields. We used a hunter survey to estimate the number of public dove hunters, their county of residence, the average number of days afield, and the timing of their hunting activities. We estimated opportunity provided by WRD dove fields in hunter-days for the entire season, by season segment, and by county. In 2015-16, Georgia had 54,679 total dove hunters who averaged 4.43 days a field or 242,226 hunter-days of total demand. Public demand accounted for 33,912 hunter-days, or 14% of total demand. WRD public dove fields provided 201,957 hunter-days of mourning dove hunting opportunity, which more than exceeded public hunting demand. However, temporal demand was not met on opening day, and spatial demand was not met in 90 counties on opening day or in 77 counties during the September segment. Agencies should consider both temporal and spatial demand when assessing public dove hunting opportunity and should emphasize opening day and early season opportunities near urban areas when possible.
Wildlife Outstanding Technical Paper