Mourning doves are the traditional bird of peace and a beloved backyard songbird. But some people use mourning doves as live targets, sometimes calling them "cheap skeet." Hunters kill more doves each year—more than 20 million—than any other animal in the country.
Doves are not overpopulated, and hunting them doesn't feed anyone or help manage wildlife. Mourning doves—called the "farmer's friend" because they eat weed seeds—pose no threat to crops, homes or anything of value to people.
Many hunters don't bother to retrieve the dead or wounded birds.
American kestrels, sharp-shinned hawks, and other federally protected birds look like doves and can be shot by mistake.
Mourning doves nest during the fall hunting season, and hunting can orphan chicks, who starve in the nest without their parents' care.
News & Events
April 19, 2013
TV Ad Campaign Urges Michigan Lawmakers to Protect Voting Rights and to Halt Effort to Repeal Dove Referendum
A new TV ad campaign airing throughout Michigan is urging state lawmakers to oppose legislation that would take away the rights of Michigan voters to have a say on any new hunting and trapping seasons of protected wildlife species, including mourning doves and wolves.
May 11, 2012
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued a statement condemning Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s executive order to unilaterally repeal a Natural Resources Commission science-based rule to ban the use of toxic lead ammunition for dove hunting.
March 12, 2012
Citizens from across Pennsylvania participating in Humane Lobby Day 2012, met with lawmakers at the Capitol on behalf of legislation to reduce animal suffering in the state. Top-priority measures would ban the private possession of exotic animals as pets, prohibit the use of carbon monoxide chambers to euthanize animals, and outlaw live pigeon shoots.
March 23, 2011
The HSUS expresses its disappointment that the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives have voted to allow the target shooting of mourning doves for the first time since 1918. This bill repeals nearly a century of dove protection policy in Iowa, yet lawmakers rushed it through the process without hardly a word of debate or a serious vetting of the issues.
May 14, 2013
A roadside zoo in Mississippi has lost its exhibitor license after 43 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked the license following an undercover investigation and legal complaints to state and federal officials by The Humane Society of the United States.
May 8, 2013
A California court has upheld the constitutionality of Proposition 4, a 1998 state ballot measure banning use of cruel traps and poisons for the purpose of killing wildlife.
April 8, 2013
The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, National Aquarium, National Wildlife Federation and Oceana applaud the Maryland General Assembly for banning the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins.
March 1, 2013
A coalition of groups is applauding a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reject a challenge to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2008 decision to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.