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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.

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