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20 more dove days among Kentucky migratory bird seasons

By STEVE VANTREESE

In setting migratory bird hunting seasons for 2014-15, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved dove dates that allow for 20 more days of hunting.

The expanded dove opportunities come on an allowance from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for 20 more dove hunting dates in states of the feds' Eastern Management Unit. The federal managers have concluded that boosting states' dove hunting from 70 up to 90 possible days would have no significant impact on dove populations.

Applying those days to Kentucky's plan, the three segments of dove hunting for 2014-15 will be Sept. 1-Oct. 26, Nov. 27-Dec. 7 and Dec. 20-Jan. 11.

The new dove hunting slate gives hunters two additional days each in the first and second season segments. The bulk of the additional days will come with the third, late hunting period. The December-into-January hunt will increase by 16 days over what was only a seven-day hunt last year.

Also scheduled is a Sept. 1-15 early Canada goose hunting season that again will target Kentucky's resident, non-migrating honkers. But with the statewide resident Canada goose population having grown to number about 40,000 birds (up from some 15,000 two decades ago), approved this year is a bag limit increase.

Indeed, the daily maximum harvest on Canada geese during the early September hunt will be five per day per hunter. That's up from the three-bird bag that's been the standard.

Other approved seasons on migrant birds are a Sept. 17-21 early hunt for wood ducks and teal. This long-time season gets an adjustment this year with an increase of the maximum daily teal bag from four to six birds. The number of wood ducks that can be taken during this early season hunt remains at two within an overall maximum of, now, six birds.

Other migrant seasons set were: Woodcock, Nov. 1-Dec. 15; Virginia and Sora rail, common moorhen and purple gallinule, Sept. 1-Nov. 9; common snipe, Sept. 17-Oct. 26, Nov. 27-Feb. 1; and sandhill crane, Dec. 13-Jan. 11.

Changes in other hunting regulations included a move beginning in 2015 to allow archery and crossbow turkey hunters to take all four birds within the seasonal fall bag limit during any fall turkey season. That is, this fall for the last time, archery and crossbow hunters who take four birds must take two of them during the fall firearms turkey season.

Also pertaining to turkey hunting and effective beginning in 2015, .410 shotguns will become legal weaponry during any turkey season. The smaller .410 was approved for turkey hunting (20 gauge was the previous minimum shotgun size allowed) to help facilitate youth hunters.

In action related to boating and fishing management, the commission has voted to lift a 10-horsepower boat motor limit on a number of state-managed smaller lakes, including Swan Lake in Ballard County. On these compact waters, boats used must be 22 feet or less in length, and those with engines larger than 10 hp must operate at idle speed. The new regulations goes into effect in October.

n For Kentuckians, the last week of spring is also the last full week of the spring squirrel hunting season. Both spring and the hunting season conclude Friday, the squirrel hunting opportunities closing after a five-week run, May 17-June 20.

Squirrels represent the game species that get the most scheduled hunting days during Kentucky's hunting year. The limb-leaping rodents again will be fair game when the next statewide opener comes around Aug. 16. The traditional squirrel hunting season runs from the third Saturday in August all the way through February.

n Designated pro contender Logan Thomas of Gilbertsville, teamed with patrons Dale Rowe and Tony Seabaugh of Poplar Bluff, Mo., were winners in the recent Ronald McDonald House Charities Fishing Tournament.

Fishing out of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, the Thomas-Rowe-Seabaugh team worked Kentucky Lake for a limit of bass weighing an event-high 22.89 pounds.

Ben Helmerich of Murray with Brendan and Mara Murphy of Cape Girardeau, Mo., brought in a runner-up catch of 21.76 pounds. Close behind them was Paducah pro Ben Johnson, paired with Blake Harrison of Paducah, who took third with 21.16 pounds.

Danny York of Benton, teamed with John and Mary Moreland of West Frankfort, Ill., brought in the day's largest single bass, a 6.36-pound fish.

The biggest winners were area children's charities, for which the RMHC tournament raised about $45,000.

n The Jackson Purchase Rifle & Pistol Club will host a silhouette match for .22 rimfire shooters 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the club's range off Cairo Road 1.5 mile east of I-24 Exit 3.

The matches for both handgun and rifle shooters is sanctioned by the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association. Each match involves 40 rounds to be fired, 10 each at targets at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards.

Initial entry is $6 with a fee of $5 for each subsequent match. More information: Lee Jackson at 270-293-5558.

Steve Vantreese is a freelance outdoors writer. E-mail outdoors news items to outdoors@paducahsun.com.

SNbS

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