The next week or so will see the kick-off to many state’s upland bird hunting seasons, and perhaps none are as eagerly anticipated as the dove opener. Tomorrow will find yours truly and thousands of like-minded hunters sweating on a dove field or stock tank. And while mourning dove will make up the overwhelming bulk of the bag, there’s a new bird on the block that’s slowly muscling its considerable bulk into the equation, the Eurasian Collared Dove.

Long considered primarily a suburban dweller, collared dove are spreading quickly enough that most game departments now mention collared dove in their hunting regulations. The physical differences between mourning and collared dove are easy to spot, most noticeably the sheer size of the brutes. They dwarf a mourning dove. I live five miles out of town, and last year I had no collared dove at my feeder. This year I have at least two breeding pairs. Not only are they large, but apparently they like to get busy. I have yet to actually shoot one while hunting, but judging by how many I’m seeing, this might be the year.

What about you? Any Eurasian collared dove hunting opportunities nearby? Anyone actually bagged one yet?