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Mourning doves are fair game again
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Mourning doves are back on the list of game birds which can be hunted in Minnesota. Gov. Pawlenty signed legislation to create a dove hunting season, following the lead of a majority of other states. (Photo courtesy of Huntington College, Indiana)
Mourning doves are fair game again in Minnesota. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill this week reinstating a mourning dove hunting season, after 46 years without one. Most states already allow dove hunting. Hunters and cooks are looking forward to the change.

St. Paul, Minn. — For the first time since 1946, Minnesotans can hunt mourning doves. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill this week that will bring Minnesota in line with a majority of states that have dove seasons.

The legislation puts doves back on a list of game birds that already includes grouse, pheasant, turkeys, quail and migratory waterfowl.

Over the years, reinstating the dove hunting season has been controversial. The Humane Society of the United States has been critical of the bill, saying a dove season would serve no wildlife management purpose because there is no overpopulation of the birds and they don't threaten any agricultural crops.

Opponents of the bill said they're songbirds and that they barely have enough meat to make eating them worthwhile. Supporters of the hunting season said they already were federally classified as a game bird and that they're tasty.

St. Paul chef and restaurateur Lenny Russo agrees with that assessment. He sometimes serves mourning doves, also known as squab, at his St. Paul restaurant, Heartland. MPR's David Molpus asked Russo for a refresher course on how to prepare doves for the dinner table. To listen to the interview, click on the audio link in the right column.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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