March 23rd, 2011

Do Mourning Doves Deserve More Protection than an Unborn Baby in Iowa?

By Craig Robinson

The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill that would establish a dove hunting season yesterday.  The bill passed 58 to 39.  The Senate passed a bill allowing the hunting of Doves the day before and Governor Branstad has indicated that he would sign the legislation in into law if it reaches his desk.

During the House debate, Rep. Mary Masher of Iowa City, proposed a number of amendments, but none of were approved.  Masher, who is an unabashed advocate of abortion rights, fought desperately to protect the life of the mourning dove.

Masher was deeply concerned about what a hunting season would do to the life span of Iowa doves and the overall dove population in the state.  One of Masher’s amendments would have stipulated that a dove hunting season would not be allowed until 90 days after crops were harvested.

Masher was concerned that a dove would digest the lead contained in a shotgun shell, which could cause it to die.  She noted that doves incubate their eggs continually, stating that the male does a daytime shift and the female does the night shift.  Thus, eliminating the lead shot during a time in which they are likely to feed would protect the squab by protecting both of its parents.

It was odd to hear someone like Masher rise in support of life in the Iowa House.  It’s just too bad she only takes that position when it’s about a bird instead of the life of an unborn child.

Because the dove hunting provision was attached to a senate bill dealing with raccoon hunting, Masher, and fellow Democrat, Rep. Mary Gaskill, were also upset that the people of Iowa were not allowed to weigh in on the issue in a separate public hearing.   Masher cried out, “This is not how you treat Iowa people, they have a right to have their say.  That wasn’t allowed to them by this chamber.”

Masher then warned the majority party that the people of Iowa would not stand for behavior like this and it could cost them their re-election.  If one didn’t know better, you would think that Masher and Gaskill would have supported the concept of letting the people of Iowa voting on the issue of marriage since the people of Iowa were not allowed a say on that matter either.  Oh well.

Dove – The Other White Meat

Rep. Abdul Samad, a Democrat for Des Moines, asked the bill manager, Rep. Richard Arnold, why anyone would want to hunt a mourning dove, since there is no meat on the animal.  He then claimed that the true intent of the bill was to provide hunters with a difficult bird to shoot.  Rep. Samad also mentioned that he was a bird owner as well as a vegetarian.

Rep. Arnold dismissed Samad’s notion by saying that there was nothing better than grilling six dove breast wrapped in bacon and serving them on a bed of rice.  Later in the debate Rep. Clel Baudler added that mourning dove, “taste awfully good.”  The two Republicans added that they have not hunted doves in Iowa.

The Governor is in the House?

After the dove-hunting bill passed, Governor Branstad caused a commotion when he entered the chamber.  Branstad came to chamber to thank the House for supporting the resolution that will place a statue of Dr. Norman Borlaug in the United State’s capitol.  Since the House was debating the dove hunting bill, house leaders could not attend the bill signing.  The Governor also took the opportunity to tell the house that he will sign the dove hunting bill, much to Rep. Masher’s chagrin.

Why are you reporting on dove hunting?

I went to the capitol to cover the Government Oversight Committee’s vote on House File 5.  The committee met at noon, but both Republicans and Democrats in the committee caucused, and the Democrats didn’t come back until hour-ling block was up.  So, instead of leaving the capitol and coming back, I stuck around, and dove hunting was the topic of the day.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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