Officials say dove hunting is growing in popularity throughout Iowa since lawmakers legalized the sport in 2011 following years of sometimes angry debate.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the number of people registering to hunt mourning doves has gradually increased since lawmakers changed state law two years ago. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data shows more than 9,000 dove hunters are registered in Iowa, though numbers are preliminary. Officials say they're still learning how to manage the 70-day season, starting Sept. 1.
Opponents had fought legalization, arguing the birds represented peace and have so little meat that the only reason to shoot them was as target practice.
Supporters of the change responded that the birds are plentiful and there was no reason to keep them off limits.