Ohio Issue 1, Mourning Dove Initiative (1998)

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The Ohio Mourning Dove Act, also known as Issue 1, was on the November 3, 1998 ballot in Ohio as an indirect initiated state statute, where it was defeated.[1] This amendment would have forbidden the hunting of mourning doves in Ohio.

Election results

Ohio Issue 1 (1998)
Defeatedd No1,976,98159.45%
Yes 1,348,533 40.55%

Election results via the Ohio Secretary of State.[2]

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[3]


Proposed by Initiative Petition To amend Sections 1531.01 and 1531.02 of the Ohio Revised Code to prohibit the hunting or taking of mourning doves in Ohio. The proposed law would:

  1. Amend Section 1531.01(S) of the Ohio Revised Code by removing the words “mourning doves” from the definition of "Game birds."
  2. Amend Section 1531.01 of the Ohio Revised Code by removing the final sentence of that section which states: “The chief shall not establish a season for the hunting of mourning doves that opens prior to the fifteenth day of September of any year.”
  3. Amend Section 1531.02 of the Revised Code by adding the words "NO PERSON SHALL HUNT OR TAKE A MOURNING DOVE."

If adopted, this law as amended would be effective on December 3, 1998. A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.


The following reasons were given in support of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument For Issue 1:[3]

  • Dove hunting is cruel: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that up to 30% of doves are wounded and unretrieved. These crippled birds slowly suffer until they die, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
  • Dove hunting is unnecessary: Ohio Division of Wildlife publications state, “Obviously, doves don’t have to be hunted.” Doves don’t overpopulate. They cause no damage in Great Lakes states, such as Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin, where they have long been protected.
  • Dove hunting is target practice: A dove contains only an ounce or two of meat. They’re used as targets, not food. FIELD & STREAM hunting columnist George Reiger says “I’ve witnessed opening days in which shooters competed to see who would be the first to kill 100 birds. I’ve seen doubles and triples fall to gunners who still hadn’t bothered to look for the doubles and triples they’d previously shot.”
  • Dove hunting is not an Ohio tradition: Doves are backyard birds valued by millions of Ohioans. Acting as a natural (as opposed to chemical) herbicide and doing no damage to agricultural crops, doves help farmers and gardeners by eating weed-producing seeds. Responsible sportsmen are satisfied with the 47 species traditionally hunted here.
  • Dove hunting is bad for the environment: Dove hunters discharge tons of toxic lead shot, polluting water and poisoning wildlife.
  • The Toledo Blade writes in an editorial: “This issue deserves the support of all Ohioans, hunters included, who reject senseless cruelty exercised for the mere purpose of sharpening a shooter’s aim.



The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument Against Issue 1:[3]

The organizations behind Issue One oppose using animals--for farming, medical research... even fishing, circuses and zoos! Like all social reform movements, their goal is to begin with an “easy sell,” then move on to bigger issues. The main backers of Issue One are national organizations--The Fund for Animals, New York, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Virginia, and others. They have paid 75 percent of the costs of Issue One to date. They, not Ohioans, paid for the Arizona Firm, which used professional signature gatherers to get Issue One on the ballot.

Tell them NO. There is simply no reason to outlaw dove hunting.

Mourning doves are the most abundant game bird in America. Numbering some 500 million, more doves exist than all species of ducks and geese combined! State and federal wildlife officials tell us that hunting doesn’t impact dove numbers; there is no difference in states in which they are hunted and the few in which they are not. Tens of thousands of Ohioans and millions of Americans hunt and eat doves. One dove equals 10 large shrimp, one chicken leg, two chicken wings, 2 1/2 wieners, three sausage patties or one bratwurst.

Why, then, Is Issue One on the ballot?

The answer is in their own words. Issue One backers have said:

  • “Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.” (PeTA spokesperson. Vogue, 9/89)
  • “Eating meat mocks God by torturing animals, polluting the earth and destroying our own health.” (PeTA. Washington Post, 1/31/98)
  • “Ultimately our goal is to outlaw all hunting... dove hunting is particularly vulnerable.” (Fund for Animals. Columbus Dispatch 9/17/96)

Issue One is the tip of the iceberg. It threatens freedoms and endangers our health and pocketbooks. Vote No on Issue 1. [4]

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