YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma has reached the halfway point of the dove hunting season already, and local business owners can expect steady traffic. However, some hospitality owners say that they’re seeing a slower season this year due to a gradual decrease of visitors over the years.
“Dove hunting isn’t what it used to be,” says Yvonne Peach, Coronado Motor Hotel owner. She’s experienced years of the dove hunting season in Yuma and saw more hunters stay in her hotel just for opening night this year.
“The guys would come into town maybe for four days straight for years and years,” shares Peach. “A lot of the people have been coming here for years. The past couple of years it’s lighter, and this year it was extremely light.”
Peach also shared that many of the hunters who stayed at her hotel had complaints about this year’s season. “There was a lot of dirt,” she says. “No fields. Quite a few said they went clear to Wellton.”
However, other local business owners say that this year’s dove hunting season has been successful.
“It was a record Thursday opener for us,” says Richard Sprague, owner of Sprague’s Sports. “You have to judge each year differently because it always falls on a different day as the calendar rotates.”
The strength of the season for Sprague’s is reflected in their gun sales. “We’re real busy at the shot gun counter this season as well,” adds Sprague.
This season is proving to affect local businesses in different ways, but the nice conditions for dove hunting can be expected to remain consistent through the end of the season.
“It’s a good year,” explains Dustin Mylius of the Yuma Visitor’s Bureau. “We’ve got exceptional weather here in the first few weeks of September 2016, combined with the fact that there seems to be a lot of dove out there.”
Mylius continues to share a message that the Yuma Visitor’s Bureau has for local and visiting hunters regarding maintaining Yuma’s land. “It’s very valuable because it is farmland and we want to make sure that for safety reasons that the land is very well taken care of.”
The dove hunting season is over on September 15th. The Yuma Visitors Bureau, Sprague’s Sports, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will host the annual post-dove hunt clean up on Saturday, September 17.