By Chris Smith
Texas bird hunters might consider investing in an extra box or two of shells this year to take advantage of increased bag and possession limits and expanded opportunities.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved for Texas this year an expanded Special White-Wing Dove Area (SWWDA), a six bird daily bag during the September teal season and increased possession limits for all migratory game birds.
The SWWDA will now extend eastward along its current boundary and continue south along Interstate 37 from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, effectively doubling its current size.
“For the last two decades, white-winged dove populations have steadily expanded both their numbers and their geographical extent,” said Dave Morrison, Small Game Program Director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We believe, and the Service agrees, an expansion is appropriate to take advantage of additional hunting opportunities.”
To take advantage of the earliest possible opening dates for the special area, the season will run Sept. 1 through Labor Day (Sept. 2), and then re-open Sept. 7-8.
The bag limit during the four-day season is 15 doves in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves and hunting is permitted only from noon to sunset.
Dove season in the North and Central zones will run concurrent from Sept. 1-Oct. 20 and Dec. 20-Jan. 8. The South Zone dove season is set for Sept. 20-Oct. 27 and Dec. 20-Jan. 20, with the season in the SWWDA Sept. 20-Oct. 23 and Dec. 20-Jan. 20.
Also new this year, teal hunters will be able to take up to six teal daily during the statewide September teal-only season, set to run Sept.