The most anticipated upland game bird hunting season in California opens Sunday when the first half of the mourning dove shoot gets underway and runs through Sept. 15. Approximately 87,000 shotgun enthusiasts are expected to go afield.
"There is greater participation among hunters who seek doves than for any other upland species," said Scott Gardner, upland game bird coordinator for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. "It's the first shotgun hunting season of the autumn and people experience a high success rate. They usually harvest some."
The daily bag is 10 doves per day. The possession limit is triple the daily bag after the first two days of the season. The second half of the season runs Nov. 9 through Dec. 23.
San Joaquin County residents, especially those near the outskirts of towns or in rural areas, should expect plenty of gunfire when the season opens at 6:05 a.m. Sunday, a half-hour before sunrise.
"The dove hunting tradition is extremely strong," Gardner said. "People plan trips around the season, perhaps to the desert or Sierra foothills. Many enjoy an after-hunt barbecue with neighbors and family. Since a typical dove shoot can accommodate quite a number of hunters, camaraderie is a big part of it."
State and federal scientists cooperatively band and annually assess the dove harvest and its effect on the overall populations.
"Doves are among our closest monitored birds," Gardner said. "There are plenty of them."
Football aside, if its dove season, it's officially fall. To kick off the Sept. 4 opening day, the "Kentucky Afield" TV crew was busy nabbing its limit. Host Tim Farmer, who didn't hunt because he was recovering from minor surgery, kept everyone else in stitches in the field.
The dove season opener (Sept. 1) is, once again, nearly upon us. And as in the past, area hunters will find numerous public sites offering excellent gunning for these fast-flying targets. Early reports indicate large numbers of doves congregating at many of the public hunting areas throughout the River Bend. This can only mean exciting opening-day action!
Veteran dove hunters often spend as more time traveling the back roads searching for concentrations of doves as they actually do hunting. Fresh cut silage (though rare) and recently harvested wheat fields also serve as huge dove magnets. Feeding doves will swarm to these areas during the late afternoon and evening hours.
Gaining access to these types of hunting lands can be fairly simple if the landowners are approached in a appropriate manner. In fact, many times the landowners may also wish to join in on the hunt.
Good action can also be found at many federal and state managed public hunting areas. Most of the top public hunting areas offer gunning over carefully groomed sunflower fields. As even better news, most public hunting areas are reporting good to excellent stands of sunflowers. There are a few, due to a late planting, that may be less than ripe by the season opener.
Though regulations at many public sites require permits for the first few days of the season, a limited number of standby opportunities are usually available. In addition, many sites offer hunting on a first-come or daily draw basis after the opening-day crowds disappear.
Rules at most public hunting areas permit hunters to use only shotgun shells containing shot sizes 7 1/2, 8 or 9, or number 6 or smaller steel. Hunters using shells containing bismuth shot must use size 7 1/2 or smaller.
Some areas including Des Plaines, Green River, Horseshoe Lake State Park, Kankakee River, Mount Vernon Game Farm, Sangchris Lake and Silver Springs also require the use of shells containing only non-toxic shot. Hunters should always check for site specific regulations before planning a trip to any public hunting area.
If the weather forecasters are on target, the upcoming week should be hot and dry across most of Kentucky. That means conditions leading up to the Sept. 1 dove season opener will be close to normal — unlike most of this summer.
The strange summer weather — very wet and surprisingly cool — probably won’t have any measurable effect on the doves or the 55,000 or so Kentuckians who chase them each year.
“The weather has made some of the crops late, but most of our (public dove) fields are in good shape, especially in the west,” state migratory bird specialist Rocky Pritchert said. “I’ve had reports from Ballard (Wildlife Management Area) that some of those fields were holding up to 200 birds.”
Doves are migratory birds that are fairly weather-sensitive. A field can be loaded with them one day and seemingly empty the next.
Or vice versa.
“It’s true that it is hard to predict about doves, but I guess you could say that about ducks or geese or any other wild critter, too,” Pritchert said. “But the forecast is for hot and dry weather all this week, so I think we should have some good bird numbers.”
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks offers the Private Lands Dove Field Program. This year, there is even more opportunity.
With the addition of several new fields, hunts are now available at seven sites across the state, up from five last year.
Fields are located in Prentiss, Tate, Kemper, Rankin, Copiah, Jones and Pearl River counties and have been planted in various small-grain crops preferred by doves such as sunflowers, browntop millet and corn.
Only a limited number of permits are available on each field. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. A permit will allow for a person to hunt a field on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons for the first two dove seasons. Hunting only three afternoons per week helps maintain hunt quality.
MDWFP offers three different permits that are required for hunters 16 years old and older. Up to two youths can hunt with a permitted adult hunter free of charge.
Hunter interest remains high, heading into Iowa’s third mourning dove season. The 70-day season opens Sept. 1, with birds now pouring into Iowa on their southward migration.
Migrating birds are noticed in the early days of August, building through the late summer. The number of hunters should edge upward, too.
“I expect a little bump up in hunter numbers again, as more of them learn about dove hunting. A few more friends will come along,” predicts DNR upland research biologist Todd Bogenschutz.
Last year, 9,328 dove hunters harvested 94,864 birds; according to the post-season small game survey.
That was up from 8,780 hunters, taking 57,285 mourning doves in 2011; the first year of dove hunting in Iowa. Iowa’s summer ‘call count’ showed a stable local dove population early this summer.
“Hunters are learning more; about hunting and where to find doves,” says Bogenschutz. “That first week is good. It’ll drop off after the first killing frost, but there are great hunting opportunities throughout the two month season.”
The continent’s most populous game bird, mourning doves offer a new type of hunting for Iowans. It more often resembles ‘pass shooting’ familiar to waterfowl hunters.
Doves will concentrate in fields that have been harvested or which have food plots…especially if bare ground is available. Rather than walking and flushing birds, camouflaged hunters should ‘sit and wait’, near food sources, water or roosting locations.
As with most upland species, weather is always a factor.
A soggy April and May meant numerous fields did not get planted, or were flooded. Bogenschutz says he has noticed plenty of fields in the past weeks, which came up in weeds or which might have had a cover crop like winter wheat planted. Both offer great dove hunting, especially if disked to provide bare ground for feeding.
Iowa’s best dove hunting is probably on public wildlife areas, with sunflower plantings. Hunters increase their chances of success by scouting ahead of time; checking with wildlife biologists in their area, for locations of sunflower plots or — in the case of flooded fields — areas replanted late with cover crops.
The Iowa DNR’s website www.iowadnr.gov has a variety of mourning dove hunting information; from a ‘how to’ video, to Iowa’s online hunting atlas.
Mourning doves are classed as a federal migratory bird. A migratory bird fee (known formerly as the duck stamp) is not required to hunt doves. However, hunters must apply for a HIP number, when buying their hunting license…if they intend to hunt for doves.
Safety is always a primary concern during hunting season. Mourning dove season offers a few specific cautions. One requires knowing who else is ‘out there.’
Hunters should recognize that other hunters will be sharing the same dove fields … and that they should limit their field of fire, as the darting, fast flying doves sail through. Shorter, 20-25 yard shots using a shotgun with an open choke is recommended, especially for beginners.
And though not a safety tip, hunters are reminded to scoop up spent shot shells before they leave; especially on public areas that may be hunted heavily in the first couple weeks of the season.
Hunters looking to places to hunt doves when the season opens Sept. 1, can find these areas and more online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.
The Northwest is a wing shooters paradise, with a great variety of game birds and generous hunting seasons. Mike Harrod starts off this episode in central Washington hunting September doves and later, he and his son Dax look to fool early season geese in eastern Washington. Finally, Michele Harrod experiences her first out of state hunt for turkeys in northeast Oregon. The action is non-stop! Dove Hunting starts at about 1:30
Chef Brady shows us how to create a spectacular dish by cooking dove and grilled scallion mashed potatoes. Cooking Dove with a Firestone Double Barrel Ale "Double Barrel Dove" This is a new and exciting spin on cooking dove breast.
Host Harry Canterbury of Adventure Sports Outdoors presents the 8th Annual Memorail Quail Hunt in Hillsboro, IL. Original air date on WTVP Peoria, IL was January 29th, 2011. Don Cranfill and Don Burton.
Annual Labor Day Hunt in Kilbourne, IL with Dave Fornoff. A 2nd Hunt takes place in Tupelo Mississippi. Join host Harry Canterbury for an Adventure Sports Outdoors Dove Hunting adventure! Original Air date was September 26th, 2009 on WTVP PBS, Peoria, IL. Video starts at about 1:50
Watch this fun documentary about dove hunting in El Centro, California. You will also get to know "Dieter" a one of a kind Munsterlander bird retriever. Brought to you by http://southerncaliforniahunting.com
We were fortunate to join Shane Stuckey and family for a fun filled afternoon hunt and lunch. Great to have some partners join us from Irby St. Sporting Goods, Anglers Sporting Goods, Crowne Beverage, and our good friend Capt Jay Baisch. a 100 degree day could not keep us away from getting out and enjoying a fall tradition.
With mourning dove season only a month away in the north zone, Alabama hunters should welcome a new publication from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System that outlines a change in wheat-planting guidelines for Alabama.
The new guidelines eliminate the three zones in Alabama and set Aug. 1 through Nov. 30 as acceptable top-sown wheat planting dates.
Alabama has seen a reduction in participation in the time-honored tradition of hunting doves with family and friends in a relaxed social atmosphere because of the fear of inadvertently running afoul of hunting regulations.
Landowners and leaseholders were often confused about guidelines for top-sowing wheat. The Extension System updated the planting recommendations this year and produced brochure ANR-1467, “Mourning Dove Biology and Management in Alabama,” which is available for download at www.aces.edu/pubs.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authority over the management of migratory birds, but relies on the respective extension systems to recommend what constitutes normal agricultural practices in each state.
The brochure states that multiple sowing of seeds on the same ground without a valid reason (drought or flooding) would not be a “normal” agricultural practice.
It would also not be considered “normal” if wheat is piled, clumped or concentrated. The planting rate for top-sown wheat should not exceed 200 pounds per acre. Specific guidelines must be followed with top-sown winter wheat.
WEST MINERAL, KS.--- This summer's heavy rainfall could have an impact on the number of doves harvested in Southeast Kansas. Doves eat sunflower seeds, and usually hunters have four sunflower fields to choose from in Cherokee County. But, rain forced field managers with the Kansas Department of Wildlife to only plant two, cutting in half the number of fields and the opportunities for hunters.
"We usually plant the fields in mid April, and due to having a fairly wet April, we weren't able to get them in," said David Shanholtzer, Kansas Department of Wildlife Field Manager.
In fact, planting was delayed until May, meaning fewer flowers and and a tougher time attracting doves.
"We may speed up the process by spraying the field to cause them to lose their leaves faster," said Shanholtzer.
That way the sunflower seeds fall to the ground, attracting more doves. That's an uphill battle, because there are fewer flowers, there are more weeds covering the bare spots. One more challenge in what's become a trend. 2012 was also a tough year for the doves.
Forty-eight public dove fields will be available across the state during the 2013-14 mourning dove season through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Management Area program. A county-by-county list of public dove fields and special youth hunts is available online or can be obtained by writing: DNR, Attn: Public Dove Fields, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or by calling (803) 734-3886 in Columbia. The Public Dove Field List is also available at local DNR offices. Public dove fields are open only on dates and times as specified in the public dove field list, and may be more restrictive than statewide seasons.
The 2013-14 mourning dove season will run as follows: Sept. 2-7 (noon until sunset); Sept. 8–Oct. 5; Nov. 23-30; and Dec. 19–Jan. 15. Legal hunting hours for mourning dove season, except for Sept. 2-7, are from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day. The state’s mourning dove season is set each year by the DNR Board within a framework of regulations and timetables issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For the initial hunts on Saturday, September 7, the number of hunters will be limited by a public drawing on five fields – the Oak Lea WMA field in Clarendon County, the Tuomey Fields (2 fields) in Sumter County, the Draper Tract field in York County, and the Pee Dee Station site in Florence County. Applications are available online or by calling (803) 734-3609. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on August 14.
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service will co-sponsor a youth dove hunt at the U.S. Forest Service Herbert public dove field in Union County on Saturday, Sept. 7. No pre-registration is required, and there is no cost to attend.
The hunt will begin at noon and end at 6 p.m., and young hunters are limited to 50 shells each. If you have questions you may call the Union office of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at (864) 427-5140 or the U.S. Forest Service office at (864) 427-9858.
Youth participants must be age 17 or younger and must be accompanied by an adult 21 years old or older. Adults may have one but no more than two youth at a stand, and only one youth at a time is allowed to shoot. Adults are not permitted to shoot on youth hunts, and all shooting must be done by youth only. Adults who are accompanying young hunters on this special youth hunt will not be required to have any hunting license or permits. Youth who are under 16 years of age are not required to have any license or permit. Youth who are age 16 or 17 are required to have a Junior Sportsman’s License or a one-time Apprentice License, which waives hunter education requirements for one year.
Beginning Sept. 14, the second Saturday of the season, the area will be open for public hunting on Saturday afternoons only during the first segment of the mourning dove season. During the second and third segments of the season, the field will be open Monday through Saturday during the afternoons only. All adults hunting this field after the opening day youth hunt must have a valid South Carolina hunting license, Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permit and the free Migratory Bird or Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit.