Dove season begins in most of Texas on Sept. 1. That’s Tuesday this year. I’m personally in favor of kicking off the first major hunting season on Saturday, but Sept. 1 is the longstanding tradition and it doesn’t appear likely to change anytime soon.
The only change to seasons or regulations is a shuffling of dates that add five more October hunting days to the North and Central Dove Zones, the regions of most concern for Dallas area hunters. Canada Goose Jackets Those days are shaved off the winter dove season, when few North or Central Zone dove hunters are afield.
Dates for the North and Central Dove Zones are Sept. 1 to Oct. 24 and Dec. 18 to Jan. 1. The South Zone dove season is Sept. 18 to Oct. 21 and Dec. 18 to Jan. 22.
The dove season forecast is very good, as always. Though the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department dove program leader Shaun Oldenburger is still crunching numbers, it looks like the state’s overall mourning dove estimate is about 29 million and that’s considerably higher than the long term average of 24.7 million.
That’s just mourning doves, which are the dominant rural doves. Texas also has a healthy population of white winged doves (estimated at 6.6 million in 2014), which are more city oriented, and rapidly growing numbers of Eurasian collared doves (estimated at 2.8 million last year). Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a request by TPWD to extend dove season by an additional 20 days in the 2016 17 season.
Eurasian doves are considered an invasive species and are not protected as game birds. That means there is neither a bag limit nor any closed season for Eurasian doves. The limit remains 15 daily, in the aggregate, for mourning doves and/or white winged doves.
Hunters who take Eurasian doves in addition to native birds must remember that a game warden cannot differentiate between a cleaned Eurasian dove and a slightly smaller whitewing.
Leave a wing attached to the Eurasian dove carcass as a species identification marker and you’ll stay out of trouble with wardens.
Also abide by legal shooting hours, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Do an Internet search to determine official sunrise and sunset for where you hunt. Sunrise occurs nine minutes later in Abilene than in Dallas.
Oldenburger said range conditions are so good because of summer rains that doves are still nesting. That means a lot of immature doves in the early season bag.
Mike Hopkins, who has dove hunting leases from Denton County, said the Denton area is a challenge because of the timing of the milo crop harvest. The best spots, he said, are around wheat that was not harvested in June because of wet conditions. Most of the Denton County birds are white winged doves, traveling in large flocks.
“There are as many doves as I’ve ever seen around Eastland, Moran and Putnam,” Hopkins said. There are lots of sunflowers and croton available. It looks like hunters will have a great opening day in that area.”
Hunting outfitter Roy Wilson hunts around Hamlin, north of Abilene. He said the dove numbers in his area look good. http://www.canadagoosereview.top/ Good habitat conditions have the doves spread out more than usual, but farmers are now plowing up wheat fields that were too wet to harvest, and that should concentrate birds.
Wilson expects to mostly hunt in milo fields, which are abundant in his area. Dusty Greaves, who hunts in the Coleman area, said he’s got a few fields that are loaded with doves, but they’re not his usual hot spots.
“I expect a good season, but it is different than it’s been in the past and I’m sure it’s because of the rain,” said Greaves. “We’ve got some fields that have more quail than doves. The quail have really rebounded.”