Satur­day Dove Sea­son Opener Will Gen­er­ate Big Num­bers

Escalon Times - - NEWS -

The first of two open­ing days of Cal­i­for­nia’s dove hunt­ing sea­son is fast ap­proach­ing. This year’s sea­son for mourn­ing dove, white-winged dove, spot­ted dove and ringed tur­tle dove will run from Satur­day, Sept. 1 through Satur­day, Sept. 15 statewide, fol­lowed by a sec­ond hunt pe­riod, Satur­day, Nov. 10 through Mon­day, Dec. 24.

Mourn­ing dove and whitewinged dove have a daily bag limit of 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The pos­ses­sion limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no lim­its on spot­ted dove and ringed tur­tle dove. Hunt­ing for Eurasian col­lared dove is le­gal year­round and there is no limit.

Hunters are re­minded that as of July 1, 2015, non­lead am­mu­ni­tion is re­quired when hunt­ing up­land game birds on all Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands, so plan ac­cord­ingly. For more in­for­ma­tion, see the CDFW non­lead am­mu­ni­tion page.

A dove iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guide can be found on the CDFW web­site, along with a map of up­land game fields in Im­pe­rial County, the state’s hub for dove hunt­ing.

Fol­low­ing two years of in­creased pre­cip­i­ta­tion in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia, abun­dant for­age and wa­ter avail­abil­ity has pro­vided mourn­ing doves with the ba­sics for a pro­duc­tive nest­ing sea­son. Early band­ing data show high num­bers of hatch year birds re­ported around the state. Mourn­ing doves are gen­er­ally short-lived and can re­spond with high re­pro­duc­tive suc­cess given ideal habi­tat con­di­tions. This, paired with a Satur­day open­ing day, should draw many hope­ful dove hunters to the fields.

Dove hunt­ing is a great start­ing point for new hunters. There is very lit­tle equip­ment re­quired and just about any place open for hunt­ing will have mourn­ing doves. Min­i­mum re­quire­ments are a valid hunt­ing li­cense with up­land game bird stamp (ju­nior li­cense hold­ers are not re­quired to have an up­land game bird stamp) and Har­vest In­for­ma­tion Pro­gram (HIP) val­i­da­tion, good footwear, a shot­gun, shot­gun shells and plenty of wa­ter. Hunters should be care­ful not to un­der­es­ti­mate the amount of flu­ids needed, espe­cially dur­ing the first half of the sea­son or when hunt­ing in desert ar­eas.

Many dove hunters like to po­si­tion them­selves in a known fly­way for doves. Fly­ways can run to and from roost sites, wa­ter, food sources or gravel. Doves are usu­ally taken by pass shoot­ing along fly­ways, but hunters may also be suc­cess­ful jump shoot­ing. Dove move­ment is most fre­quent in the early morn­ings and late evenings when they are fly­ing from and to their roost sites (this is when the ma­jor­ity of hunters go into the field). Late morn­ing to early af­ter­noon can be bet­ter for jump shoot­ing. Hunters should scout out dove ac­tiv­ity in the area a few times just prior to hunt­ing.

Im­por­tant laws and reg­u­la­tions to be aware of in­clude the fol­low­ing:

Shoot time for doves is one half hour be­fore sun­rise to sun­set.

All hunters, in­clud­ing ju­nior hunt­ing li­cense hold­ers, are re­quired to carry their hunt­ing li­cense with them.

Hunters must have writ­ten per­mis­sion from the landowner prior to hunt­ing on pri­vate land.

Bag lim­its ap­ply to each hunter and no one can take more than one le­gal limit.

It is il­le­gal to shoot within 150 yards of an oc­cu­pied dwelling.

It is il­le­gal to shoot from or across a pub­lic road­way.

It is il­le­gal to hunt within 200 yards of an ar­ti­fi­cial wa­ter source for wildlife.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of every hunter to know and fol­low all laws, in­clud­ing iden­ti­fy­ing game species.

Safety is the most im­por­tant part of any hunt­ing ad­ven­ture. Although wear­ing hunter or­ange (blaze) is not re­quired by law, it may be re­quired in spe­cific ar­eas. Wear­ing a min­i­mum of a hunter or­ange hat is rec­om­mended, espe­cially when sit­ting or when hunt­ing in deep veg­e­ta­tion. Safety glasses are a sim­ple way to pro­tect the eyes and are avail­able in many shades for hunt­ing in all types of light­ing sit­u­a­tions.

The weather through­out the state on Sept. 1 is ex­pected to be hot and dry. CDFW urges hunters to drink plenty of flu­ids, wear sun pro­tec­tion and have a plan in case of an ac­ci­dent.

Full dove hunt­ing reg­u­la­tions can be found on CDFW’s web­site.

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