Dove Hunting Guide

Travelin’ for dove

California communitie­s have rich hunting traditions

- By Robert Brewer Yuma Sun Sports

Yuma County isn’t the only dove game in the area. California communitie­s are ripe for dove hunting too.

As Mendel Woodland of Woodland’s Hunt Club explains, Niland and Calipatria are prime scouting locations for both mourning and white-winged dove.

“There are some great citrus groves there on the east side of the 111 Highway. The doves love to roost over there,” Woodland said. “You will find some pretty good shooting there. As for Eurasians, they mostly can be found near people’s backyards or in any feedlot areas.”

Woodland, a San Dimas native, has served as a hunting guide for the past 10 years. As of Aug. 1, the veteran hunter said he has not yet seen a large volume of dove in the Imperial Valley.

“I’d say the birds are pretty scattered around right now. Of course, nobody really knows whether or not it will stay like that by the time opening day rolls around,” Woodland added. “The weather has been pretty normal for this time of year, so we’ll see how things shake out.”

Meanwhile, the Imperial Valley maintains traditiona­l hunting roots that span generation­s. Shayne

Brady of Holtville states that the large community of families who hunt there helps to create a sense of comradery and togetherne­ss that lasts a lifetime.

An El Centro native and agricultur­al business owner and salesman, Brady, 59, recalls his first hunting experience at eight or nine years old. His father Tom, along with his two older brothers enjoyed the opportunit­y to bond with one another while exploring the outdoors.

Now a father of four and a grandfathe­r of six, Brady encourages the younger generation­s to also experience the outdoors as it provides valuable life lessons such as responsibi­lity, morality and respect.

“I had such great memories of going out there and dove hunting, even if most times I didn’t even shoot anything,” Brady said.

“There’s just something about teaching a young boy or girl how to handle a firearm and respect the firearm. It’s a great way to build confidence in a young person and keep them interested. Hunting ethics are also important to learn at that age. Respecting nature and the environmen­t while hunting legally and not hurting the population were key lessons for me and my brothers.”

Before heading to hunt in the Blythe and Imperial Valley regions, there are some key facts of which hunters must be aware.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, mourning dove and white-winged dove hunting season will go from Sept. 1-15, and then resume Nov. 12-Dec. 26. The daily bag limit stands at 15, up to 10 of which can be of the white-winged variety. The possession limit is up to triple the daily bag limit.

Meanwhile, there are no limits on spotted, ringed turtle and Eurasianco­llared doves. Additional­ly, these species may be hunted year round.

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