Gary Joiner 2017-09-27 18:03:17
Fair to excellent hunting conditions across the state are welcoming the more than 300,000 Texas dove hunters this season who are pursuing the popular game bird. Biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) said habitat conditions vary depending on precipitation and timing of plants seeding out. Roughly 15 percent of the nation’s 300 million mourning doves reside in Texas, along with about 15 million white-winged doves at the beginning of September. “Texas had above average mourning dove production early in the spring with continued good production where precipitation occurred through the spring and summer,” Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD Dove Program Leader, said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network. “Good croton, sunflower, ragweed and other highly-selected dove foods were found statewide this year. Where good water conditions and timing of seeding in these plants coincide, hunters should find good hunting for mourning doves.” White-winged doves were observed flocking in late July in urban areas across the state, with good numbers starting to move to more rural areas in early August, according to Oldenburger. Mourning dove populations are concentrated around water and food resources in August. Oldenburger told the TFB Radio Network that Eurasian collared-doves provide another opportunity for Texas hunters with at least three million of the birds in the state. The birds are an unprotected species with no closed season or bag limit restrictions. They can usually be found around feedlots, grain elevators and abandoned houses. He suggested hunters keep the head or a wing attached to any harvested Eurasian collared-dove so they can be easily identified in a bag with mourning or white-winged doves by game wardens. The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15, and the possession limit is 45. State hunting licenses can be purchased through the agency’s 28 field offices, at more than 50 state parks and over 1,700 retailers across the state. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website or by phone at 1-800-895-4248. A Migratory Game Bird endorsement and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt dove. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased. In addition to a hunting license, anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971 must successfully complete a hunter education training course. Those under 17 and those 17 and older who purchase a one-time deferral license may hunt legally in Texas if accompanied by a licensed hunter 17 years or older who has passed hunter education or who is otherwise exempt. Accompanied means being within normal voice control. The TPWD Hunter Education certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces. More information on hunter education certification is available online at https://tpwd. texas.gov. 2017-18 Dove Season Calendar North Zone: Sept. 1–Nov. 12 and Dec. 15–31 Central Zone: Sept. 1–Nov. 5 and Dec. 15–Jan. 7, 2018 Special White-winged Dove Days (entire South Zone): Sept. 2–3, 9–10 South Zone: Sept. 22–Nov. 8 and Dec. 15–Jan. 21, 2018
Published by Texas Farm Bureau. View All Articles.
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