Texas Dove Hunters Associations Offers Scholarships



Texas Dove Hunters Association (TDHA) is offering scholarships to high school seniors in Texas. Pass this on if you have any friends or family that enjoy dove hunting and will be seeking higher education this fall, including tech school, junior college or 4 year university.

Texas Dove Hunters Scholarship

TDHA will be awarding nine $500 scholarships in May! The deadline to submit applications for the 2017 Texas Dove Hunters Association scholarships is Monday, April 3! All electronic essays and mailed applications must be either received or at least postmarked by April 3rd. Time is running out, but there is still time.
Applications are available online at: texasdovehunters.com.


If you have a senior or if you know a senior that enjoys dove hunting and may be interested in some additional money for school then please encourage them to apply for this TDHA scholarship. Questions? Then call the TDHA at 210-764-1189! The TDHA is “Growing the Next Generation of Hunters and Wildlife Ambassadors.”


If you love Texas, you will LOVE this video!

Best Dove Hunting in Texas in 10 Years

Dove Hunting a Big Deal

There is no doubt that the opening day of dove hunting season is Texas is considered a bonafide holiday by many hunters. Dove hunting is also a big deal to all of those little crossroad towns that dot Texas’ rural landscape. The contributions to those local economies is significant, with direct expenditures and taxes from dove hunting contributes over $400 million to the Texas economy.

With the average hunter taking 7 to 8 shots per bagged bird, that’s a lot of shells, for starters. And a lot of sold burgers at DQ.

Dove Season Expectations

With opening day done, what can dove hunters expect to find in the fields the rest of the season? Based on survey conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), mourning dove numbers may be some of the highest in more 10 years in the Panhandle with similar numbers as 2015 in the remainder of Texas. White-winged doves continue to increase in numbers across the state, but surveys show that the growth of the species is no longer ramping up, but rather growing slowing.

“Dove hunters should be prepared for good seed production across the state, so there will be plenty dove foods available for mourning doves except in areas where flooding occurred,” said Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD dove program leader. “This may make dove hunting a little more difficult due to thick vegetation cover, and hunters will need to spend a little more time finding downed birds in areas due to this issue during opening day in some areas.”


Texas 2016-17 Dove Hunting Seasons

Dove season in Texas‘ North Zone runs Sept. 1 – Nov. 13 and Dec. 17 – Jan. 1, 2017; in the Central Zone from Sept. 1 – Nov. 6 and Dec. 17 – Jan. 8, 2017; and in the South Zone from Sept. 23 – Nov. 13 and Dec. 17 – Jan. 23, 2017. The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 and the possession limit 45.

In the Special White-winged Dove Area, the season runs Sept. 3-4, 10-11, Sept. 23 – Nov. 9, Dec. 17 – Jan. 23, 2017. During the early two weekends in the Special White-winged Dove Area, hunting is allowed only in the afternoon and the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. During the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit is 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

Longer Dove Hunting Season in Texas: 20 Days More

With a new slate of fall hunting seasons ahead of us Texas hunters will be getting even more this year, 20 days more of dove hunting, to be exact. And with good sunflower production across the state thanks to all of the rain we received during the first-half of the year, it’s very timely that Texas hunters will have even more days to hunt dove.

The 2016-2017 Texas dove hunting season dates have been approved by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), and this year the season has been extended from 70 days up to 90 days, per the new federal framework for migratory bird hunting seasons.

Dove Hunting in Texas

All indications are that mourning and white-winged dove populations are doing well. Lots of rain and forage should translate into a robust year for hunters, with plenty of time to take advantage of bird numbers. The additional dove hunting days are being integrated early in the season to take advantage of doves migrating into the state.


Dove Hunting Season Dates by Texas Dove Zone

  • North Zone: September 1 – November 13, 2016 and December 17, 2016 – January 1, 2017
  • Central Zone: September 1 – November 6, 2016 and December 17, 2016 – January 8, 2017
  • South Zone: September 23 – November 13, 2016 and December 17, 2016 to January 23, 2017

Dove Season Dates for Texas’ Special White-Winged Area

  • Special Season: September 3-4 and September 10-11, 2016 (legal shooting hours are noon to sunset)
  • Regular Season: Sep. 23 – November 9, 2016 and December 17, 2016 – January 23, 2017

Longer Dove Season in Texas

There will be a longer dove hunting season in Texas since state wildlife officials got exactly what they asked for. In fact, Texas dove hunters will have an additional 20 days this fall under proposed changes by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to the 2016-17 Statewide Hunting Proclamation for Migratory Game Birds up for public comment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a 90-day Texas dove season, the longest in 80 years.

TPWD staff proposes to integrate the additional 20 dove hunting days early in the season to take advantage of migrating birds. The traditional September 1 dove season opening day in the North and Central Zones would remain, while the South Zone would open Sept. 23. The first segment in the North and South zones would extend through Nov. 13, while the Central Zone would run until Nov. 6. The season would reopen statewide Dec. 17 and run through Jan. 1, 2017 in the North Zone, Jan. 8, 2017 in the Central Zone and Jan. 23, 2017 in the South Zone.

The daily bag limit for doves statewide would remain 15 and the possession limit 45.

The Special White-winged Dove Area would be restricted to afternoon only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two full September weekends on Sept. 3-4 and 10-11. Hunting in this area would reopen Sept. 23 and continue through, Nov. 13, and then reopen Dec. 17 through Jan. 19, 2017. During the early two weekends, the daily bag limit would be 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Once the general dove hunting season opens, the aggregate bag limit would be 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

No matter how you slice it, dove hunting opportunities in Texas will increase this fall. It remains to be seen whether or not the weather will cooperate with hunters headed to the field later this year.

Dove Hunting 101 – Abilene, Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Biologist Landon Cook will discuss dove hunting in general as well as the recently-released “Dove Lethality Study” conducted by TPWD in Brown, Coleman and McCulloch counties comparing lead versus steel shot. In addition, BSA Longhorn Council’s Jeff Peters will be presenting ‘Venomous Snakes in Texas’. Live specimens will be on hand. Bring a camera, a king snake might be hungry!

Randy Spradlin, TPWD West Texas Hunter Education Specialist, will discuss shooting and shooting techniques as we all prepare for the upcoming dove hunting season that kicks off on September 1. He will touch on judging distances (subtending) and shot patterning, too.

Dove Hunting 101 in Texas

Bring your shotgun, eye and hearing protection with a box (or more) of your dove hunting ammunition of choice. In flight sight picture, effective shot patterning and sporting clays shooting will happen after the retriever presentation at the lake. Taylor County Game Wardens have prepared a game laws presentation.

Members of the Lonesome Dove Hunting Retriever Club are conducting a retrieving demonstration with dogs of various skill levels and training from puppies to finished hunt test and field trial champions. Attending volunteer hunter education instructors will receive 25 workshop incentive points.

Whether you hunt private land or public dove hunting lands offered by TPWD, this event will be educational and informative. The Dove Hunting 101 event will take place on Saturday, August 8, 2015 from 8 AM to 2:30 PM at Abilene State Park, 150 Park Rd 32, Tuscola, TX 79562. Pre-registration is required. For more information, email TPWD’s West Texas Hunter Education Specialist, Randy Spradlin at randy.spradlin@tpwd.texas.gov or by calling 512-923-3509.

Dove Hunting Prospects, Reproduction Good in Texas

Dove hunting in Texas typically ranges from good to great depending on the area and the year. Doves are migratory, so finding the right place to hunt is as important as the dove population, which should be up big this year. Dove hunters will have more opportunity earlier in the season with dates and bag limits finalized recently by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the 2015-2016 Texas dove season, including a 70-day season and 15-bird daily bag statewide, and a 16-day early teal and Canada goose season.

The traditional September 1 dove season opening day in the North and Central Zones remains. The first segment in those zones will be five days longer than last season, closing on Sunday, Oct. 25. The season will reopen Friday, Dec. 18 and run through Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 in the North and Central Zones.

In the South Zone, the first segment will be longer by two days compared to last year. The South Zone opens Friday, Sept. 18 and runs through Wednesday, Oct. 21. The second segment will run Friday, Dec. 18 through Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 and the possession limit is 45.

The Special White-winged Dove Area will be restricted to afternoon only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two full September weekends on Sept. 5-6 and 12-13. Dove hunting in this area will reopen Friday, Sept. 18 and continue through Wednesday, Oct. 21, and then reopen Friday, Dec. 18 through Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. During the early two weekends, the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Once the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit will be 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

“Age-ratios (juveniles versus adults) from last season indicated very strong production in mourning doves across Texas last year; we expect similar or slightly increased production this year with the improved habitat conditions across nearly all of Texas,” said Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD’s dove program leader. “However, improved habitat conditions equal more food and water on the landscape, which means hunters may need to spend more time patterning mourning doves prior to opening day in their area.”

Steel Shot for Dove Hunting in Texas

We all know that lead shot is a bad deal for waterfowl when it’s left on the landscape, so what about for doves? Findings released by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) suggests that there is no difference in effectiveness between lead and steel shot when used for dove hunting. It’s been decades since steel shot was banned for ducks and geese, so I’m more than a little surprised that it’s taken this long to look at upland game birds.

Based on a recent news release, TPWD is not currently suggesting any regulation change with regards to a steel shot only dove hunting season. However, I’d be all for a regulation change that did just that. Let’s face it, lead is a bad deal for just about every living thing. And we all know there is a lot of spent lead shot lying around the properties that we hunt. More than we’d like to admit. More missed shots than we’d like to remember.

Dove Hunting in Texas

Shot pellets are about the same size as the hard-coated seeds that doves and quail typically eat. The term “feed them lead” takes on a whole new meaning, but now it’s not nearly as exciting as shouted while hunting doves on a warm Texas afternoon. Instead the birds merely get sick and die a miserable death—and this happens year-round. That means less doves come breeding and hunting season. The mourning dove population has not been thriving. There are definitely fewer quail.

“Our findings address the efficiency of lead and non-toxic shot on mourning dove,” said Corey Mason, a TPWD wildlife biologist and one of the authors of the report. “There continues to be a spirited national discussion on the use of lead and other types of shot and these results help inform one aspect of the conversation.”

I’d rather have more birds available to shoot at during the dove hunting season. And maybe even some quail, too. Obviously, switching to steel shot for all bird hunting is not a cure-all for anything habitat related, but it sure won’t hurt the birds that are out there.

Source: “We absolutely believe in hunter choice and we also want hunters to be as informed as possible on matters affecting their outdoor pursuits,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “Dove are a shared international resource, and the question about whether or not lead shot should be banned for dove hunting is not something Texas is prepared to make independent of other jurisdictions and based solely on the findings of this study. This research offers an important data point in the larger discussion, but there are many other factors to consider.”

An internationally recognized shotgun ballistics expert, who has authored more than a dozen similar studies involving waterfowl and upland game birds, designed the study. The study examined three, 12-gauge, 2 ¾-inch loads designed and manufactured to mirror loads that are used most often by dove hunters. The different load types included: 1 ⅛ ounce of No. 7 ½ lead shot, 1 ounce of No. 6 steel shot, and 1 ounce of No. 7 steel shot.

Dove Season Texas 2014 – It’s Set!

The 2014 dove hunting season will soon be upon Texas, and I for one am looking to make the Central Zone and South Zone openers. Dove hunters will have more opportunity later in the season with dates and bag limits finalized by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) this last week. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the 2014-2015 Texas dove season, including a 70-day season and 15-bird daily bag statewide.

The traditional September 1 dove season opening day in the North and Central Zones of Texas remains; this year falling on Labor Day Monday. However, the first segment in those zones will be shorter than last season, closing on Monday, Oct. 20. The hunting season will reopen Friday, Dec. 19 and run through Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 in the North and Central Zones.

Texas Dove Hunting Season and Zones

In the South Zone and Special White-winged Dove Area, the first segment will be shortened by five days compared to last year, and those days would be added to the end of the second segment. The South Zone opens Friday, Sept. 19 and runs through Monday, Oct. 20. The second segment will run Friday, Dec. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015.

The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 and the possession limit is 45.

The Special White-winged Dove Area will be restricted to afternoon only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two full September weekends on Sept. 6-7 and 13-14. Dove hunting in this area will reopen Friday, Sept. 19 and continue through Monday, Oct. 20, and then reopen Friday, Dec. 19 through Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. During the early two weekends, the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Once the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit will be 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

Texas North Zone Dove Hunting Opens HOT

Most reports indicate that the Texas dove hunting season opened up with a bang in the North Zone on September 1. Good hunts were reported all throughout Central and North-Central Texas based on outfitter reports. Harvested corn and milo fields proved successful in the blackland prairies around Elgin and Taylor for both mourning and white-winged doves according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologist and game wardens.

“A lot of hunters were limiting out in the morning, and anyone who really wanted to got their limit Sunday if they hunted morning and evening,” reported Lt. Mike Mitchell, the TPWD’s Law Enforcement Division’s technology and special projects officer. Mitchell spent Sunday riding with a game warden and reported their law enforcement activities real-time via Twitter. The wardens contacted scores of hunters, and Mitchell used a department smart phone to send 36 tweets, many accompanied by photographs and links to further information.

Texas North Zone Dove Hunting

Federal migratory bird regulations prohibit hunting mourning and whitewing doves over bait, but doves can be attracted both effectively and legally in throughout the state using managed fields. Fields managed as wildlife food plots or where normal agricultural practices have occurred are perfectly legal for dove hunting as long as there is no bait is placed out for birds.

Baiting includes placing grains, salt or other attractants in an area used for bird hunting.

Generally the most productive dove fields have sunflowers, but wheat, millet and even native plant fields can yield quick limits for hunters willing to make the most of what they’ve got.
Dove field preparation is relatively simple, although weather, agricultural practices or other food plots for doves in the surrounding area will influence whether doves will use the field. Careful management and a little luck can lead to some really hot dove hunting, and I’m not just talking about the weather.

Texas Dove Hunting Season: Load Up!

It’s mid-August and thoughts of the upcoming Texas dove hunting season are already dancing in my head. There is nothing more fun that some fast-paced wingshooting on a warm Texas evening by a receding stock tank with a couple of your buddies. I grew up hunting doves with my dad and it, along with rabbit hunting, was really my gateway to the hunting word. The September dove opener always marks the beginning of another fall of hunting. The seem to get here faster and faster every year.

Texas dove hunters should see plenty of opportunity this fall as conditions are shaping up for an above average season, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Dove season kicks off Sunday, September 1 across most of the state. Texas dove hunters number upwards of 250,000 and collectively bag between 5-6 million doves during the 70-day season. Thanks to new rules approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) this year, hunters can possess up to 45 birds — three times the daily bag limit. Previously, the possession limit was twice the daily bag. Daily bag limits still apply.

Texas Dove Hunting - Texas Dove Season

The USFWS also approved for this year an expanded Special White-wing Dove Area (SWWDA) in South Texas. The SWWDA will now extend eastward along its current boundary and continue south along Interstate 37 from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, effectively doubling its current size.

“For the last two decades, white-winged dove populations have steadily expanded both their numbers and their geographical extent,” said Dave Morrison, Small Game Program Director with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We believe, and the Service agrees, an expansion is appropriate to take advantage of additional dove hunting opportunities.”

To take advantage of the earliest possible opening dates for the special area, the season will run Sunday, September 1 through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, and then reopen Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8. The daily bag limit during the combined four-day season is 15 doves in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves and hunting during the early dove season in the SWWDA is permitted only from noon to sunset.

Dove season in the North and Central zones will run concurrent from September 1-October 23 and December 20-January 5. The South Zone dove season is set for September 20-October 27 and December 20-January 20, with the regular season in the SWWDA September 20-October 23 and December 20-January 20.

According to Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD’s Dove Program Leader, hunters can expect to see an increase from last year in dove numbers. “It appears that breeding dove numbers have increased from last year in many regions of the state,” he said. “Increased precipitation helped improve dove production and generate ample food supplies. It should be a good dove hunting season.”