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.
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