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.”

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