OK: Dove Season Opener Just Around the Corner

OK: Dove Season Opener Just Around the Corner
OK: Dove Season Opener Just Around the Corner

The Sept. 1 dove season opener is fast approaching, marking for many the start of a fall season full of hunting memories.

This year dove season will run Sept. 1 – Oct. 31, statewide, followed by another nine-day period open from Dec. 24 through Jan. 1, 2012, statewide. In previous years, dove season was split only in the southwest portion of the state.

According to Alan Peoples, chief of wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the concept of providing a late season dove hunt during the holidays worked so well in the southwest dove zone that the idea appealed to other regions of the state as well. But until this year, federal framework options set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not provide for it. When the option became available to Oklahoma this year, the Wildlife Department took the opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity that can benefit hunters statewide with more hunting opportunity,” Peoples said.


According to Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Wildlife Department, this season may be “slightly different” than normal.


“Our breeding counts were down at the start of the summer, we had several severe weather outbreaks, followed by extreme heat and drought,” Richardson said. “I'd expect dove numbers to be down some from all that. However, there will still be plenty around. Besides, we have had or are expected to get some ‘cold’ fronts moving through, which will bring birds in from the north.”


According to Richardson, the biggest change for this year relates to habitat conditions.

“A lot of wheat was plowed under early in the year due to the drought, with many farmers replanting, hoping for the spring and early summer rains to salvage the year,” Richardson said. “Fall crops like corn, milo, and sunflower provide 
good dove foods, but again, the drought really limited production across most of the state.”

It also changed the farming timeline.


“Most of the corn around where I live was harvested two weeks ago, and farmers are beginning to plow the fields while the ground has a little moisture,” he said.

By the time dove season arrives, there may little if any food left to attract birds, so Richardson said finding a good dove watering source could be the key to a good hunt.

“Hunters in areas that have been fortunate enough to get enough rain to start refilling ponds will want to find areas that have most recently been harvested, or look for areas of natural foods like sunflower, snow-on-the-mountain or 
croton,” Richardson said.“

Richardson said areas that have been burned by wildfires due to drought this year might in fact offer some good dove habitat.


“The fire creates a lot of bare ground and exposes and scatters seed for the birds to eat,” Richardson said.

Full details and regulations for dove hunting are available in the current “Oklahoma Hunting Guide,” available free online at wildlifedepartment.com or at any location where hunting licenses are sold.

To help well-meaning sportsmen avoid common dove season violations, law enforcement officials with the Wildlife Department advise hunters to read and familiarize themselves with the dove hunting portion of the Hunting Guide, and all other portions that pertain to species they plan to hunt.

“When hunters make a check list before season and follow it, they will be much better prepared,” said Robert Fleenor, law enforcement chief for the Wildlife Department. “Going out at the last minute and not being prepared is the biggest problem.”

The following is a basic checklist to help avoid some of the most common dove season mistakes:

Obtain the appropriate hunting license as well as the Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit.

Use appropriate shotgun plug. Taking migratory game birds such as doves with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined, unless otherwise provided, is prohibited. Fleenor said even well meaning hunters who remember to plug their shotguns should still ensure that the plug they use limits the magazine to two shells.

Obtain landowner permission before hunting on private property.

Do not shoot across or from roadways. Shooting from or across any public road, highway (or right-of-way) or railroad right-of-way is prohibited. Public roadways are defined as any governmental or corporate roadways where vehicular traffic is not restricted and the roadway is routinely used by the general public.

Know your doves. Identification of species is a key to hunter success.

Know you limits. The daily limit for dove is 15, which may consist of any combination of mourning, white-winged and fully dressed Eurasian collared doves (“fully dressed” describes those birds without a head or fully feathered wing naturally attached to the carcass). However, there is no limit on Eurasian collared doves provided that the head or one fully feathered wing remain naturally attached to the carcass of all such birds while being transported to their final destination.

Recommended for You

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set. Hogs

Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think? Bass

MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish! Bass

Baitfish for Bass: Search, Suspend or Sink Crankbaits

Jason Houser - May 21, 2019

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

MLF Pros: What

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Stories

More Stories

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at its Stories

Guns & Loads for Long-Range Coyote Hunting

Stephen D. Carpenteri - December 13, 2015

Predator hunters living in more open areas are in a unique position to enjoy coyote hunting at...

 Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin 30.30 Stories

Grandpa's Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck supremacy? Whitetail

The Next ‘Big Tex' for Trophy Bucks?

Jordan Michaels - October 18, 2019

Could the northern stretches of the Lone Star State one day rival the south for big-buck...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×