August 23, 2011
By by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Mourning dove season opens Sept. 1, 2011, and for many hunters it marks the beginning of the fall hunting seasons, according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the Division of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Section. The 2011 season will again be split into three segments: Sept. 1 through Oct. 8; Oct. 24 through Nov. 12; and Dec. 26 through Jan. 6, 2012. Shooting hours are from noon to sunset on Sept. 1 and one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for all other days. The daily bag limit is 15 with a possession limit of 30.
“Mourning dove seasons are set to maximize hunting opportunity in relation to other hunting seasons,” Taylor said. “The bulk of the season falls in September when few other hunting seasons are open and the second and third segments target late crop harvests and the Christmas/New Year holiday period, respectively.”
“Dove hunting is available throughout West Virginia, but dove numbers are typically higher near agricultural areas,” according to Taylor. ”A recently harvested grain field with water nearby is always a sure bet for dove hunting, but nontraditional sites such as reclaimed mine sites or even clearcuts should not be overlooked.”
Hunters should be contacting landowners now for permission to hunt on private land. Scouting areas immediately prior to when you plan to hunt is very important.
Federal regulations require all licensed dove hunters (including lifetime and senior citizens) to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) and carry proof of registration while hunting. HIP registration is free and available from DNR offices and all hunting license outlets. Hunters may not hunt migratory birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells unless the shotgun is “plugged” with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun.
Several hundred doves are banded with leg bands each year in West Virginia for monitoring and research purposes. If you harvest a banded bird, you can report it by calling 1-800-327-2263 or online at www.reportband.gov.
Hunters may keep the band and will receive the banding information for the bird. More information on mourning dove season can be found in the 2011-2012 West Virginia Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations, which should be available from DNR offices and license agents in late August. They are posted now on the DNR website (www.wvdnr.gov).