Dove Season Opener Next Week
The traditional start of the fall hunting seasons is just around the corner now as the Missouri dove season opens on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Even though it may be uncomfortably warm, the vegetation is mostly still green and I may have to swat a few mosquitoes, I’m still excited that the dove season has almost arrived. Once Missouri bird hunters get started with doves, additional opportunities will come quickly for teal (Sept. 12), fall turkey (Oct. 1), American woodcock (Oct. 15), and quail and pheasant (Nov. 1). Beginning with the dove opener, upland bird hunters will have some season open through Jan. 15, 2010. That’s four and a half months of opportunity to enjoy Missouri bird hunting, and it all starts next week.
If you are a dove hunter, here are some things that you have one week left to do:
- Purchase any permits that you don’t have already. If you are 16 or older but not yet 65, you’ll need a Small Game Hunting Permit, unless you are a landowner or member of the landowner’s immediate household and hunting on your own land. If 16 or older, all hunters, except lifetime permit holders, will also need a Migratory Bird Permit.
- Scout dove hunting fields to locate a good spot to hunt (see dove maps on MDC online atlas). Look for fields already being visited by good numbers of doves. These may be sunflower or wheat fields where seeds are mature and some mowing has been done. If you plan to walk into the area before daylight, some advanced scouting will make that task easier in the dark.
- Get your gear located and organized. Remember that some MDC areas require the use of non-toxic shot rather than lead. Let your past experience be your guide as to how many shells may be required for you to fill a limit. Five or six shells per bird is not unreasonable for novices. If your shotgun uses choke tubes, you’ll probably want to use a relatively open choke such as modified or improved cylinder.
Missouri dove hunting regulations and information can be found in the 2009 Migratory Bird Hunting Digest. Note: This year’s daily limit is 15 doves, up from the 12-bird limit of recent years.
Remember safety above all else; dove fields can be crowded with hunters, especially on opening day. No bird is worth harming another hunter by taking an unsafe shot. If you don’t wear glasses normally, you should wear safety glasses while hunting. Be an ethical hunter, and don’t crowd into a field already full of hunters. Pick up and carry out your spent shotshells.