I’m looking at the calendar, and Sept. 1 is near. For students that means back to school, but for Missouri hunters that marks the opening of dove season and the first of the fall hunting seasons to come. I asked Dave Erickson, assistant director at the Conservation Department, what he likes so much about dove hunting. “Well, it’s the first of the fall hunting, a chance to get outdoors, lots of fast action challenge and a great chance to work with my dog.”
It was five years ago when Dave was Wildlife Division chief that the amount of land managed to create more opportunity for dove hunting quadrupled. “We wanted to give more people a chance to enjoy it,” Dave said. “It’s a good way to get a start in hunting because it doesn’t take a lot gear, training or experience.” Dave paused a second, then amended that last thought with a laugh, “doesn’t take a lot of training—unless you want to actually get some birds.”
Sunflowers are a key planting to attract doves, but this year with the wet spring and later floods, there wasn’t time in some areas to grow a good patch of the plants. Bill Bergh, wildlife management chief, gives a short video reminder of the varied conditions dove hunters can expect this year.