“Unless conditions change drastically over the next few weeks, hunting near water will be key for opening day this year,” said Owen Fitzsimmons, TPWD Dove Program Leader. “Hunters will likely see larger concentrations of birds at watering holes and food sources than they have in the past due to limited resources. Agriculture production has been hit hard by drought so birds may be more reliant on native foods this September. Look for stands of common sunflower, croton, and other native annual forbs and grasses.”
“Our spring surveys indicated a decrease in breeding abundance, which is a carry-over from poor hatch-year production last year,” added Fitzsimmons. “However, doves kick reproduction into high gear in dry years like this, and we’re seeing a lot of young birds this summer, based on our banding efforts.”
TPWD officials remind hunters to prepare for the extreme heat and make sure they are packing all the essentials for a day in the field.
The regular dove season in the North Zone runs Sept. 1-Nov. 13 and resumes Dec. 17-Jan.1, 2023. For the second straight year, there will be six Special White-Winged Dove Days. The Special White-Winged Dove Days will be Sept. 2-4 and 9-11.
Hunters are reminded that licenses are on sale now for the 2022-23 hunting seasons and can be purchased through the agency’s 28 law enforcement field offices, at more than 50 state parks and over 1,700 retailers across the state.
A Migratory Game Bird Endorsement (Stamp) and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt dove. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased.