LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - To say dove hunting in Texas is popular is an understatement. In recent years more than 300,000 hunters have harvested an estimated 10 million doves annually.
Dove hunting season kicks off this weekend in the state of Texas.
Aaron Sims is a Game Warden in Lubbock and says, "September 1st, Saturday, a lot of Texans look forward to it and so do game wardens. That's really going to kick off the 2018-2019 hunting season. And it starts out with dove. Dove is very popular around here, especially the first few weeks."
How many and what kind of doves can you hunt in one day?
"Within our region in the Lubbock area, there are three species of dove that are available to hunt for harvest. We've got our native mourning dove; our native white-winged dove and we also have an introduced species called the Euroasion collard-dove," explains migratory game bird expert, Don Kahl, "for the Euroasion collard-dove, there is no season or bag limit. For the mourning dove and our white-winged dove, we've got a daily bag limit of 15 birds combined."
Sims and Khal share some tips and some do's and don'ts this hunting season:
1: Check to make sure your hunting license is good. September 1st is a new hunting license year and make sure you have the appropriate hunting stamps like the migratory game bird and HIP certification.
You can get your license at the Lubbock location of the Texas Parks and Wildlife or online at their website.
2: Migratory game birds can be hunted 30 minutes prior to sunrise up into the official sunset time.
3: Make sure you have permission to go onto property to hunt. Hunting without consent in the state of Texas is a class A misdemeanor for the dove. There are public hunting spots around Abernathy and Idalou and far southeastern Terry County. It's $48 for a public hunting permit to hunt in those spots.
4: Dove can be found near water sources.
5: If you shoot a bird with a band on its leg, you're encouraged to report that band and that band number. The band should have a website where you can report when and where you harvested the bird.
6: Reduce bird wound loss. keep track of where birds fall and collect them immediately if possible.
1: Always point your muzzle in a safe direction at all times. Know your zone of fire. Give yourself enough space. If you go hunting alone, tell family or friends where you're going and when you plan on being back.
2: watch out for snakes, especially rattlesnakes. Wear snake guards for the shins or high boots. Be cautious when you step over logs or other types of debris.
3: make good shooting choices. Try not to shoot birds from too far out.
But most of all they want you to be safe and have fun.
"Let's all just have some fun. Do your homework, renew your license and get after the dove," Sims says.