Georgia’s dove hunting season opens Saturday., and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) wants to know who has plans for opening day.
“Dove season is a fantastic reason to introduce someone new to hunting, it brings a lot of joy to participants and is a great kick off to the fall hunting season,” said John W. Bowers, Chief of WRD Game Management. “Georgia has more than 50 public dove fields, including opportunities on private land made available to the public through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called the Voluntary Public Access (VPA)/Habitat Incentive Program.”
The official 2017-2018 dove seasons are Sept. 2-17, Oct. 14-Nov. 2 and Nov. 23 - Jan. 15. Shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day (Sept. 2) and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season dates.
New this year: License change
Dove hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a Georgia hunting license and a Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. The Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp is required for all migratory bird hunters (doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, coots, rails, or gallinules), even if a hunting license is not required.
This stamp is how Georgia participates in the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Some licenses allow the license holder to get the Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp at no cost. The Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp is only valid for a single season, March to February. Hunters must obtain a new Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp each season.
For more information, visit www.youtube.com/user/GeorgiaWildlife (click on “Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp”). Hunters may purchase licenses online at http://georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at license vendor locations (list of vendors available online).
Dove season tips and information:
• Dove field forecast (http://georgiawildlife.com/DoveForecast): The dove field forecast identifies available crops and anticipates hunting conditions for opening day.
• Regulations quick review: The daily bag limit is 15 doves per hunter. Collared doves may be taken and do not count toward your daily limit. Any auto-loading or other repeating shotgun must be plugged to hold no more than three shot shells while hunting doves. And, as always, hunters must obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property.
• Report banded doves: In 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Research Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with several states, including Georgia, initiated an ongoing dove banding project. Hunters can participate in this conservation effort by examining harvested doves for leg bands and reporting band numbers to the USFWS at www.reportband.gov.
• Private field plans? Make sure field is legal: Check out the online brochure, “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at http://georgiawildlife.com/migratory-bird-info.
For more information on dove hunting in Georgia, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/regulations.