Dove hunting season will open in a few days, and the prospects for hunter success are looking good.
“September 1 is a big day for most of the hunters in the state,” said Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “It’s for sure worth making it out to do some dove hunting.”
Dove season is one of the most highly anticipated hunting seasons in the state, and it’s no wonder why. Dove hunting offers first-class wing-shooting and fine table fare, but it is an easy sport to learn. A shotgun, an ample supply of shotshells and a place to go is all you really need to have a great day of dove hunting.
Richardson said dove capturing and banding efforts in the past several months indicate that dove numbers should be good this year. He said it appears a stormy May across most of Oklahoma did not have much effect on dove nesting success.
“The birds had a lot to eat through summer,” he said, further pointing toward a good number of birds.
Dove can be found throughout Oklahoma, and hunters don’t need to travel far to find them. Excellent hunting can be found at several wildlife management areas managed by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Some portions of many WMAs have been managed specifically for dove. To find out where wildlife management areas are situated in the state, go online to wildlifedepartment.com and click the “Hunting” tab. In addition to detailed maps, sportsmen can find additional information such as camping locations and contact information for local biologists.
Richardson said dove hunters should find success by scouting fields that provide a good food source for dove and hunting around those fields. Because of ample rainfall this summer, watering holes are in good shape and plentiful. Clearings and plowed fields can be good hunting spots, as dove prefer open ground for feeding. Hunters should always obtain permission to hunt private land from the landowner.
Dove season remains open until Oct. 31, then will reopen Dec. 19-27.
Remember, the weekend of Sept. 5-6 is Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days. Sportsmen are encouraged to introduce someone to the sport of hunting on those two days. The Wildlife Department’s game wardens will not enforce requirements for any standard hunting licenses or permits for Oklahoma residents on those days, but they will enforce all other game laws such as bag limits, shotgun plugs and legal shooting hours.