Dove season is here

August 31, 2013

Dove season will start again this September as it all ways does and our state hunters will be out in force. The season seems to come and go, and many will be ready to take advantage of the relatively short season.

Dove season in Hood County runs from Sept. 1 through Oct. 23, and again from Dec. 20 to Jan. 5. These same time periods apply for the North and Central Zones (Hood County is in the Central Zone). Consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife 2013-14 Outdoor Annual for all regulations and limits.

The dove limit this year is 15 per day (white-wing, mourning and white tipped), with no more than two white tipped. Possession is limited to twice the daily bag limit.

Special white-wing season (shooting hours are noon to sunset) is Sept. 1, 2, 7 and 8. Limit for the special white-winged areas are 15 white-winged, mourning and white-tipped doves, to include not more than two mourning and two white-tips. Again, consult the TPWD Outdoor Annual.

The South Zone season, for those of you heading south, is Sept. 20 through Oct .27 and Dec. 20 through Jan. 20. Limit is the same in the South Zone as it is for the North and Central Zones.

All across North America from Mexico to Canada, the mourning dove is the most popular migratory game bird. This bird is extremely sporting. The mourning dove’s speedy flight and its ability to make changes in directions quickly make it a difficult target at times.

The most successful dove hunters generally begin their season by scouting possible feeding and watering areas prior to hunting season. Typical areas that many hunters look for are those with wild sunflower, recently harvested grain or hay fields, and of course if there is water nearby this may help, especially during a dry summer.

Once you find an area to hunt, set up where you believe the birds will fly from their roost to where they will feed. Many will set up near water. It is good to have some cover if possible, or camouflage, though many will sit in open areas on the edge of open fields.

Many dove hunters will work together in an area to keep birds moving. It is advisable to have a good safe distance between each hunter for safety reasons. If you are hunting close together, it is a good idea to decide where each person’s shooting window is.

Another option is to take turns, but this doesn’t work too well when a bunch of birds are flying.

One thing about dove hunting is that is does not take a whole lot of equipment. A camouflage t-shirt and hat, a bucket to sit on and a shotgun and you are in business. You may want to have some sunscreen and an ice chest this time of the year.

Twelve- or 20-gauge shotguns with improved cylinder or modified chokes are the most popular guns. Smaller gauge shotguns can be used as well, but they require you to be a better shot as you have less shot to kill with.

Regardless of which gauge is chosen it is a good idea to pattern your gun before the season begins. It is also a good idea to practice on some clay targets before heading out, as these flighty birds can be real sporty.

Identifying mourning doves at close range is easy as they have small heads and long-pointed tails and wings. There are other species of birds such as the killdeer that are similar to dove from a distance.

Some of these other birds may be protected species. Hunters should be able to distinguish between these other species. If in doubt don’t shoot.

There are a few different ways to clean dove, but the way I was taught as a kid is to remove the head, push the feathers off of the breast and pull out its breast. Some folks cut the breast out.

Dove are excellent table fare and can be cooked a number of ways. Many folks will fry or grill the breast. Many local recipes include baking or grilling the breast wrapped in bacon. We used to deep-fry dove breasts with our fish fry. Sounds great, but I bet my doctor would not agree.

If you get a chance, get out there and enjoy a dove hunt. Don’t forget your hearing protection.

HOOD COUNTY FISHING REPORT

Remember, hunting and fishing licenses are on sale. Most licenses expire Aug. 31. Don’t get caught with an expired license.

Water temperatures continue to hover around the upper 80s with the hot days this week.

Sand bass continue to be excellent on slabs and jigs when deeper and any type shad imitation when they are feeding on top. Black bass continue to be fair to good on soft plastics and crankbaits. A few crappie catches continue to come in.

Granbury continues to fall. Be careful navigating the lake as there are many obstructions lying just under the surface.

Squaw Creek black bass continue to be good on soft plastics near underwater structure. Deep diving crankbaits continue to produce as well. Tilapias are thriving on Squaw Creek, and many are looking to catch these tasty devils.

Possum Kingdom striper fishing has been fair to good on the lower ends on live bait. Hybrid action on Proctor and Benbrook are fair to good on live shad near channel ledges. Sand bass continue to be good on lake Whitney with an occasional striper being caught. Lewisville hybrids continue to be good as well on mid-lake humps on live bait and slabs.

[email protected] | 817-578-0023

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Category: Sports Archived