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All signs point to exceptional dove-hunting season 

Posted August 26, 2020

Opening day is Tuesday, Sept. 1 


PHOENIX — Delayed. Postponed. Or, just flat-out scrubbed.

Looking back, 2020 will go down as the year in which our daily lives were turned on their ears, not so much remembered for what we did but what we couldn’t do.

Fortunately, hunting memories are waiting to be made when the 2020 dove season opens Sept. 1. It will still be important to remain physically distant from other groups, or persons not in your same party or household, of course, but Arizona’s dove hunters are strongly encouraged to stay socially connected and share in the fun experiences.

“The great news is that another exceptional early season is expected,” said Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “A longer wet winter delayed some early nesting, but it pushed more of that nesting into the prime breeding season in the deserts. 

“The bottom line is that a lot of birds should be around for the season opener, especially since the summer monsoon has been relatively weak so far.”

Here’s the most important thing hunters should know: In this time when everyone is being encouraged to limit their exposure in public places, it’s much easier and more convenient to buy hunting licenses and state migratory bird stamps online at  

The 15-day “early” season gets underway 30 minutes before legal sunrise Sept. 1. The daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves, of which no more than 10 may be white-winged. The possession limit is 45 mourning and white-winged in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 may be taken in any one day. Of the 45-dove possession limit, only 30 may be white-winged, of which no more than 10 may be taken in any one day. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit on the invasive Eurasian collared-dove.

Once again, the greatest number of doves — and dove hunters — will be concentrated in the state’s agricultural areas, particularly those that produce small-grain crops like wheat, barley, oats and sorghum. That includes locations like Yuma, one of the premier destinations in the U.S., as well as Buckeye, Eloy, Florence, Gila Bend, Toltec and others. Note: All National Park Service parks and monuments are closed to hunting unless specifically opened in Commission Order.    

All dove hunters should review the “2020-2021 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations,” which are posted at The regulations have been produced in a format that hunters will find particularly handy in the field. The color brochure is easy to read and features important hunting information, such as season dates, daily bag and possession limits, and legal requirements, at a glance. 

All hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license, as well as a migratory bird stamp — both of which can be purchased online now at A youth combination hunt/fish license (for youth hunters 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes a migratory bird stamp. 

For everything else “dove,” visit This web page offers helpful information  from hunting safety tips during the pandemic to a list of the top infractions for which citations are written every season. Also, check out O’Dell’s video that shows in detail a couple of techniques for field-dressing doves.

Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds consist of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, shooting ranges, boating access and more.