Rise and shine: Dove season opens Wednesday morning
Posted August 30, 2021
PHOENIX — Like clockwork, those gray-feathered missiles called doves will start flying across Arizona’s skies 30 minutes before legal sunrise Wednesday.
Will you be ready?
Before backing out of the driveway, hunters might want to rub the sand out of their eyes and go over that pre-hunt checklist one last time:
- Eye and ear protection. Don’t leave home without it. Period.
- Plenty of drinking water (especially if hunting with dogs), hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and food-storage bags and ice chest to store harvested birds.
- While it’s not legally required, wearing a little orange makes it easier to be seen by other hunters in the predawn hours.
- A valid Arizona hunting license and migratory bird stamp. All hunters 18 and older must be in possession of both while in the field. There’s still time to go online and purchase a combo hunt and fish license that will be valid for the next 365 days — and for only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. Visit www.azgfd.gov/license. Youth hunters (10 to 17) only need a youth combo hunt and fish license for $5. Those under 10 don’t need a hunting license when accompanied by a licensed adult (two children per adult).
The daily bag limit is 15 total doves (mourning and white-winged), of which no more than 10 can be white-winged. The possession limit is 45 total doves after opening day, of which no more than 30 can be white-winged. There are no daily bag or possession limits on invasive Eurasian collared-doves. A fully feathered wing must be left attached to each dove for identification purposes until a hunter reaches his or her permanent residence or where the game meat will be consumed.
NOTE: The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be asking hunters in some areas to voluntarily submit white-winged dove carcasses for a biological study. Department personnel will be located at popular hunting spots in Yuma on Sept. 1 to help hunters remove breast meat and one wing to maintain legality, and collect the remaining carcass (including entrails) for research.
The department reminds dove hunters to review the “2021-2022 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations,” which are posted online at www.azgfd.gov/dove. Hunters also are encouraged to watch a video that demonstrates two techniques for field-dressing doves at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DDRZGPzJDI.
Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds are comprised 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, construction and maintenance of shooting ranges, boating access facilities and more.