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Dove Season Opens Saturday, Sept. 6

September is rapidly approaching, do you know where you will be on opening day of dove season and who is headed out with you? The Georgia dove season opens at noon on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.

“While we encourage taking along someone new on any hunting trip, the opening day of dove season typically provides such a fun atmosphere that everyone will have a great time,” said John W. Bowers, chief of Game Management. “Additionally, many WMAs have fields managed specifically for doves making it even easier to find a place to go, so don’t wait, get a group together and make some plans.”

The official 2014-2015 dove seasons are Sept. 6-21, Oct. 11-Nov. 3 and Nov. 27 - Jan. 15. Shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day (Sept. 6) and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season dates. Sunrise and sunset times for each day are found in the 2014-2015 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide or online at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations .

Want a preview of what to expect on the dove field? View the newest Wildlife Resources Division YouTube video at www.youtube.com/georgiawildlife and select “Georgia Dove Season 2014-2015.”

Many WMA public dove fields are reserved solely for quota hunts on opening day, so be sure to review dove hunting rules and regulations to ensure the availability of the field you plan to visit.

Regulations quick review: The daily bag limit is 15 doves per hunter. White-winged doves may be harvested, but count toward the daily bag limit of 15. Collared doves may be taken, but do not affect the count of your daily limit. Any autoloading or other repeating shotgun must be plugged to hold no more than three shotshells while hunting doves. And, as always, hunters must obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property.

Dove hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a Georgia hunting license and a free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit. HIP, now in its 19th year, provides biologists with needed information to ensure conservation of migratory bird populations while providing quality hunting opportunities. When hunting on a WMA, you also must possess a WMA license. Hunters may purchase licenses online at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at license vendor locations (list of vendors available online).

Updated and accurate harvest rate estimates facilitate the successful management of 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 by calling 1-800-327-BAND.

Planning on dove hunting at a private field? Be sure that field is legal. How to know? Check out the online brochure, “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/dovebrochure .

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/regulations. The author thanks the Ga DNR for this timely update!