How’s the Hunting?
Dove season prospects are bright; find the full hunting forecast in our digital extra.
By Steve Lightfoot
Texas dove hunters should see plenty of opportunities this fall as conditions are shaping up for an above-average season. Dove season kicked off Sept. 1 across most of the state.
Texas dove hunters number upwards of 250,000 and collectively bag 5 million to 6 million doves during the 70-day season. Thanks to new rules approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) this year, hunters can possess up to 45 birds — three times the daily bag limit. Previously, the possession limit was twice the daily bag. Daily bag limits still apply.
What effect does the ongoing drought have on other game species? You can find the full hunting forecast on white-tailed deer and other animals in Texas Hunting 2013, a fall digital-only special, free to the public, from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Access it at www.tpwmagazine.com.
The USFWS also approved for this year an expanded Special White-wing Dove Area in South Texas. The special area will extend eastward along its current boundary and continue south along Interstate 37 from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, effectively doubling in size.
“For the last two decades, white-winged dove populations have steadily expanded both their numbers and their geographical extent,” says Dave Morrison, TPWD small game program director. “We believe, and the service agrees, an expansion is appropriate to take advantage of additional hunting opportunities.”
According to Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD’s dove program leader, hunters can expect to see an increase from last year in dove numbers.
“It appears that breeding dove numbers have increased from last year in many regions of the state,” he says. “Increased precipitation helped improve dove production and generate ample food supplies. It should be a good season.”