AZ dove info


Mar 11, 2001
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The 2001 Arizona Dove, and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations have been posted on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Internet Home Page at and the printed Dove Regulations will be sent to license dealers Aug. 3.

     As in the past, there is a 15-day early dove season starting Sept. 1. Once again this year, there is morning-only hunting in the lower elevation hunt management units, and all day in the high country units. Juniors up through age 17 will be able to hunt all day in both zones.

     Keep in mind that youth from age 14 through 17 must be licensed. Dove hunters younger than age 14 must be accompanied by a licensed adult.

     The popular Juniors-Only Dove Season at the Powers Butte Wildlife Area near Buckeye is set for the weekend of Sept. 8-9. Youth are eligible to participate up to and throughout the calendar year of their 17th birthday.

To check for area dove info, click this link if not listed below.

Pat Barber, Wildlife Manager

Overview: Unit 43B does not have the tremendous dove populations that can be found in other Yuma area units, because there isn't nearly as much agriculture. Hunters who wish to get away from the crowds and still get a limit (though it will probably take longer then 20 minutes), can find a place in 43B.

Areas: The Gila Valley, North and East of Yuma along Highway 95, does contain a fair amount of agricultural fields and dove. Hunters will want to scout early to ensure they find a spot where they are not hunting within a half mile of any buildings. Also while scouting, hunters might want to think about obtaining permission from the farmers who own the fields. Getting permission before a hunt not only does great things for the image of hunters, but it is much better to find out which areas are off limits before the season rather then as the birds start flying on opening morning. Scouting can also prove beneficial in locating grain fields, which usually provide the best dove hunting.

Hunters interested in a completely different dove hunt might try locating water sources out in the desert areas to the North. Shooting in these areas will be less frantic, and there will be fewer people. Water sources near to roosting sights will prove to be the most fruitful.

John Sims, Wildlife Manager
Overview: Dove hunting in the unit, particularly the Yuma area, is some of the best in the state. Mourning dove make up the majority of the harvest, but depending on the weather white wings may be plentiful. If you plan on hunting this area, plan on fast shooting and sharing the field with other hunters. Hunters should be aware of specific areas within the unit, primarily the Cocopah, and Quechan Indian Reservations. If hunters choose to hunt near the reservation, make sure you are clear on the boundaries. If you would like specific information on the reservation, you can contact the Cocopah Tribal Police Department at (520) 627-8857, or Quechan Tribal Fish and Game Office at (760) 572-0544.

Hunters should be aware that a large portion of Unit 40B is located within the Barry M. Goldwater Range. Range permits are required to access the area. To obtain a range access permit, contact the Yuma Range Department (MCAS-Yuma) at (520) 341-3402, BLM at the Deer Valley or Yuma Office, Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field (520) 683-6237, or the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (520) 387-6483. Note, all off-road vehicles must meet street legal requirement prior to entering the range.

Be sure to pick up a copy of current Migratory Bird regulations and up date yourself on season dates, bag and possession limits, and legal shooting hours prior to going into the field.

Areas: Yuma Valley: Concentrate your efforts around citrus groves and agriculture lands. Keep in mind areas along the Colorado River as dove often water at the river after feeding. As always, hunters are reminded not to shoot within a quarter mile of an occupied structure, and be sure to obtain landowner permission prior to hunting private land.

Yuma Mesa: As with the Yuma Valley, concentrate your efforts around the citrus groves and agriculture lands as dove usually occur in higher densities in these areas. This area has a lot of birds, which should provide excellent hunting.

If you choose to get away from the crowds and head out into the desert, look for areas providing cover/ water. These areas may pay off and be less crowded.

Unit 40B is split east and west of the Mohawk Mountains. If you would like information regarding the East Side of Unit40B, contact Wildlife Manager Dan Urquidez at the Yuma Region Office at (520) 342-0091.

Ken Clay III, Wildlife Manager
Overview: Population surveys for dove is not conducted in this unit, however dove commonly found near and around Lake Havasu. The harvest over the last few years has been variable influence by both the numbers of hunters and dove. In 1997 harvest was down due to fewer birds, and in 1998 harvest was down due to the lack of hunter participation. This year the dove flight will be about average for the area. The first couple days of the season will be good but will taper off by the weekend depending on the pressure. The majority of the birds harvested in this unit are mouring doves although a few white wings are taken each year.

Dove in this unit is drawn to the habitat created by development in Lake Havasu City. The majority of these birds are found along the lake’s shoreline adjacent to the city. This area has plenty of food, water, and cover for dove. The vegetation found outside the city and away from the lake does not hold many doves. Dove numbers drop as you move further into the desert and away from the city and the lake.

Areas: The best place to hunt in this unit is in the Desert Hills area. Desert Hills is located just North of the Lake Havasu City limits. The legal hunting area in Desert Hills extends about three miles from the area behind the Tamarisk Inn, North to Vista Drive in Crystal Beach. This area is made up of sand dunes, salt cedars, and thick mesquite groves. This area is subject to NO SHOOTING within a 1/4 mile of a building.

The land ownership is private, State Land, and National Wildlife Refuge. The posted portions of private land are not lawful to hunt unless the owner grants permission. All the State Land in this area is open to hunting. The Havasu Wildlife Refuge has portions both open and closed to hunting. The portion of Refuge that lies within the Lake Havasu City limits is closed to hunting. The area that lies North of the city limits to Vista Drive in Crystal Beach is opening to hunting. The portion of Refuge that extends from Vista Drive North to Interstate 40 is closed to all hunting. Hunting done on the Havasu Refuge must be in compliance with Refuge Rules and Regulation. Please note that you may only be in possession of NON-TOXIC SHOT while hunting on the Refuge. For additional Refuge information call (760) 326-3853.

This unit falls into the southern hunt zone where the hunt begins at first light and ends at noon. New for this year is a noon until sunset JUNIORS ONLY dove hunt. Juniors (kid who are or were 15 during 1999) must either posses a hunting license if they are 14 years old or older. Unlicensed kids less than 14 years old must be accompanied by a properly licensed adult.

Stewart Kohnke, Matt Peirce & Ken Clay III, Wildlife Managers

Overview: Mourning and whitewing doves are found throughout the unit. Dove numbers have increased this year due to the above normal (El Nino) winter rains. Whitewings should be plentiful this year unless there are (usually it takes several) monsoon storms just before the season. Most often, whitewings can still be found around the agricultural fields in the southern part of the unit. Usually with some pre-opening day scouting one can find concentrations of whitewings.

Hunters usually concentrate around the agricultural areas between Aguila and Salome. These areas are especially good during drier years. In wetter years like this year more forage and the resulting seed production can produce impressive flights at the desert stock ponds. When hunting stock ponds do not expect much activity until mid to late morning. Dove usually feed first thing in the morning before going to water. Hunters can use this strategy by hunting around agriculture for the first few hours then driving to a stock pond later in the morning.

This year with the abundance of feed in the desert, the late season can be exceptional and with fewer hunters. Dove will exhibit the same pattern of going to water mid morning. This hunt overlaps the quail hunt and offers an under utilized opportunity to hunt two bird species during cooler conditions in the desert.

Hunters are reminded to camp more than a quarter mile from water and not to shoot within a quarter mile of an occupied structure. Be sure to pick up a copy of the current Migratory Bird Regulations to check bag and possession limits, season dates, and legal shooting hours before going in the field.

Areas: The agricultural fields are found just north of Interstate 10 at the Vicksburg Road, north of SR 72 off the Vicksburg Road in Butler Valley, between Salome and Aguila off SR 60 and SR 71, and south of Salome on the Salome/Buckeye Road. Remember large portions of these agricultural fields are privately owned and some are closed to hunting. The desert surrounding these agricultural fields is usually not private land and consistently has a good number of birds.

The areas northwest of Wickenburg to Alamo Lake are dotted with stock ponds. Just about every dirt road between the dirt Alamo road and State Route 71 between Highway 93 and Aguila will eventually end at a stock pond. There are several stock ponds west of Highway 93 north of the dirt Alamo Road and east of the Black Mountains.

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