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DOVE OPENER SEPTEMBER 1. Jim Matthews column 8/15/07


DOVE OPENER SEPTEMBER 1 ­ jim matthews-ONS ­ 15aug07

Saturday opener for dove season likely to result in bigger crowds

By JIM MATTHEWS Outdoor News Service

This years dove season opener falls on Saturday, Sept. 1, and crowds are likely to be larger than normal for the opening day.

Leon Lesicka, the ramrod behind Desert Wildlife Unlimited (DWU) which has arranged for public hunting on private land in the Imperial Valley the last several seasons, said that 3,700 hunters used the food plots last year and he expected more this season. The fields look really good and there are a lot of dove all over the valley this year ­ north and south, said Lesicka.

DWU, working with the Department of Fish and Game, Quail Unlimited, and other conservation groups, has planted 32 fields in 17 locations in the Imperial Valley. All of these locations are on private land, but a cooperative effort with the landowner and the DWU has allowed for public hunting use. Maps of these fields, the same as those planted last year, will be available throughout the region before and during opening weekend, and hunters can download copies from the DWU web site http://www.desertwildlifeunlimited.com (click on Things To Know and then Field map)

Early reports from throughout Southern California are pointing toward a good dove season opener with a lot of birds in the region. Each year, hunters worry that monsoon rains will push the birds south or scatter them away from traditional locations.

Last year was probably the best whitewing year weve had, but that storm didnt come through, said Lesicka laughing.

David Dolton, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services scientist who compiles and crunches data collected nationally on doves each year from his Colorado office, said dove numbers in California remain about the same as the past few years.

There are some long-term downward trends that are apparent, but on the short-term, the dove population is relatively stable, said Dolton.

Dolton said the USFWS is in the process of modifying the way it evaluates the dove population, with a fledgling banding and wing collection program that will eventually work into a full-blown national program, allowing doves to be managed like waterfowl. California has been a part of the pilot program, and hunters should keep an eye out for banded birds and watch for wing collection stations.

California will again have a split season running from Sept. 1 through 15. It will then close and reopen Nov. 10 and run through Dec. 24. The limit is 10 doves per day, and whitewings may only be taken in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial counties. Eurasian collared doves, an invasive species relatively new to California, are now included in the regular dove bag limit, along with mourning doves, whitewings, ringed turtle doves, and spotted doves. The small, low-flying ground doves (both the common and ruddy subspecies) and Inca doves may not be taken.

Other states have set higher limits, or removed the limit, on Eurasian doves, but DFG warden captain Mike McBride said concerns about hunters not being able to tell the difference between the new collared doves and mourning or whitewing doves prompted the DFG to just include the collared doves as part of the regular bag.

We tried to keep it as simple as possible and make it easy for hunters, said McBride.


Well-known member
I maybe wrong but in California I think there will be less dove hunters than normal. With the no ordering of ammo, having to get permission from the state before buying any ammo and having to find steel shot or lead free ammo for dove hunting, some hunters are just going to say to hell with it and not buy a hunting license.

Isn't the limit on dove 15 birds but only 10 of them can be Whitewing Dove?

Eurasian Collared dove have no limits and they are not included in the daily bag limit.
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Limited Out

Well-known member
I agree! Maybe way less Dove Hunters will get shot this opener. Correct and Correct! A few errors in Jim Matthew's report! He's usually spot on.

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