Submitted by MDC Agent Anthony Maupin

The 2017 fall hunting seasons are just around the corner and dove season is first on the list.
Hunters often use dove season as an opportunity to hone up their wing-shooting skills for the following pheasant, quail, and waterfowl hunting seasons. Dove season also provides an excellent opportunity to introduce kids into the sport of hunting. Dove hunting is one of those seasons where it fits well to teach youngsters. The weather is usually pleasant, there are plenty of opportunities to shoot, and traditionally hunters sit in one spot rather than do a lot of walking, so youngsters stay enthused.
The dove regulations for this year will remain the same as last year. Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves and white-winged doves may be taken from one-half (1/2) hour before sunrise to sunset from September 1st through November 29th. Hunters are also restricted to using a shotgun with a three shell capacity (must be plugged). The daily bag limit for doves is 15 (combined species). Again, this year the possession limit is 45 doves.
Hunters are required to have two permits to hunt doves: a Missouri Small Game Hunting Permit (required for every Missouri resident between the ages of 16-64 and non-residents age 16 and older) and a Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit (required for every person age 16 and over). Resident and non-resident hunters age 15 and under do not need to purchase permits to hunt doves, however, they must either be in the immediate presence of a properly licensed adult hunter, or have in their possession a valid Hunter Education Certificate Card while hunting.
The Missouri Dept. of Conservation manages for doves in over 4,050 acres in 590 fields located on over 80 conservation areas. Managed dove hunting fields are planted in sunflowers, wheat, millet, buckwheat, corn or a combination of the above. These fields are managed specifically for the dove season and scouting beforehand would be encouraged to check the status of the fields and use by birds. Before heading out afield, these special “Dove Management Fields” can be found on MDC’s webpage under the find Conservation Areas link.
For hunters around here, the nearest successful dove management fields are Bilby Ranch, Nodaway Valley, Rush Bottoms, Bob Brown, Thurnau, Wolf Creek Bend, Aspinwall Bend and Pony Express Conservation Areas. Hunters must use non-toxic shot when hunting on Nodaway Valley and Bob Brown conservation areas.
In the past few years, there has been an increase in enforcement of littering violations on our public dove hunting fields. Most of these violations are the result of hunters not retrieving there empty shotgun shells, shell boxes and drink containers. As you can imagine, with thousands of shells fired at doves on these areas, the trash can build up in a hurry. All that is asked is for the hunters to pack out the trash created while hunting on the public areas.
When buying permits, I encourage hunters to pick up or download a copy of the Migratory Bird Hunting Digest for 2017 and take a few minutes to read it before heading out for the hunt. If there are any questions, contact County Conservation Agents Anthony Maupin or Jade Wright.