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Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks manages fields just for dove hunters
PRATT — The Sept. 1 opening of dove season is fast approaching. While a blistering summer may have punished crops and people, mourning doves seem to thrive in hot, dry weather. Reports from many parts of the state suggest ample numbers of this elusive, fast-flying quarry.
Although the mourning dove is the primary quarry, Kansas hunters enjoy pursuing four species of doves in split fall and winter seasons. The season for all doves runs Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 5-13. During these segments, two native species (mourning and white-winged doves) as well as two exotic species (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves) may be taken. In addition, an exotic species season runs Nov. 20-Feb. 28, 2012. During this time, only Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves may be taken.
To enhance public hunting opportunities, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) manages fields specifically to attract doves. Dove fields may include standing or mowed sunflowers, unharvested strips of wheat and burned crop stubble, mowed wheat, mixed plantings, or any combination of techniques.
Some areas have restricted hunting dates or times, and others may be restricted to youth, novice, and/or disabled hunters. Some may also require hunters using managed dove fields to obtain and complete a daily hunt permit or obtain access through a drawing. Others are open to the general public. Fields within waterfowl management areas require non-toxic shot only.
Use the KDWPT website, www.kdwpt.state.ks.us, to find details on areas specially managed for doves. Click "Hunting/Migratory Birds/Doves/Managed Hunting Areas" for details on the nearest managed dove area.
Hunters are reminded that there are no bag and possession limits for Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves. However, during the regular dove season — Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Nov. 5-13 — if the take of exotic doves exceeds a hunter’s daily bag of 15 mourning and white-winged doves (single species or in combination), the exotic doves must be transported with a fully-feathered wing attached. The possession limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 30.
On Aug. 11, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will approve final regulations for ducks and geese. Once that action is complete, KDWPT can post the 2011 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary on the agency’s website where hunters can go online to learn more about identifying dove species. Click "Hunting/Hunting Regulations" to view or download this booklet, which has all the information needed for hunting doves, including color pictures of the doves that may be legally taken. Information on all other game species is included, as well.
Doves are excellent table fare. Whether wrapped in bacon and grilled, baked in a pie, or skewered for shish-ka-bobs, this game bird is a favorite of many. But don’t wait until Sept. 1 to get ready. Hunters should be scouting areas and obtaining permission on private ground or planning for a public land hunt now. Shooting clay targets for a couple of weeks will save shells once the season opens, but stock up on shells anyway; this is one of the most difficult game birds to hit. These things done, all that remains is knowing the law and cleaning the grill.
Printed copies of the 2011 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, as well as the Kansas Hunting Atlas, will be available where licenses are sold the first week in September.