Thousands of Hunters Expected at Dove Season Opening

California’s split 2010 dove season will be open from Sept. 1-15, and again from Nov. 13-Dec. 27, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced.

The season includes white-winged and mourning doves, for which the combined bag limit is 10 birds and the possession limit is 20. Hunters can also harvest Eurasian collared doves, which are now common in some parts of the state. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit for this species.

There is no open hunting season on common ground-doves, ruddy ground-doves or Inca doves.

Open or limited dove hunting opportunities are available in DFG-managed wildlife areas and ecological reserves from Shasta Valley Wildlife Area in the north to the Imperial Valley Wildlife Area in the south. Hunts are conducted both on a reservation and non-reservation basis. Information on these opportunities can be found at http://dfg.ca.gov/lands/ and http://dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird/.

This year, numerous additional hunting sites will be made available in the Niland area of the Imperial Valley, through the cooperative efforts of DFG, Desert Wildlife Unlimited, the Imperial County Fish and Game Commission, Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the San Diego Chapter of the Safari Club. More information on this program is available from the Imperial Wildlife Area, (760) 359-0577.

Hunters must be in possession of a valid hunting license, an Upland Game Bird Stamp and a free Harvest Information Program Stamp. Proper safety precautions should be taken, including wearing shooting safety glasses in the field. Hunters are required to leave a fully feathered wing attached to doves when transporting them.

Each year an estimated 90,000 dove hunters take to the field in California to harvest more than 1.5 million doves. The sale of the required upland game bird stamps supports DFG’s Game Bird Heritage Program, which provides funding annually to plant dove food crops on state lands and on partnership private lands in the Imperial Valley. The upland game bird regulations for 2010/11 can be found at http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/uplandgamebirdregs.asp.

Further localized information is also available at regional offices throughout the state.