SOCIAL CIRCLE – What are your opening day plans? Georgia’s dove hunting season opens Sat. Sept. 1, 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“One of the best times of the year to introduce someone to hunting is during dove season,” said John W. Bowers, Chief of WRD Game Management. “Georgia offers more than 50 public dove fields, including opportunities on private land made available to the public through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program called the Voluntary Public Access/Habitat Incentive Program.”
The official 2018-2019 dove seasons are Sept. 1-16, Oct. 13-31 and Nov. 22 - Jan. 15. Shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day (Sept. 1) and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season dates.
• Regulations Quick Review: The daily bag limit is 15 doves per hunter. Collared doves may be taken and do not count toward your daily limit. Any auto-loading or other repeating shotgun must be plugged to hold no more than three shotshells while hunting doves. And, as always, hunters must obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property.
• Report Banded Doves: In 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Research Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with several states, including Georgia, initiated an ongoing dove banding project. Hunters can participate in this conservation effort by examining harvested doves for leg bands and reporting band numbers to the USFWS at www.reportband.gov.
• Private Field Plans? Make Sure Field is Legal: Check out the online brochure, “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at http://georgiawildlife.com/migratory-bird-info.
• Licenses Needed: Hunters age 16 years of age and older need to have a hunting license and a Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. This stamp is how Georgia participates in the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Some licenses allow the license holder to get the Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp at no cost. Hunters may purchase licenses online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at license vendor locations (list of vendors available online).
For more information on dove hunting in Georgia, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/regulations.