There are still some doves hanging around

I don’t know how it looks in other parts of the state, but as of last weekend, there were still a lot of doves hanging around down here in the southeast corner.

The archery seasons are open for antelope, elk and deer in most areas, and there are even some rifle seasons open for some hunt areas. Because of that, and the fact that doves usually disappear completely about the time the dove season opens, there’s probably not a lot of interest in dove hunting right now.

But there are still a lot of doves around this year. I see hundreds of them every day on my way to or from town. The fact that they’re bunching up in large numbers probably means they’re getting ready for the trip to Argentina, but until they head south en masse, there are still plenty of them around. If you know anyone who has a barley or sunflower field, it’s worth asking if you can come set up on the edge of it some morning or evening while those doves are still around.

It takes quite a few doves to make a full meal, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you have the ability to hit the aerial acrobats. The daily limit is 15, and the possession limit is 45. Also, if there are any Eurasian collared doves mixed in with the mourning doves, there is no limit on those. Eurasian collared doves are an invasive species, meaning there’s no closed season and no limit on them. I generally leave them alone until the dove season opens, though, just to prevent accidentally smoking a mourning dove out of season.

If you’re thinking of adding some doves to the pot, you better do it soon. With the birds all staging in big groups, they’ll blaze out of here ahead of the first cold front. We haven’t had that initial deep cold snap yet, and I think that’s all that’s holding the doves in the state.

But once they disappear, there’ll still be plenty to hunt. As I said, the big game seasons are open, and the waterfowl seasons will open at the end of this week or next week. The hard part isn’t finding something to hunt; it’s deciding WHAT to hunt.