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California's dove hunting season opens Wednesday

August 31, 2010 | 10:53 am

A mourning dove sitting on a branch. The 2010 split dove-hunting season in California opens Wednesday, and the Department of Fish and Game is expecting thousands of hunters to participate.

An estimated 90,000 hunters take to the field annually to harvest more than 1.5 million doves in California during the split season, which runs from Wednesday to Sept. 15, and again from Nov. 13 to Dec. 27.

Hunters are allowed to take both white-winged and mourning doves, for which the combined daily 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, with no daily bag or possession limits for this species.

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

The DFG would like to remind hunters that, when transporting doves, hunters are required to leave a fully-feathered wing attached. Current upland game bird regulations can be found at www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/current/uplandgamebirdregs.asp.

Open or limited dove hunting is 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, with hunts conducted on both a reservation and non-reservation basis. Information on these opportunities can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/lands and www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/uplandgame/gamebird.

Additional hunting sites will also be made available this year 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 Safari Club International. More information on this program is available from the Imperial Wildlife Area, (760) 359-0577. 

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

Hunters must be in possession of a valid hunting license, an upland game bird stamp and a free Harvest Information Program stamp. The sale of the upland game bird stamp 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.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A mourning dove sitting on a branch. Credit: Thomas G. Barnes / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service