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Dove hunting prospects bright

Thursday, August 23, 2018

AUSTIN -- Though Hurricane Harvey caused a significant drop in dove hunter effort and harvest numbers last year, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expects the 2018-19 season to be back to normal. In Texas terms, normal means exceptional.

Opening day of dove hunting is Sept. 1. For the third year, Texas dove hunters can look forward to a liberal 90-day season and 15-bird daily bag limits.

More than 300,000 Texas hunters harvest nearly one third of the mourning doves taken nationwide each year, far more than any other state. In recent years, an estimated 10 million doves are harvested in Texas annually. While Texas supports breeding populations of over 34 million mourning and 10 million white-winged doves, those numbers swell during the fall when birds from northern latitudes funnel south.

“Texas is uniquely situated to catch a lot of migratory birds as they move through the central part of the continent. Couple that with the fact that we are such a big state with diverse habitats, and it makes sense that we have such large numbers of doves,” said Owen Fitzsimmons, TPWD Dove Program Leader.

Hunters are reminded that licenses went on sale Aug. 15 for the 2018-19 hunting seasons, and hunting and fishing regulations for the new season are available in the Outdoor Annual.