By Arizona Game And Fish Department
It’s not easy to roll out of bed at 0-dark-thirty, unless it’s for something really important — like the opening of the dove season.
So before backing out of the driveway Sunday morning and heading to that secret spot that attracts birds like a magnet, hunters might want to rub the sand out of their eyes and go over that pre-hunt checklist one last time:
- Eye and ear protection. Don’t leave home without it. Period.
- Plenty of drinking water (especially if hunting with dogs), hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and food-storage bags and ice chest to store harvested birds.
- While it’s not legally required, wearing a little orange makes it easier to be seen by other hunters in the predawn hours.
- A valid Arizona hunting license and migratory bird stamp. All hunters 18 and older must be in possession of both while in the field. There’s still time to go online and purchase a combo hunt and fish license that will be valid for the next 365 days — and for only $20 more (for state residents) than the price of an individual hunting or fishing license. Visit https://www.azgfd.gov/license/. Youth hunters (10 to 17) only need a youth combo hunt and fish license for $5. Those under 10 don’t need a hunting license when accompanied by a licensed adult (two children per adult).
The daily bag limit is 15 total doves (mourning and white-winged), of which no more than 10 can be white-winged. The possession limit is 45 total doves after opening day, of which no more than 30 can be white-winged. There are no daily bag or possession limits on invasive Eurasian collared-doves. Note: A fully feathered wing must be left attached to each dove for identification purposes until a hunter reaches his or her permanent residence or where the game meat will be consumed.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds dove hunters to review the “2019-2020 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations,” which are posted online at www.azgfd.gov/dove. Also, watch a video that demonstrates two techniques for field-dressing doves at www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DDRZGPzJDI
Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds are comprised of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, construction and maintenance of shooting ranges, boating access facilities and more.