Dove season opened in both the central and north zones of Texas on Sept. 1. Teal season then opens in Texas on Sept. 15. There is a lot of interest hereabouts in both of these openings. In fact, several of the local outfitters had their dove hunts booked for opening weekend for several weeks.
I have contacted several of the outfitters that offer dove hunts, and they have told me basically the same thing. Shane Chesson with the Drake Plantation, Jim West with Bolivar Guide Service, and Bobby McGill with Central Flyway Outfitters all hunt harvested grain fields. The doves normally head into those fields as well as into brush-hogged weed fields. The small seeds are just what the birds look forward to when feeding is on their minds. The only problem seems to be that with our needed rains, the seeds that are on the ground could begin to sprout. Once that happens, the doves will go elsewhere. All of the outfitters are booking hunts because even with sprouted seed, the hunting should be excellent for bagging the doves.I would highly recommend taking along some insect repellent, or what I prefer, the Thermacell. We are all now aware of the major outbreak of West Nile virus and fever caused by mosquitoes.
It would also be prudent to keep a sharp watch for poisonous snakes. These seem to be on the move this time of year. The cottonmouth water moccasin is probably the more prevalent, but there are rattlesnakes as well as copperheads there at times. There is rarely any problem with the snakes, but it is a good idea to watch closely where you are walking or when you are retrieving a downed bird.
Should you plan to take your retriever along on the hunt, be sure there is plenty of water available. Natural water is fine, but if there is none available where you plan to hunt, make sure you take some along with you. During the warm days, it is necessary to take plenty of water along for yourself.
There are several subspecies of doves that enjoy our area. The most prevalent is normally the mourning doves. There has been a really heavy influx of whitewing doves in some of our local hunting areas. Both of these doves are regulated by seasons and bag limits. There are also the Eurasian doves that are much like exotic animals in that there is no limit or closed season for them. Learn to identify each of these birds so that there is no mistake made that can cause you to pay a fine.
The bag limit for mourning and whitewings is 15 daily in the aggregate. The seasons vary in the north, central and south zones, so get a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Handbook and learn when the seasons are open. There is a special whitewing season in the south zone.
You may contact Shane Chesson at (409) 284-8616, Jim West at (409) 996-3054, and Bobby McGill at (832) 603-3825.
By the way, fishing for speckled trout continued to improve, so don’t overlook that action. Also new hunting and fishing licenses were due Sept. 1.
Billy Halfin can be reached by e-mail at bhalfinoutdoors [at] aol [dot] com.