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By R. Shannon Smith
Missouri Conservation Agent
The fall hunting season officially begins September 1st with the dove opener. This year dove season will run from September 1st thru November 29th.
The daily bag limit of doves is 15. The possession limit is now 45. This includes the Mourning dove, Eurasian collared dove and White-winged Doves combined. For example, you could have 13 Mourning doves and 2 White-winged doves for a total of 15.
Shooting hours remain one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Two permits are required to hunt doves, unless exempt. The migratory bird hunting permit is required for all hunters 16 years of age and older. This includes landowners hunting on their own property. A small game hunting permit is also required for all resident hunters 16 thru 64 years of age and nonresident hunters 16 and older. Qualifying resident landowners are exempt from having to purchase a small game hunting permit if hunting on his or her property. All hunters, age 15 and under, are not required to have any type of permit to hunt doves in Missouri. However, they must be with a properly licensed adult or have a valid Hunter Education Certificate Card.
Now is the time to start scouting. Large concentrations of doves can usually be found near cut wheat, oat, and corn fields. Remember, baiting is prohibited. Baiting is placing grain or salt that would not be considered a normalagricultural practice, to attract doves. It is legal to hunt doves over mowed or brush hogged grain fields, however hunting ducks and geese over such fields would be prohibited.
Make safety a number one priority, especially if hunting on public ground. Wear safety glasses and do not shoot at low flying birds when other hunters are in the area.
Be sure to read the Migratory Bird Regulations before going afield.