Dove season starts next week

KINGMAN - Next week will mark the start of the fall dove season in Arizona. Arizona's first dove season will run from Sept. 1 through Sept. 15.

Before going into the field, hunters 16 or older will need to first obtain an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp for the 2010-2011 season. These stamps cost $4.50 and can be obtained from any license dealer. This stamp will validate a hunting license for the Harvest Information Program.

Youth hunters between the ages of 14 and 17 must also have a hunting license, while those under 14 need not be licensed if accompanied by a licensed adult.

Sportsmen can take doves with shotgun, bow and arrow or a crossbow as prescribed in R12-4-304 or by falconry. Shotguns must not be able to hold more than three shells in the gun. Dove hunters are allowed to shoot from one half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Sportsmen are allowed to take 10 doves per day, of which no more than six can be whitewings. After opening day, the possession limit is 20 doves, of which no more than 12 can be whitewings.

Eurasian collared doves can also be taken, but there is no limit or a season on these exotic birds that have become fairly common in and around Kingman. These birds seem to prefer the urban areas, and generally are not seen in the desert.

Hunters are reminded that they must leave one fully feathered wing attached on all migratory birds they take, including doves, until they reach their final destination.

One of the issues with local land owners is that dove hunters leave empty shotgun shells on the ground. In Arizona, it is a violation to leave the empty cases or boxes, and a citation for criminal littering can be issued to those who are found to be in violation.

In addition to a fine, those convicted of criminal littering while hunting can also lose their hunting/fishing and trapping licenses for up to five years.

Hunters should not clean birds in wildlife or livestock waters. Feathers can clog up the float valves on these waters and can cause a storage tank to empty quickly, leaving wildlife and cattle without a place to drink.

Hunters should also note that it is illegal to shoot within a quarter mile of an occupied dwelling unless you have permission from the property owner.

If you see a violation, call Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700.