Take note, hunters: Dove season is here

A lone Mourning dove sits on a fence post on the Boquillas Ranch. The season starts today. (DON MARTIN/For the Miner)

A lone Mourning dove sits on a fence post on the Boquillas Ranch. The season starts today. (DON MARTIN/For the Miner)

KINGMAN - Today marks the opening of the 2015 fall dove season in Arizona, and for those who have done some pre-season scouting it should be a good one in Mohave County. The first season is open until Sept. 15.

Hunters who are seeking the speedster need to be aware of the rules and regulations found in the Game and Fish Department's 2015 Arizona dove and band-tailed pigeon hunting regulations.

In Arizona, hunters can pursue and take either mourning doves or whitewing doves.

Eurasian collared doves are considered feral exotics and are not part of the bag or possession limit of doves. It is the hunters' responsibility to know the difference between these birds.

All hunters must have a valid hunting license before going into the field.

Hunters must have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) stamp on their licenses. These can be obtained at any regional Game and Fish office, and they cost $5. These are also called an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp. The exception is that those who have a youth combination license (ages 10-17) are not required to purchase the stamp as it is included in their license package.

This year the limit for doves is a total of 15, of which not more than 10 can be whitewings. The possession limit is 45 after day three of the hunt, but no more than 30 of these can be whitewings.

Hunters are required to leave one feathered wing on their birds until they reach the final destination of where the birds will be kept.

Hunters must pick up all empty shell casing and boxes before leaving the field. Failure to do so can result in a citation for criminal littering. A conviction can result in the loss of hunting privileges for up to five years.

Hunters should also not field dress doves in livestock water tanks. Feathers can clog up valves and cause a loss of water for livestock and wildlife.

Shooting hours for doves is one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Consult with regulations for specific times, as depending on the location of the hunter, these times can be different.

Hunters can use shotguns (not larger than 10 gauge, and not holding more than three shells), bows and arrows, and crossbows to take doves.

Hunters are reminded that it is illegal to camp within a quarter-mile of a waterhole, and while it is legal to shoot at a waterhole, when livestock are present, consideration should be given to allow them to water.

Decoys can be used for hunting doves, but baiting areas is not legal.

If you have any questions about hunting doves, call the Gamd and Fish at (928) 692-7700.