SOCIAL CIRCLE – Opening day is on the way, and Georgia hunters are already making plans for which fields they will hunt. Georgia’s dove hunting season opens Saturday, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“The start of September brings one of my favorite times of the year,” Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams said. “Georgians span out across our great state to enjoy a sporting tradition that goes back generations – the dove hunt. With over 50 DNR-managed dove fields and some of the best habitat around, Georgia presents our great sportsmen and sportswomen significant opportunity to enjoy the upcoming season. This year more than ever, it is time to head outdoors and have a distanced way to be together with family and friends. I wish everyone a good hunt and safe season.”
The official 2020-2021 dove seasons are Sept. 5-30, Nov. 21-Nov. 29, and Dec. 8-Jan. 31. Shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day (Sept. 5) and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season dates.
More dove season tips and information:
Dove Field Forecast♦ (georgiawildlife.com/hunting/dove): The dove field forecast identifies available crops and anticipated hunting conditions for opening day.
Regulations Quick Review:♦ The daily bag limit is 15 doves per hunter. Collared doves may be taken and do not count toward your daily limit. Shotguns must be plugged to hold no more than three shot shells while hunting doves. Hunters must obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property.
Report Banded Doves:♦ In 2003, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with several states, including Georgia, initiated an ongoing dove banding project. Hunters can participate in this conservation effort by examining harvested doves for leg bands and reporting band numbers to the USFWS at www.reportband.gov.
Make Sure the Field is Legal:♦ Check out the online brochure, “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at georgiawildlife.com/migratory-bird-info.
Licenses Needed:♦ Hunters 16 years of age and older need to have a hunting license and a Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. This stamp is how Georgia participates in the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Some licenses allow the license holder to get the Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp at no cost. Hunters may purchase licenses online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, by phone at 1-800-366-2661 or at license vendor locations (list of vendors available online).
For more information on dove hunting in Georgia, visit georgiawildlife.com/migratory-bird-info.
DNR officials remind hunters that, with dove season fast approaching, hunter education courses are required for certain hunters. They will have two options: Take the course completely online or take part in a classroom course.
“You get to choose the method through which you take your hunter education course,” Hunter Development Program Manager with the Wildlife Resources Division Jennifer Pittman said in a news release. “Offering both classroom and online options gives students a choice of not only what works best with their schedules, but also with their learning style.”
There are now five available online courses. For most students, each course requires a fee (from $9.95-$29.00), but all are “pass or don’t pay” courses. The newest online course option, HUNTINGSmart!, provides the course for free to any student under age 15. Fees for these online courses are charged by and collected by the independent course developer. The DNR classroom course is free of charge.
Completion of a hunter education course is required for any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1961, who:
♦ purchases a season hunting license in Georgia;
♦ is at least 12 years old and hunts without adult supervision.
♦ The only exceptions include any person who:
♦ purchases a short-term hunting license, i.e. anything less than annual duration (as opposed to a season license);
♦ is hunting on his or her own land, or is a dependent hunting on land of his or her parents or legal guardians.
For more information, go to georgiawildlife.com/hunting/huntereducation or call (706) 558-3355.