Dove Pre-Season Report
Wildlife Management Biologists rate this year’s dove sunflower field conditions “Fair” to “Good”. Sunflowers heads are smaller than usual. Sunflowers yields have dropped from previous years due to drought, but field conditions are also cleaner than usual due to increased bare ground.
Dove wheat fields are “Fair to Poor”. The current weather conditions have not allowed field staff to prescribe burn the wheat this year. The perimeters of some areas have been routinely disked since the 1st of July and offer good clean bare soil conditions dove prefer. Some area’s management staff are currently in the process of disking the fields. This will result in a lot of vegetation litter remaining on top of the soil which is not a highly desirable condition for dove. Other areas have released some of the wheat for hay bids and litter on bare ground has been minimized.
Dove Activity has been Poor – was good until early last week, now numbers on most areas have dropped. Local farmers started harvesting their corn fields starting in the last week of July and we have seen a steady decline of dove numbers on Shawnee Trail as dove have dispersed to take advantage of the harvested corn fields. This happens often, but managers expect numbers to rebound this week.S
Starting this dove season, there will be no 1:00 p.m. closure of the dove hunting on Conservation Areas. All day hunting will hopefully decrease hunter pressure on opening morning and through the weekend.
Missouri’s dove-hunting season runs from Sept. 1 through Nov. 9. Mourning, collared and white-winged doves all are legal. The limit is 15 doves daily, which can be a combination of all three species. The possession limit is 30.
Missouri residents, ages 16 through 64, must buy a Small Game Hunting Permit to pursue doves. All dove hunters 16 and older must have a Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit for dove hunting.