The first session of the split season begins on Sept. 18 and runs through Nov. 3 A second season runs from Dec. 26 through Jan.17, 2010.
Legal shooting hours begin at one-half hour before sunrise and conclude at sunset.
The daily bag limit is 15 mourning, white-winged and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, not to include more than two whitetips.
With an estimated 20-25 million doves in Texas, the hunter has a good population to hunt. South Texas seems to have the majority of those 20 or so million birds flying and dipping through the air around the local countryside. The problem is always twofold, finding the doves and then being good enough with a shotgun actually to hit the elusive targets.
Recent rains in South Texas will possibly make things a little more difficult in finding birds. Prior to the rain, the doves were concentrated around the few water sources available to them. With stock tanks and creeks now blessed with water, the birds have a far greater choice of watering holes to choose from and will be spread out over their range.
A little scouting ahead of your hunt should help locate the birds and if you set up under a flight path to feed or water, the hunter should have a great day afield and go through a box or two of shells to bag one’s limit.
Texas hunters will harvest 4-7 million birds this fall and dove hunting is second only to whitetail deer hunting in the number of hunters’ hours spent each fall. The hunting season definitely provides an economic boost to the South Texas communities that welcome dove hunters.
If you are looking for a place to hunt, contact the Bee County Chamber of Commerce for a list of ranches and landowners that permit day hunting for a small fee. Several are available in the area.