Dove hunting season opens Sept. 1 -- here's info you need

Sat, 08/25/2007 - 1:13pm
By: The Citizen

Load up on shells and head to one of Georgia’s wildlife management areas

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (August 24, 2007) - Hunters across the state eagerly await the opening day of dove season, reminiscing on childhood memories of their first dove hunt during a full-day tailgating party with family and friends, and anticipating sharing this tradition with their children and grandchildren.

Beginning at noon on Saturday, Sept. 1, hunters statewide can celebrate the season opener. A highly social affair, dove season is traditionally seen as the kick-off to Georgia’s fall hunting season and serves as a great opportunity to introduce youth to the hunting tradition.

Before heading out to one of the state’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) for opening day, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) reminds all hunters to review the important rules and regulations regarding dove hunting.

“Georgia has some fantastic public opportunities for dove hunters, 37 WMAs across the state to be exact, have been managed to provide dove hunting opportunity,” says WRD Assistant Chief of Game Management John Bowers. “In addition to being the ‘kickoff’ to the fall hunting season, dove hunting is a prime opportunity to introduce family and friends to hunting, as it is typically a fun-filled day.”

Doves are the number one migratory game bird harvested in the nation, and with good reason — dove hunts offer an abundance of action with lots of shooting in a family-friendly atmosphere. Many Georgians choose to tailgate and barbeque all afternoon, enjoying the time outdoors with family and friends.

The official 2007-2008 season runs Sept. 1-15, Oct. 6-15 and Nov. 22, 2007 - Jan. 5, 2008. Updated for 2007, the “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia” pamphlet is full of pertinent information for hunters and landowners alike and is now available at .

Hunters should be sure to observe the following regulations when dove hunting:

· Sportsmen and women over the age of 16 must possess a Georgia hunting license and a free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program Permit (HIP Permit) to hunt doves. Those hunting on a WMA also must possess a WMA license. Hunters may purchase licenses at over 1,000 license agents or on the Internet at

· Shooting hours are noon until sunset on opening day of first (Sept. 1) and second (Oct. 7) seasons, and one-half hour before sunrise to sunset for the remainder of the season. The sunrise and sunset times for each day can be found on page 43 of the 2007-2008 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide or on the WRD website at

· The daily bag limit is 12 doves per hunter.

· Any autoloading or other repeating shotgun must be plugged to hold no more than three shotshells while hunting doves.

· Hunters are reminded to obtain permission from landowners before hunting on private property and should be sure to treat all land with respect; clean up spent shells, leave gates the way they were found and remove all trash.

Doves are the number one migratory game bird harvested in the nation. Successful management of this renewable natural resource is facilitated by updated and accurate harvest rate estimates. As such, the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Research Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with several states, including Georgia, initiated a dove trapping and banding project in 2003.

Hunters can actively participate in this significant conservation effort by examining harvested doves closely for bands, and most importantly report band numbers to the USFWS by calling 1-800-327-BAND (2263).

For more information on dove hunting rules and regulations, public dove fields and conditions, or adult/child dove hunts, hunters should review the 2007-2008 Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide, available at or call a WRD Game Management Office.

Hunters must obtain hip permit before dove hunting

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (August 24, 2007) - The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) reminds hunters to obtain the free Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) Permit before hunting any migratory birds (e.g., doves) this year.

HIP is an annual federal program that requires hunters who pursue doves, ducks, geese, rails and other migratory bird species to complete a short harvest survey and in return, receive a free participation permit.

“Determining accurate harvest levels for game species, such as doves, is critical to the scientific management of game populations,” says WRD Assistant Chief of Game Management John Bowers. “The HIP program gives biologists the information they need to ensure healthy migratory bird populations and quality hunting.”

In existence for 13 years now, HIP is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and state wildlife agencies. HIP provides reliable estimates on the number of migratory game bird hunters and birds harvested in Georgia and throughout the country. These estimates give wildlife managers the information they need to make decisions on hunting seasons, bag limits and population management for migratory game birds.

While the USFWS and state wildlife agencies have conducted harvest surveys for decades, the methods used to collect harvest data varied a great deal from state to state, making it difficult to compare the results. HIP provides a standard method to gather and compare information from all states. Multi-state information is critical to best manage migratory populations.

To receive a free HIP permit, Georgia hunters must answer a short survey when they purchase their hunting license. This survey provides the hunter’s harvest information from the previous year’s hunting season. After the survey is complete, the free HIP participation permit is listed on the hunter’s license. Survey responses are sent to the USFWS. A sample of the nationwide HIP participants will be asked to complete a more detailed national harvest information survey about the species they hunted.

Hunting licenses and the free HIP permit are available at over 1,000 license agents or online at For more information on the required HIP permit or the federal program, contact a WRD Game Management Section office or call (770) 918-6416.

Required hunter ed course conveniently available online

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (August 24, 2007) - Taking a hunter education class in Georgia is easier than ever, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

Hunters can access an approved hunter education course online at, use a hunter education CD-Rom or take the traditional classroom course.

The Internet and CD-Rom courses satisfy eight of the ten required hours to complete the course. Hunters then must attend a two-hour (minimum) review / test course and if all requirements are met successfully, students receive their hunter education certificate before leaving the classroom.

“The hunter education course available by Internet, which first became available two years ago, is very popular, especially with young hunters and/or those whose schedules do not allow time to fit in the traditional classroom course,” says WRD Hunter Education Coordinator Capt. James Bell.

Completion of a hunter education course is required for any person born on or after January 1, 1961, who:

· purchases a season hunting license in Georgia.

· is at least 12 years old and hunts with a weapon without adult supervision (adult supervision means 18 years of age or older with a minor being in sight or hearing distance of that person).

· hunts big game (deer, turkey, bear) on a wildlife management area (including any hunter age 12 or older).

The only exceptions include:

· a person purchasing a short-term hunting license (as opposed to a season license). Hunters with short-term licenses are no longer required to show proof of having taken an approved hunter education course regardless of the person’s state of residence.

· any person hunting on his or her own land, or that of his or her parents or legal guardians.

Those interested in the Internet course should go to . After completing all lessons and the review test, students should print and sign the “Hunter Education Final Report and Affidavit.” If under age 18, a parent or guardian must sign the affidavit. Students should then go to the WRD website at, click on hunting, then hunter education to find a review course.

Students also can call 1-800-864-7275 to register for a review course. However, there is a service fee associated with this phone service.

Hunters must bring the signed, completed “Final Report and Affidavit” to the review course or they will not be allowed to take the final test.

For more information regarding the online hunter education course or other options, go to or call 770-761-3010.

Get info about dove hunting over farm land

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (August 24, 2007) - Hunters, farmers and land managers who do not understand the differences between legitimate dove field preparation and baiting in dove fields can seek clarification in a brochure entitled “Dove Hunting and Agricultural Practices in Georgia,” available at

This brochure was created by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension Service.

Baiting is the illegal practice of direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering salt, corn, wheat or any other grain or feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for doves to, on or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Both federal and state laws prohibit the hunting of migratory game birds over such areas.

“The key to hunting doves legally in Georgia is understanding the differences between ‘baiting’ and ‘recommended agricultural practice’,” says WRD Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Terry West. “Agricultural lands often provide excellent dove hunting opportunities, but hunters need to make sure that the fields they are hunting over have been prepared in a manner consistent with official agricultural recommendations relative to planting dates, planting methods and rates of application.”

This brochure defines baiting and the legalities of hunting over recently planted and manipulated fields. It also provides tips and strategies for successfully and legally attracting doves, answers to common questions plus additional items for dove hunters to keep in mind when they are out in the fields.

This brochure is available on the WRD website at . For more information, call (770) 918-6416.


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