Taking Aim: The Dove Hunting Season in Texas

Morgan Mason
December 20, 2023
8 min read

As summer gives way to autumn, the skies over Texas come alive with the distinctive sounds of shotgun blasts and the fluttering wings of doves in flight. Dove hunting season in Texas marks not only the beginning of fall but also a cherished tradition for hunters across the state. In this article, we'll explore the dove hunting season in Texas, including its significance, regulations, and the enduring appeal that draws hunters year after year.

The Significance of Dove Hunting

Dove hunting holds a special place in Texan culture, and for many, it serves as a rite of passage into the world of hunting. The significance of dove hunting season goes beyond the pursuit of game; it symbolizes the changing of the seasons and the camaraderie of family and friends gathered in the great outdoors.

Key Dove Species

The primary dove species hunted during the season in Texas include:

  1. Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura): These slender, gray-brown doves are the most abundant and widely hunted species in Texas. Their distinctive cooing calls are a familiar sound in the Texan countryside.
  2. White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica): Known for their white wing bars, white-winged doves are another popular target for hunters. They are often found in more urbanized areas.
  3. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto): An introduced species, these doves have rapidly expanded their range and are now commonly hunted in Texas.

Dove Hunting Season Dates

Dove hunting season in Texas is divided into three main segments:

  1. Early Season: Typically opens around the first week of September and continues through late October. This early season is particularly popular due to pleasant weather and ample bird populations.
  2. Regular Season: Runs from late October to late November, with some variations in specific zones. This segment marks the peak of dove hunting activity.
  3. Late Season: Occurs in December and January in the South Zone. It provides hunters with extended opportunities and quieter hunting conditions.

Regulations and Bag Limits

Dove hunting regulations in Texas are established by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and may vary by region and season segment. Some key regulations include:

  1. Hunting License: All hunters must possess a valid Texas hunting license with the appropriate endorsements.
  2. Bag Limits: Daily bag limits specify the maximum number of doves a hunter can harvest in a single day. These limits may vary by region and season.
  3. Mandatory Harvest Reporting: Some regions require hunters to report their harvests to TPWD, providing valuable data for wildlife management.
  4. No Baiting: It is illegal to bait fields with grains or other attractants to lure doves. This regulation ensures fair and ethical hunting practices.

The Appeal of Dove Hunting

Dove hunting in Texas offers a unique appeal:

  1. Sociable Tradition: Dove hunting is often a social event, bringing together family and friends for outdoor adventures and bonding.
  2. Accessible: Dove hunting is accessible to both seasoned hunters and newcomers, making it an excellent way to introduce newcomers to the world of hunting.
  3. Thrilling Pursuit: Doves are fast and agile flyers, providing a challenging and exciting hunting experience.
  4. Sustainable Harvest: Dove hunting is known for its sustainable practices, with regulations in place to protect dove populations.

Dove hunting season in Texas is a time-honored tradition that brings together hunters of all backgrounds. It celebrates the changing seasons, the beauty of the outdoors, and the camaraderie of shared experiences. As hunters take to the fields each fall, they not only pursue game but also create lasting memories and uphold a cherished Texan heritage. Through responsible hunting practices and conservation efforts, dove hunting remains a sustainable and enjoyable pursuit that enriches the lives of many in the Lone Star State.