LINCOLN, Neb. – Dove hunting season begins soon and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has some reminders for hunters, as well as recommendations for areas to hunt.
Dove hunting is fun and a great way to introduce someone to hunting or to kick off your own upland game hunting spending time in the field with family and friends.
With a statewide distribution and generous bag limits, dove hunting provides some excellent opportunities. Doves may be hunted statewide Sept. 1 – Oct. 30, with daily bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively. Bag and possession limits are for mourning, white-winged and Eurasian collared-doves in aggregate. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.
Sunflower, millet and wheat, which generally provide good food sources and dove-hunting opportunities, have been planted at several wildlife management areas statewide. Game and Parks recommends hunters scout areas before they hunt. To view a list of these “dove fields,” see the 2020 Dove Hunting Fact Sheet at OutdoorNebraska.gov/SmallGameSpecies.
Other public lands throughout the state can provide good dove hunting opportunities, depending on local conditions. All of Nebraska’s publicly accessible lands (including state, federal, and private lands enrolled in the Open Fields and Waters Program) are displayed in the 2020-2021 Public Access Atlas, which can be found online at OutdoorNebraska.org/PublicAccessAtlas.
Nebraska residents 16 years and older and all nonresidents are required to have a valid Nebraska small game hunting permit, habitat stamp and Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. Get the free HIP number at OutdoorNebraska.gov/hip or at any Game and Parks office. Federal and state migratory bird hunting stamps (duck stamps) are not required to hunt doves. Shotgun plugs are also required, restricting it to no more than three shells.
Dove hunters who find a leg band on a dove should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at reportband.gov. In addition, randomly selected hunters will be asked to save one wing from each dove during the first week of the season and mail them postage-free to the Service.
It is unlawful to hunt on state recreation areas (SRA) until Sept. 8. Regulations prohibit any hunting on SRAs until the Tuesday following Labor Day.
Eurasian collared-doves also may be harvested between Oct. 31, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2021, with bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively.
For summaries of hunting regulations, read the Small Game and Waterfowl Guide at Outdoornebraska.gov/guides. Purchase permits at OutdoorNebraska.org.