Columbia, S.C — It will probably still be quite warm, but nonetheless thousands of eager wing-shooters will be eager to take the field for the start of the mourning dove season in South Carolina in early September. For many in South Carolina, the opening day of dove season is synonymous with the beginning of fall and all of the great outdoor activities that come with it, and if the weather cooperates, this year’s birds promise to be plentiful, according to biologists with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
“We just recently completed our annual pre-season mourning dove survey,” said Michael W. Hook, Coordinator for the SCDNR’s Small Game program. “The current estimated dove population should provide very good September hunts provided we have no widespread adverse weather events.”
Opening day of this year’s early dove season in South Carolina will once again coincide with the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 2. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources Board has approved all migratory bird hunting seasons in South Carolina for 2019-2020 based on the federal framework for migratory gamebirds. The seasons, daily bag limits, and methods of harvest have been published in the federal register by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The daily bag limit for 2019-2020 will again be 15 birds, and legal shooting time for the early season (September 2 – 7) will begin at 12 noon. Legal shooting hours for the later seasons will begin at 1/2 hour before legal sunrise. Legal shooting time ends at official sunset during all season dates:
Sept. 2–7, 2019: 12 Noon until Sunset
Sept. 8–Oct. 12, 2019: 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset
Nov.16–Nov. 30, 2019: 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset
Dec. 28, 2019 –Jan. 30, 2020: 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset