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Dove, Goose, and Teal Hunting Seasons Open

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I was awakened this morning by gunshots. Though, I started writing this article last night I was still surprised hearing the first shots of the 2018 hunting season. Saturday, September 1st, was the opening of several early gun seasons. The dove, goose, and teal hunting seasons opened September 1st. The reason for the early openings is because many teal and geese leave Wisconsin early and if there wasn’t an early season these birds will have migrated. Geese are also hunted early because the population is very good and has to be managed. The teal and duck season reopens September 29th and the Canada goose season reopens September 16th. The dove season is open till November 29th with no closure. Daily limits in the early seasons are teal 6 birds per day, geese 5 per day, and morning doves have a 15 bird a day limit. Be sure and check your Wisconsin Rules and Regulations booklet for all hunting laws.

The waterfowl Youth Hunt is September 15 and 16th.

I’m going to write this week on the morning dove season which is now open in Wisconsin till the end of November. Doves have the largest population of all birds that one is able to hunt. Biologists say that there are 4-5 million morning doves that migrate thru Wisconsin on their way to the southern states and Mexico for the winter. The national total of doves in the United States is estimated at 40-50 million birds. Doves are found in 48 states and central Canada. There also are doves that stay all winter in Wisconsin with our warmer winters. During the winter, I can have up to 50 doves feeding in my back yard.

Doves are so common because they can adapt to a wide range of habitats. These highly adaptable birds can be found in many different habitats from urban settings to rural areas. Doves love to eat weed seeds and waste grain left from harvesting. You often can field doves feeding in harvested grain fields, along rural country roads picking gravel or grit for digesting their food, undisturbed grassy fields, open woodlands, and the edge of forests.

The doves breed from Canada to southern Mexico and in all the continental United States. They nest in single trees or shrubs surrounded by open land. Doves like to roost and rest on exposed dead tree limbs, utility lines, or poles.

To be a successful dove hunter, you should have been out scouting in August. But, it’s not too late to get out and look for the things that doves like and attracts them. The most important factors for attracting doves are; roosting cover, water, a good source of grit (gravel roads), and a abundance of weed seeds and wasted grains. If you can find areas with these things then there’s a good chance you’ll find doves.

The daily routine of a dove is to fly down from their roost to their feeding and watering holes early in the day. Then, they spend much of the day resting. Later in the day, they do the same things before retiring for the day. Try and pattern the doves you see and it will make a much better hunt.

Be sure and wear camouflage clothing because doves are spooky and anything out of the ordinary will send them flying away. Try to conceal yourself behind hay bales, clumps of brush, and try to stay close to the ground. Use a dog if you can because the doves grayish brown color can be hard to find since they blend in with your cover.

A few other things to remember; always ask permission on private land, be courteous, close gates, pick up empty shells, don’t litter, and ask the land owner if he needs any help around his land. This can insure future hunting on this land.

Remember the keys to hunting doves by keying in on their basic needs; food, water, grit, and cover. One more thing, doves are great eating. Try wrapping the breasts with a piece of bacon and grilling them or cut into small pieces and cook with fresh vegetables in a stir fry. Be safe…….

 

   gengberg@chorus.net

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