Four species may now be taken Sept. 1-Oct. 14 and Nov. 1-16; exotic species season runs Nov. 20-Feb. 28,2009; hunters asked to report banded doves

When mid-August rolls around, Kansas hunters begin to get anxious; it's time to stock up on shotgun shells and shoot clay targets in preparation for the opening of dove season Sept. 1.

This year, hunters anticipate the opportunity to take as many as four dove species. In addition to the bountiful mourning dove, Kansans may hunt the white-winged dove -- a rare native species seen more frequently in the Sunflower State -- as well as two non-native species: the Eurasian collared dove and the ringed turtle dove.

Under a regulation adopted last summer, there will be no bag and possession limits for Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves. However, during the dove regular season -- Sept. 1 through Oct. 14 and Nov. 1-16 -- if the take of exotic doves exceeds a hunter’s daily bag of mourning and white-winged doves of 15 (single species or in combination), the exotic doves must be transported with a fully feathered wing attached. The possession limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 30.

A separate exotic dove season will open Nov. 20 and run through February 28, 2009. During this season, only Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves may be taken; there is no daily bag or possession limit; and doves must be transported with a fully-feathered wing attached.

One excellent source of hunting places can be found in the 2008 Kansas Hunting Atlas, currently available online at the KDWP website. Printed copies will be available in late August at many license vendors and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) offices. This booklet contains 30 maps of Kansas public hunting areas, as well as Walk-In Hunting Access areas (WIHA) in the state.

Another essential tool for the hunter is the 2008 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary, available in September. This booklet contains a list of public wildlife areas, as well as illustrations of the four dove species that may be hunted.

Because they are migratory game birds, doves are federally regulated. Federal rules require that shotguns be plugged to hold no more than three shells. A valid Kansas hunting license and Harvest Information Program Stamp (HIP) are required to hunt doves, unless exempt by law. Those exempt include hunters younger than 16 or 65 or older.

Seeds freshly planted or otherwise distributed for the purpose of luring, attracting, or enticing doves within gun range is illegal. Doves may not be hunted in an area where grain, salt, or other feed has been placed to improve dove hunting.

Doves may be hunted over agricultural crops, other feed, and natural vegetation that have been mowed, shredded, disked, rolled, chopped, trampled, flattened, burned, or sprayed. However, doves may not be hunted where seeds, grains, or other feed has been distributed after removal from or storage on the field where grown.

To assist with research, KDWP is asking dove hunters to look for leg bands on the mourning doves they shoot. The purpose of this banding project is to estimate annual survival rates, harvest rates, and distribution of the harvest, as well as to refine techniques for a future dove-banding program. This data is necessary for understanding population trends and responsibly managing dove harvests.

The hunter is a critical link in this mourning dove banding study. By checking all harvested doves for bands and reporting banded doves, hunters help biologists manage this important migratory game bird. Because dove bands are small, hunters can easily overlook the bands, so all birds taken should be checked.

Report banded mourning doves by phoning 1-800-327-BAND (2263). Banded birds may also be reported online. Hunters can keep the bands and will be provided a certificate identifying the age, sex, date, and location the bird was banded.