Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks manages fields just for dove hunters
PRATT — The Sept. 1 opening of dove season is fast approaching, and hunters are making final scouting forays. Kansas dove hunting has changed considerably in the past few years. Although the mourning dove is still the primary quarry, Kansas hunters enjoy pursuing four species of doves in split fall and winter seasons. The season for all doves runs Sept. 1-Oct. 31 and Nov. 6-14. During these segments, two native species (mourning and white-winged doves) as well as two exotic species (Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves) may be taken. In addition, an exotic species season runs Nov. 20-Feb. 28, 2011. During this time, only Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves may be taken.

To make the hunter’s job easier, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) manages fields specifically to attract doves. Dove fields may include standing or mowed sunflowers, unharvested strips of wheat and burned crop stubble, mowed wheat, mixed plantings, or any combination of techniques.

Some areas have restricted hunting dates or times, and others may be restricted to youth, novice, and/or disabled hunters. Some may also require hunters using managed dove fields to obtain and complete a daily hunt permit or obtain access through a drawing. Others are open to the general public. Fields within waterfowl management areas require non-toxic shot only.

Hunters are reminded that there are no bag and possession limits for Eurasian collared doves and ringed turtle doves. However, during the regular dove season — Sept. 1 through Oct. 31 and Nov. 6-14 — if the take of exotic doves exceeds a hunter’s daily bag of 15 mourning and white-winged doves (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. There is no bag or possession limit for Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves.

To learn more about identifying these species, go to the KDWP website (, click "Hunting/Hunting Regulations," and download the 2010 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary. This booklet has all the information needed for hunting doves, as well as other species, including color pictures of the doves that may be legally taken.

Also use the KDWP website to find details on areas specially managed for doves. Click "Hunting/Migratory Birds/Doves/Managed Hunting Areas" for details on the nearest managed dove area.

Doves are excellent table fare. Wrapped in bacon and grilled, they are sure to satisfy the most sensitive palate. They also make an excellent meat pie. Plan for about 10 birds per pie. It’s time to scout the hunt, know the laws, sharpen skills on clay targets, and stock up on shells. And be sure to clean the grill.