Dove season opens on its traditional day of Sept. 1, and dove hunters need to know about some new rules regarding the use of public dove fields before hunting this year.
“New for this year, there is no access to public dove fields from Aug. 15 to Sept.1,” said Wes Little, migratory bird biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “People can scout from the parking lot or road, but you cannot physically walk into the field.”
Little explained hunters repeatedly scouting fields before the season disturbs the doves and makes them more prone to stop using the field.
“The week prior to the season, we see many groups of hunters scouting the fields, and they unintentionally flush birds,” he said. “The more times you flush a dove, the less likely it is to come back to that field. We want to lessen some of that pressure before the season to ensure a quality hunt.”
There are two new public dove fields this year in Ballard and Butler counties. Hunters using the public dove fields at Curtis Gates Lloyd Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Grant County must know the shooting hours on opening day (Sept. 1) begin at 2 p.m.
Hunters using the cooperator dove field in Madison County off KY 627 must use U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved non-toxic shot.
Little noted that a few of the fields slated for public access failed due to the amount of rain this past spring.
A list of current dove fields is available by consulting the 2019-2020 Kentucky Hunting Guide for Dove, Early Waterfowl, Woodcock, Snipe and Crow. The guide, which is available online only, is accessible on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s website. Go to fw.ky.gov and search under the keyword, “dove,” for rules, regulations and additional information.
Hunters can also use the interactive dove field map to find public dove fields on the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website by searching under the keywords, “Public Dove Fields.”
Hunters using public fields should remember that they cannot clean their birds at the site. Hunters also must pick up all spent shotshell hulls or other trash and obey all signs.
The first segment of the 2019-2020 dove season opens Sept. 1 and closes Oct. 26. The second segment opens Nov. 28 and closes Dec. 8, while the third segment of dove season opens Dec. 21, 2019 and closes Jan. 12, 2020.
In addition to a valid Kentucky hunting license, dove hunters must possess a Kentucky Migratory Game Bird/Waterfowl Hunting Permit. Shotguns must be plugged to only hold three shells total, one in the chamber and two in the magazine.
If not completed already, dove hunters must go online at the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at fw.ky.gov and click the “My Profile” tab to fill out the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey before hunting.