LINCOLN, Neb. – Dove season starts Sept. 1, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission urges hunters to get out and scout locations to increase their chance of success.
“During the fall, doves are either preparing for migration or actively migrating south, so they are primarily focused on high energy food,” said Jeff Lusk, Game and Parks’ upland game program manager. “Areas that have abundant food resources, such as sunflower fields planted on certain wildlife management areas (WMA), are ideal places to encounter doves.”
Sunflower, millet and wheat have been planted at several WMAs statewide. To view a list of these planted areas, see the 2018 Dove Hunting Fact Sheet at OutdoorNebraska.gov/SmallGameSpecies.
Other WMAs throughout the state can provide good dove hunting opportunities, depending on local conditions. Open Fields and Waters sites and other public lands also are open to hunting. The Public Access Atlas lists more than 300 publicly owned areas open to hunting. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org/wheretohunt for public hunting access opportunities.
Hunters are reminded that it is unlawful to hunt on state recreation areas (SRA) until Sept. 4. Regulations prohibit any hunting on SRAs until the Tuesday following Labor Day.
The statewide dove season is Sept. 1 – Oct. 30, with daily bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively. Bag limits are for mourning, white-winged and Eurasian collared doves in aggregate. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.
Nebraska residents 16 years and older and all nonresidents are required to have a valid Nebraska small game hunting permit, habitat stamp and Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. Get the free HIP number at OutdoorNebraska.gov/hip or at any Game and Parks office. A federal migratory bird hunting stamp (duck stamp) is not required to hunt doves. Shotgun plugs are also required, restricting it to no more than three shells.
Dove hunters who find a leg band on a dove should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) at reportband.gov. In addition, randomly selected hunters will be asked to save one wing from each dove during the first week of the season and mail the wings postage-free to the USFWS.
Eurasian collared-doves also may be harvested between Oct. 31 and Aug. 31, 2019, with bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively.
For summaries of hunting regulations, read the Small Game at Outdoornebraska.gov/guides/. Purchase permits at OutdoorNebraska.org.