The 2020 dove season opens Sept. 1. With the coronavirus pandemic, it will still be important to remain physically distant from other groups or people not in your same party or household, but the Arizona Game & Fish Department wants the state’s dove hunters to stay socially connected and share in the fun experiences.
“The great news is that another exceptional early season is expected,” said Johnathan O’Dell, small game biologist for Arizona Game & Fish. “A longer wet winter delayed some early nesting, but it pushed more of that nesting into the prime breeding season in the deserts.”
O’Dell said a lot of birds should be around for the season opener, especially since the summer monsoon has been relatively weak so far.
In this time when everyone is being encouraged to limit their exposure in public places, hunters should know it’s much easier and more convenient to buy hunting licenses and state migratory bird stamps online at https://www.azgfd.com/license/.
The 15-day “early” season gets underway 30 minutes before legal sunrise Sept. 1. The daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves, of which no more than 10 may be white-winged. The possession limit is 45 mourning and white-winged in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 may be taken in any one day. Of the 45-dove possession limit, only 30 may be white-winged, of which no more than 10 may be taken in any one day. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit on the invasive Eurasian collared-dove.
Once again, the greatest number of doves — and dove hunters — will be concentrated in the state’s agricultural areas, particularly those that produce small-grain crops like wheat, barley, oats and sorghum. That includes locations like Yuma, one of the premier destinations in the U.S., as well as Buckeye, Eloy, Florence, Gila Bend, Toltec and others. Please note all National Park Service parks and monuments are closed to hunting unless specifically opened in Commission Order.
All dove hunters should review the “2020-2021 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations,” which are posted at www.azgfd.gov/dove. The regulations have been produced in a format that hunters will find particularly handy in the field. The color brochure is easy to read and features important hunting information, such as season dates, daily bag and possession limits, and legal requirements, at a glance.
All hunters 18 and older must possess a valid Arizona hunting license, as well as a migratory bird stamp — both of which can be purchased online now at https://www.azgfd.com/license/. A youth combination hunt/fish license (for youth hunters 10 to 17) is only $5 and includes a migratory bird stamp.
For everything else “dove,” visit www.azgfd.gov/dove. This web page offers helpful information from hunting safety tips during the pandemic to a list of the top infractions for which citations are written every season. Also, check out the video that shows in detail a couple of techniques for field-dressing doves.
Dove hunters play an important role in conservation. Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) funds consist of excise taxes collected on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment (including 11 percent on ammunition), the benefit of which comes right back to Arizona for habitat improvements, shooting ranges, boating access and more.