This year, dove hunters will have more opportunity earlier in the season. The North and Central zones will have five more days than last year, and the South Zone will have two additional days. The 2015-2016 Texas dove season is 70 days, with a 15-bird daily bag limit and 45-bird possession limit statewide.
“Age-ratios (juveniles versus adults) from last season indicated very strong production in mourning doves across Texas last year; we expect similar or slightly increased production this year with the improved habitat conditions across nearly all of Texas,” said Shaun Oldenburger, TPWD’s dove program leader. “However, improved habitat conditions equal more food and water on the landscape, which means hunters may need to spend more time patterning mourning doves prior to opening day in their area.”
Need a place to hunt? For just $48, an Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit provides year-round hunting on nearly one million acres of land, including wildlife management areas, state parks and approximately 120 dove and small game areas leased from private landowners. Youth under age 17 may access these areas for free with a permitted adult.
Please check the doves you shoot for leg bands and report them to 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or www.reportband.gov. The bands are very small and easy to overlook. Reporting helps provide information for better wildlife management.
Early Teal Season
Duck hunters can anticipate improved conditions for the September early teal season as abundant rains have filled lakes and marshes for the first time in several years. With record numbers of teal expected to make their way into Texas during the upcoming months, prospects should be good. See the waterfowl forecast for more information.
A 16-day statewide early teal will run Saturday, Sept. 12 through Sunday, Sept. 27. The daily bag on teal remains six, with a possession limit of 18.
“Blue-winged teal numbers (8.5 million) are way above the minimum of 4.7 million needed for a 16-day season,” said Kevin Kraai, TPWD waterfowl program leader. “Conditions for teal across the state are excellent and hunters are urged to have their fingers crossed for a timely migration in the middle of September.”
Fall Alligator Season
In 22 “core” counties and on properties in other counties for which Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued CITES tags to the landowner, the open season for alligators is September 10-30. No person may hunt an alligator without possessing a valid CITES tag on their person. For information about tag issuance and requirements, contact the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management office at (409) 736-2551.
Regulations including lawful hunting hours and means and methods can be found online, at all TPWD Regional Law Enforcement offices or by calling (800) 792-1112.
What every hunter needs to have on their person when hunting:
- A valid hunting license
- Hunter’s born on or after Sept. 2, 1971 (including out-of-state hunters) must carry proof of Hunter Education certification or deferral. If you can’t find your Hunter Education certification card, you can print a duplicate from the TPWD website.
- To hunt dove or teal, hunters are also required to have a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp endorsement ($7) and a free Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification.
- Duck hunters also need a Federal Duck Stamp ($25).
4 Fundamental Rules of Firearm Safety
The top causes of hunting accidents during dove season are careless handling of a firearm and swinging on game. These hunting accidents are preventable! Follow these 4 rules for a safe hunting season:
- Control where the muzzle is pointed
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Establish the safe zone of fire
- Keep fingers away from the trigger until ready to shoot
Pictures and videos courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department