Texas Parks and Wildlife: Statewide Dove Banding Underway to Monitor Populations

South Zone regular dove season will open on Sept. 14 for the third year in a row

dove hunting
NBC 5 News

From June to August each year, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department staff place leg bands on thousands of mourning and white-winged doves to monitor the factors that influence populations.

Harvest Information Program, Parts Collection Survey and other harvest surveys to help manage populations and set annual hunting regulations. 

The Harvest Information Program is a national program that estimates migratory game bird harvest and hunting activity by asking hunters a series of questions about their experience the previous season.

The Parts Collection Program uses wings from harvested birds to determine species, sex and age composition, while other harvest surveys are sent out to help fine-tune harvest estimates across the state.

"Doves are the most popular game bird in the country, and Texas leads the nation in overall harvest and hunter numbers, so it's critical that we understand how harvest affects dove populations," notes Owen Fitzsimmons, TPWD's Webless Migratory Game Bird Program Leader.

Texas hunters can look forward to the following dove season dates:

  • North Zone - Sept. 1 to Nov. 12 and Dec. 18 to Jan. 3, 2021
  • Central Zone - Sept. 1 to Nov. 1 and Dec. 18 to Jan. 14, 2021
  • South Zone - Sept. 14 to Nov. 1 and Dec. 18 to Jan. 23, 2021
  • Special White-winged Dove Days - Sept. 5, 6, 12, 13 (shooting hours are from noon to sunset)

"The opening day change actually started a couple of years back, but September 14 falls on a Monday this year so people are starting to notice," said Fitzsimmons. "These recent changes are huge for our hunters. By fixing the opener on the 14th every year and using our four Special White-winged Days, South Zone hunters now have guaranteed hunting opportunity every weekend in September and, depending how the calendar falls, start a week or so earlier than they ever have in the past."

Online: TPWD: Dove in Texas

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