Hopkins County dove hunters may be scouring the power lines, as the Sept. 1 day of opening season draws near.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division (TPWD), 300,000 hunters in Texas harvest more than 6 million birds every year, pouring money into local economies and the state with its $48 license.
During the 2021-2022 season, Texas hunters need not only a hunting license, but also certification from the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Worry not: the HIP certification is offered at time of purchase with a hunting license, and consists of a few simple questions about your harvest from previous seasons.
Hopkins County is split between two hunting regions, with Interstate-30 bisecting the county. The southern part of the county falls into the central region, while the northern part of the county falls into the northern region. This mainly affects how TPWD handles harvesting, but has one key difference for hunters: timing.
Those living south of I-30 may hunt from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, 2021 and Dec. 17, 2021 to Jan. 14, 2022. Those living north of I-30 have differing date ranges: from Sept. 1 to Nov. 12, 2021 and Dec. 17, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.
According to TPWD, dove hunting is usually easier in dry years. Doves look for an easy-to-spot feed such as sunflower seeds, harvested grain or any other food source, and an accessible water source. Although climatologists can’t fully predict how wet or dry the fall will shape up, August continues with hot, dry temperatures. Another thing about our long, hot summer is that doves have had longer to hatch, TPWD notes. This should make the crop bountiful for Hopkins County hopefuls.
A shotgun is the only legal firearm for hunting migratory game birds, TPWD notes. The shotgun may not be larger than 10-gauge, and must not hold more than three shells at a time.
“Shotguns capable of holding more than three shells must be plugged with a one-piece filler which cannot be removed without disassembling the gun, so the gun’s total capacity does not exceed three shells,” TPWD states.
Hunters are prohibited from purposely baiting doves with salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction. However, hunting doves where seed or vegetation manipulation normally occurs, such as for agricultural purposes, is permissible.
The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 and the possession limit 45, according to TPWD.
To learn more, visit: https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/hunting/migratory-game-bird-regulations/
By Taylor Nye