Conditions ripe for prime Texas dove hunting

While most Texans are sweltering under a brutal August heat wave, savvy dove hunters will gladly suffer along providing conditions don’t change before the Sept. 1 season opener.

A hot, dry landscape heading into the season can concentrate dove around feeding and watering areas, making for excellent hunting, according to wildlife biologists with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In addition to prime conditions heading into the opener, dove populations have thrived this year thanks to the amount and timing of spring rains across most of the state that kicked habitat into high gear for dove breeding season.
“With the abundant highly-preferred dove foods available on the landscape this year, we’re seeing excellent production,” said Owen Fitzsimmons, TPWD dove program leader. “White-winged dove production, in particular, has been very high in the southern half of the state. Plus, many of the states to the north had similar spring habitat conditions, which should result in a strong influx of migrant birds for Texas later in the season. I’m excited about the prospects this season, it should be fantastic.”

Dove hunting is huge in Texas, with a deep culture that spans generations. Each fall, more than 300,000 Texas hunters take to the field where they harvest nearly one third of all mourning doves taken nationwide each year -- on average an estimated 10 million birds -- far more than any other state. While those statistics may appear staggering, consider Texas supports breeding populations of over 34 million mourning and 10 million white-winged doves, and those numbers rise even higher during the fall when birds from northern latitudes funnel south.

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