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.
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
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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