Nine Bar Ranch Blog
Dove hunting is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy some friendly competition and bonding time with family and friends, and snag a delicious meal simultaneously. But if you’re new to the sport, it can be tough to know where to start. Different types of doves produce different types of calls, so it’s important to know which one you’re after before heading out into the field. Here are a few of the most popular dove hunting calls and when to use them.
First of all, the easiest way to recognize a Dove is by a six-note call, meaning three notes played together followed by three longer notes. To imitate this, you can use store-bought contraptions or simply use your hands. A successful Dove hunt usually consists of three primary elements: a good location, effective calls, and believable decoys. Whistling a single note from a teal or wood duck call can also help draw Dove in your direction. An ideal situation would be to use a combination of all three elements for an extended period of time, as this will increase your chances of success. If you are only able to use one element, make sure it is an effective call.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular doves and their calls.
Mourning Dove: The mourning dove is the most commonly hunted species of dove in North America. They get their name from their soft cooing sound, which is often compared to a mourning song. Mourning doves are relatively small, so they can be difficult to spot in open fields. However, their plaintive call makes them easier to locate. When hunting mourning doves, it’s best to use a simple single-note call.
White-Winged Dove: The white-winged dove is the second most popular species of dove to hunt. They get their name from the conspicuous white patches on their wings. White-winged doves are larger than mourning doves and have a different call. Their cooing is deeper and raspier, often described as sounding like a squeaky hinge. When hunting white-winged doves, it’s best to use a two-note or raspy call.
Eurasian Collared-Dove: The Eurasian collared-dove is a relatively new addition to the dove family in North America. They were introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s and have since spread to parts of the southeastern United States. Eurasian collared-doves are larger than both mourning and white-winged doves and have a distinctive two-note coo that sounds like they’re saying “coo-COO.” When hunting Eurasian collared-doves, it’s best to use a two-note or raspy call.
Now that you know a little bit more about the different types of doves and their calls, you’re ready to head out into the field and try dove hunting this season!
With dove hunting season right around the corner, now is the time to start getting your gear in order and making sure you are up to date on all the rules and regulations. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for dove season:
- Make sure you have the proper license and endorsements: In Texas, you need a hunting license as well as a special Dove Hunting Permit to hunt doves. The permit costs $7 for residents and $68 for non-residents. You also must be Harvest Information Program certified, which means answering questions about the number of birds taken on hunts from last season. The certification should appear on a license below your personal information.
- Know the dates of the season: The North Texas dove season runs from Sept. 1 – Nov. 13, with a special early season from Dec. 17 – Jan. 2. Central Zone season is from Sept. 1 – Oct. 31, and Dec. 17 – Jan. 14. The South Zone season is Sept. 14 – Oct. 31 and Dec. 17 – Jan. 22, with special early season dates of Sept. 2 – 4 and Sept. 9 – 11.
- Know the bag limits: The daily bag limit for doves statewide is 15 birds, with a possession limit of 45. However, during the special early season in the South Zone, the daily bag limit is 15 birds, with no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves.
- Know where you can and cannot hunt: You can only hunt on land that is open to public hunting. That includes state parks, wildlife management areas, and some national forests. You cannot hunt on private property without the landowner’s permission.
- Know the rules about baiting: You cannot hunt doves over a baited area. An area is considered baited if grain, seed, or other food is scattered on the ground to attract doves. An area where bait has been placed is forbidden to hunting for ten days after all the salt, grain, or other food has been removed.
Following these simple tips can help ensure a safe and enjoyable dove season for everyone. At Nine Bar Ranch, we offer a variety of hunting packages that include everything you need for a successful hunt. Gear up for dove season today and book your hunt at Nine Bar Ranch. We can’t wait to see you!