RALEIGH — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds hunters that the dove hunting season opens Monday, Sept. 1, and to be safe throughout the season for these popular game birds.
Shooting hours are half-hour before sunrise to sunset for the entire season, including opening day. The 2014-15 season for mourning and white-winged dove is Sept. 1 to Oct. 11 and Nov. 27 to Jan. 15. Daily bag limit is 15 and possession limit is 45.
“Opening day is a Monday, not a traditional Saturday,” said Kate Pipkin, Wildlife Commission rules biologist. “Although many hunters prefer the season to open the Saturday prior to Labor Day, federal guidelines do not allow states to open migratory game bird seasons prior to Sept. 1. Rather than wait until Sept. 6, which is the first Saturday after Labor Day, the Wildlife Commission went with the earliest possible date allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
The Commission’s Home From The Hunt™ campaign encourages hunters to be safe and responsible in the field, with the following recommendations:
— When hunting in a group, adhere to established zones of fire.
— Never shoot at low-flying birds and alert others when a bird is too low for a safe shot.
— Take time prior to hunting to walk the field and inspect the area for bait.
— Never place decoys on utility lines, which is trespassing and risks electrical shock.
— Don’t combine game bags, which is a hunting regulations violation.
All hunters must follow applicable licensing requirements and hunting regulations. It is an individual hunter’s responsibility to know the area being hunted. Don’t hunt over baited fields. According to state regulations, the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain or other feed that could serve as a lure for migratory game can constitute a baited area. Because birds often return to a feeding area even after the food source is exhausted, hunting within 10 days after complete disappearance of feed from a baited area is illegal.
For information on hunting seasons, Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits and the Hunter Education Program, go to www.ncwildlife.org/hunting.