JEFFERSON CITY -- Visit dove fields before opening day, and buy plenty of ammunition. That's the advice from Missouri's top dove expert. Resource Scientist John Schulz says Missouri doves have raised a bumper crop of young this year.
Missouri's dove hunting season runs from Sept. 1 through Nov. 9. Mourning, collared and white-winged doves all are legal. The limit is 15 doves of all three species in the aggregate daily and 30 in possession.
Missouri residents ages 16 through 64 must buy a Small Game Hunting Permit to pursue doves. All dove hunters 16 and older must have a Missouri Migratory Bird Hunting Permit for dove hunting.
Mourning doves are amazingly prolific, raising up to six clutches of eggs between March and September. However, doves build flimsy, shallow nests, and rainy, windy weather reduces nest success. Schulz says this year's hot, dry summer has been good for dove nesting. The evidence comes from the Missouri Department of Conservation's dove-banding program.
"Of the 500 or so doves banded so far this year, almost 400 of them have been hatched this year," said Schulz. "You only see proportions like that in years with excellent dove reproduction."