Dove in Texas

There are seven species of doves and pigeons indigenous to Texas, of which only three (mourning dove, white-winged dove, and white-tipped dove) are currently hunted. Two species (red-billed pigeon and band-tailed pigeon) are currently listed as legal game birds by federal and state regulations but are not hunted in Texas due to limited numbers and distribution. Two other species (Inca dove and common ground-dove) are sparrow-sized birds with no potential for hunting and for which no formal management actions are undertaken.

The conservation, management, and equitable use of these birds in Texas requires hunting regulations, habitat management, population monitoring, and research. Hunting regulations must be modified periodically due to population and habitat changes to insure the wise use of these resources. The migratory nature of these species as well as international treaty obligations requires coordination of these regulations between states, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and foreign governments. Major land use changes including agricultural, commercial, and urban development have adversely affected some bird species in Texas, primarily through the loss of nesting and feeding habitat. Since the vast majority of land in Texas is in private ownership, private land management is essential in offsetting the detrimental effects of land use changes.

Dove Hunting in Texas

Dove Hunting Seasons & Regulations

Dove Population Status Report 2023 PDF

Harvest Surveys

Know Your Dove/Conozca Sus Palomas PDF

News Releases and Latest Information

TPWD Releases Dove Lethality Study Findings

December 2, 2014 — Texas leads the nation in dove hunting with roughly a quarter million hunters bagging 5 million mourning doves each fall. Their success afield may not change with the type of shot used, according to the results of a just-released study examining the lethality of lead versus non-toxic shot for mourning dove. Read full news release

Permian Basin Dove Updates

October 17, 2012 — According to lab results from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories, the recent dove mortalities in West Texas were caused by pigeon paramyxovirus-1. Pigeon paramyxovirus-1 belongs to a larger group of avian paramyxovirus serogroup 1 (APMV-1) viruses. Though PPMV-1 has never been documented to infect humans, some strains of viruses in the APMV-1 group have been shown to cause mild conjunctivitis in people who directly handled large numbers of infected birds. There are no records of transmission of PPMV-1 to other mammals, such as domestic pets. Some strains of PPMV-1 have been shown to be virulent in poultry. Minimizing contact between doves and poultry in affected areas of West Texas is advised until the PPMV-1 dove mortality event is over. This is the first time that pigeon paramyxovirus-1 has been identified in white-winged doves, though Eurasian-collared doves were also involved in this outbreak. TPWD will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, though it is not considered a major threat to dove populations in Texas.


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