20 More Days of Dove Hunting Tops Slate of Proposed Regulation Changes

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov

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AUSTIN – Texas dove hunters would get an additional 20 days this fall under proposed changes to the 2016-17 Statewide Hunting Proclamation for Migratory Game Birds up for public comment.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved a 90-day Texas dove season, the longest in 80 years.

In addition, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is recommending a later opener for duck hunting, with a shorter break between splits for the North Duck Zone and a later overall season in the South Duck Zone.

Under new federal guidelines, Texas is now able to present proposed migratory game bird regulation changes earlier in the year than previously allowed. This means the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission can adopt dove and waterfowl hunting seasons at its March 24 public hearing, giving hunters more time to plan trips afield.

TPWD staff proposes to integrate the additional 20 dove hunting days early in the season to take advantage of migrating birds. The traditional September 1 dove season opening day in the North and Central Zones would remain, while the South Zone would open Sept. 23. The first segment in the North and South zones would extend through Nov. 13, while the Central Zone would run until Nov. 6. The season would reopen statewide Dec. 17 and run through Jan. 1, 2017 in the North Zone, Jan. 8, 2017 in the Central Zone and Jan. 23, 2017 in the South Zone.

The daily bag limit for doves statewide would remain 15 and the possession limit 45.

The Special White-winged Dove Area would be restricted to afternoon only (noon to sunset) hunting the first two full September weekends on Sept. 3-4 and 10-11. Hunting in this area would reopen Sept. 23 and continue through, Nov. 13, and then reopen Dec. 17 through Jan. 19, 2017. During the early two weekends, the daily bag limit would be 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. Once the general season opens, the aggregate bag limit would be 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

Staff recommends a Sept. 10-25 early teal season with a daily bag limit of six birds.

For the general duck season, the following calendar is proposed:

  • High Plains Mallard Management Unit: Youth: Oct. 22-23; Regular: Oct. 29-30 — Nov. 4— Jan. 29; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 7 — Jan. 29.
  • North Zone: Youth: Nov. 5-6; Regular: Nov. 12-27 and Dec. 3—Jan. 29; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 17-27 and Dec. 3—Jan. 29.
  • South Zone: Youth: Oct. 29-30; Regular: Nov. 5-27 and Dec. 10 — Jan. 29; “Dusky” Duck: Nov. 10-27 and Dec. 10 — Jan. 29.

Bag Limit: 6/day in the aggregate to include no more than 5 mallards, of which only 2 may be hens, 3 wood ducks, 3 scaup, 2 redheads, 2 pintail , 2 canvasback, 1 “dusky duck” (mottled, black or Mexican-like) after the first 5 days. Mergansers: 5/day with no more than 2 hooded merganser. Coots: 15/day. Possession limit is three times the daily bag limit.

For geese, the proposed framework is as follows:

  • East Zone: Early Canada goose (bag limit of 5 Canada Geese only and possession limit of 15) Sept. 10-25 and Nov. 5 – Jan.29, 2017; white-front Nov. 5 — Jan. 29, 2017; light Nov. 5-Jan. 29, 2017; conservation order Jan. 30 — Mar. 19, 2017.

Bag Limit after the Early Canada Goose: 5 dark geese, to include no more than 2 white-fronted geese, 20 light geese (no possession limit).

  • West Zone: Nov. 5 – Feb. 5, 2017; conservation order Feb. 6 — Mar. 19, 2017.

Bag Limit: 5 dark geese, to include no more than 2 white-fronted geese, 20 light geese (no possession limit).

For sandhill crane:

  • Zone A: Oct. 29 – Jan. 29, 2017.Bag Limit: 3, possession limit 9.
  • Zone B: Nov. 18 — Jan. 29, 2017. Bag Limit: 3, possession limit 9.
  • Zone C: Dec. 17 — Jan. 22, 2017. Bag Limit: 2-possession limit 6.

For Snipe:

  • Oct. 29 — Feb. 12 with a daily bag of 8 and possession limit of 24

For Woodcock:

  • Dec. 18 – Jan. 31, 2017 with a daily bag limit of 3 and possession limit of 9.

For falconry:

  • Statewide: dove Nov. 19-Dec. 5; ducks Jan. 30-Feb. 12, 2017.

Public comment on any of the proposed regulation changes may be made in person at upcoming public meetings, during a live webinar March 3 at 7 p.m. or online http://tpwd.texas.gov/ between Feb. 19-March 24. Questions regarding these changes can be directed to Wildlife Information, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX 78744, email hunt@tpwd.texas.gov or call 800-792-1112.

Public Meeting Schedule

March 1

  • Emory — Emory City Center on Hwy 19 North

March 2

  • Beaumont — Jefferson County Courthouse
  • Ennis — Ellis County Sub Courthouse, 207 Sonoma Tr.

March 7

  • Tahoka — City Hall Meeting Room, 1807 Main St.

March 8

  • Groesbeck — Groesbeck Convention Center, 106 E. Navasota St.

March 9

  • Cameron — Bea’s Kitchen, 101 E. Main St.