Dove hunting season opens Thursday across Oklahoma ahead of ‘Free Hunting Days’

Mourning doves are normally plentiful when the Oklahoma hunting season opens Sept. 1. (Alan D. Wilson/CC-BY SA3.0)

Mourning doves are normally plentiful when the Oklahoma hunting season opens Sept. 1. (Alan D. Wilson/CC-BY SA3.0)

OKLAHOMA CITY – While many sports fanatics are excited about the start of football season, hunters are expected to flock to fields for the opening day of dove hunting.

Dove hunting season kicks off on Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 31.

“Doves are among the most numerous game birds in our state,” said Josh Richardson, migratory game bird biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “With the weather we’ve experienced these last couple of weeks before season — not as hot with many pop-up showers– the doves may be more scattered, but they are still around.”

Oklahoma has three different species of doves. Mourning dove is the most common, while Eurasian collared doves are common around humans.
The white-winged dove population has continued to grow across the state.

The daily limit for mourning and white-winged doves is 15 birds in any combination. There is no daily limit on collared doves as long as the head or a feathered wing remains attached to the bird in the field.

Also, shotguns can hold a maximum of three shotshells at any one time. Hunters are encouraged to carry their hunting license and federal Harvest Information Permit while in the field.

Hunters will be able to shoot for free on Sept. 3 and Sept. 4 during Oklahoma’s Free Hunting Days. During that weekend, resident hunters are not required to have a state hunting license or a Harvest Information Permit while in the field.

However, game wardens will be on duty to make sure hunters comply with bag limits, shooting hours, shotgun plugs and other rules.

Experts warn hunters to always get permission from landowners before hunting on private land and pay attention to the rules when hunting in many public hunting areas.