2018-08-29 / Front Page

Dove season opens Saturday

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, nearly 630,000 people hunt in Georgia, spending more than 9.9 million days a year in the field. Many of those hunters will be taking to fields across Georgia Saturday for the opening day of dove season.

Saturday will be the start of the first of three statewide dove seasons: Sept. 1-16, Oct. 13-31 and Nov. 22 - Jan. 15.

Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except for the opening day, which begins at 12 noon. The bag limit is 12 per day, 45 in possession.

Agricultural lands often provide excellent dove hunting opportunities. The key to hunting doves legally in Georgia is understanding the differences between “baiting” and “normal agricultural operation.”

Baiting prohibited

Baiting is the practice of direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering salt, corn, wheat, or any other grain or feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for doves to areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Dove hunting regulations are part of the Federal Migratory Bird Treat Act. Hunting doves over baited areas is illegal. A person is guilty of hunting over bait if he or she knows, or reasonably should know, that an area was baited.

Furthermore, the person who places bait, or directs the placement of bait, on or near a hunted area, is guilty of baiting. Any baited area remains baited for 10 days following the complete removal of any salt, corn, wheat or any other grain or feed which constitutes bait. Dove hunting over or near a baited area within 10 days after the bait is completely removed is a violation.

License & Shotguns

Dove hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a Georgia hunting license and a Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp. The Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp is required for ALL migratory bird hunters, even if a hunting license is not required. This stamp is how Georgia participates in the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Some licenses allow the license holder to get the Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp at no cost. The Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp is only valid for a single season.

Any autoloading or other repeating shotgun must be plugged to hold no more than three shotshells while hunting dove.

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