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Changes to mourning dove season for 2014-2015

The Indiana mourning dove season will expand by 18 days for the 2014-15 hunting season.

To accommodate these additional days, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has added a third period for dove hunting, in December and January. Additionally, the DNR extended the first period, and modified the second period to avoid the firearms deer season.

The 2014-15 mourning dove hunting season is:

- Sep. 1 – Oct. 19

- Nov. 1 – Nov. 9

- Dec. 13 – Jan. 11

Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 with a possession limit of 45.

“Most mourning doves are harvested in September, but great dove hunting can be found later in the season with a little scouting,” said Budd Veverka, DNR farmland game research biologist. “Looking at data from the past five years, I would expect to see approximately 11,000 dove hunters harvest nearly 214,000 mourning doves in 2014. With the extended season, the harvest could be even higher.”

The expansion is based on research by the Indiana DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Since 2003, Indiana has partnered with the USFWS to place leg bands on more than 1,000 mourning doves each summer in Indiana. The banded birds help biologists determine hunting harvest rates, estimate annual survival, and provide information on the geographical distribution of the harvest. From these efforts, The National Mourning Dove Strategic Harvest Management Plan and the National Mourning Dove Banding Program were developed.

The Eastern Management Unit Technical Committee, of which Indiana is a part, implemented the Mourning Dove Harvest Strategy in 2014. The strategy sets standard regulations at a maximum 90-day season with a 15-bird bag limit, rather than the past 70-day season.

“Doves are found throughout the state, but will concentrate in areas associated with farming,” Veverka said. “Recently harvested grain fields with water nearby are typically hotspots for dove hunting.”

To hunt mourning doves, Indiana residents must purchase the annual hunting license for $17 ($7 youth consolidated license) and the game bird habitat stamp for $6.75. Nonresidents must also purchase the game bird habitat stamp in addition to the $80 annual hunting license or the $31 five-day hunting license ($17 annual youth hunting).

Federal regulations require all licensed dove hunters (including lifetime license holders) to register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) and carry proof of registration while hunting. HIP registration is free and available at wildlife.IN.gov/3567.htm or by calling 1-866-671-4499.

Hunters using state fish & wildlife areas or state-owned reservoirs are required to use non-toxic shot when hunting mourning doves. Additionally, hunters may not hunt migratory birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.

If you harvest a banded bird, you can report it at 1-800-327-BAND (2263) or reportband.gov. Hunters may keep any bands they recover