Dove season opens hunting in the state beginning Sept. 2 and runs through three splits in our South Zone — Sept. 2-10, Oct. 7-Nov. 26 and Dec. 17-Jan. 15.

There are seven dove species in Louisiana, five of them legal to bag — mourning dove, Eurasian collared-dove, ringed-turtle dove, white-winged dove and the rock dove (pigeon).

The two that are protected are the common ground dove and the Inca dove.

 Most abundant is the mourning dove which likes the open fields. We see more white-winged doves in neighborhoods. I live behind the McNeese State football stadium and have about two dozen that greet me every morning when I go out to feed birds.

Most of the white-wings are seen Southwest and Southeast of Central Louisiana.

The collared doves are statewide and the turtle doves are statewide but spotty.

This year the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has put a restriction on hunters using the Wildlife Management Areas and the departments leased fields.

They will only be allowed to use a non-toxic shot, size 6 and smaller for hunting.

The official news release from the LDWA reads: “The change is intended to reduce the deposition of lead shot and potential effects of lead on wildlife. Current research has demonstrated that in dove fields and areas surrounding dove fields, deposition of lead is high and concentration of lead is elevated in the soil.

“The regulation was proposed and adopted in order to mitigate the potential exposure of lead to wildlife in areas impacted by this activity.”

As for WMAs, there are none in the immediate area but Kori Legleu, a biologist with the local LDWA office, said the department will have several area dove field leases for the season.

“We probably won’t know for sure until about a week before the season begins,” she said.

Legleu noted that the leased fields will be in the DeRidder and Ragley areas.

She said hunters will be charged $10 each to hunt the leased fields per day and will have to check in at the site, noting that this is an opportunity for those who don’t have a place to hunt.

Hunters can go on the LDWF website to find out more on the leased fields.

Maps of these fields will also be available at the local LDWA headquarters.


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