2017-18 Season Dates
Sept. 2-Oct. 22, 2017
Dec. 9, 2017-Jan. 16, 2018
Mourning Dove and White-winged Dove
Daily Bag Limit: 15
Possession Limit: 45
Daily Bag Limit: No limit
Possession Limit: No limit
Legal Hunting Equipment
- Doves may be taken only with shotguns.
- Shotguns must be incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
- Lead shot may be no larger than shot size BB. Non-toxic shot may be no larger than shot size T.
Legal Shooting Hours
- Legal shooting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
- Hunters 16 and older must have a valid Arkansas hunting license.
- Hunters 16 and older must register with the Harvest Information Program in Arkansas before hunting.
- Hunters younger than 16 do not need a license or HIP registration.
Other Dove-specific Regulations
- The hunter must make a reasonable effort to retrieve downed birds.
- Eurasian collared-doves must remain fully feathered while in the field and during transport.
- Doves given to another hunter must be accompanied by written and signed information stating the number of birds being transferred, the species, the date the birds were killed and the name, address and hunting license number of the person from whom the birds were received.
Baiting Laws for Dove Hunting
- It is illegal to hunt or kill doves with the aid of bait (salt, grain or other feed that has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered to attract game).
- An area is considered baited for 10 days after the complete removal of all bait.
- Anyone hunting who knows or reasonably should know the area is baited is liable for the offense. Hunters should physically inspect the field for any signs of baiting and question landowners, guides and caretakers to ensure the field is legal to hunt.
- Natural vegetation may be manipulated in any way to attract doves and other migratory game birds.
- The following practices are legal to prepare dove fields on planted vegetation:
- Planting – Planting grain crops in a field that has been plowed and disked (including topsewn or aerially seeded wheat fields) is legal as long as seeding rates are in tune with extension service recommendations. It is illegal to seed the same field repeatedly, concentrate wheat in long rows or pile wheat on a field.
- Harvesting – Harvesting a field often scatters some waste grain which attracts birds. If harvest was conducted as normal agricultural operation, it is legal for doves.
- Manipulations – Unharvested fields may be mowed, shredded, disked, rolled, chopped, trampled, burned or treated with herbicides. These fields may be hunted legally for doves.
- Hogging down – Livestock may be allowed to graze on harvested and unharvested grain. These fields may be hunted legally for doves.
- Food plots – It is legal to plant food plots, provided that grains grown for wildlife management purposes are not harvested then returned to the field.
- Complete information about baiting is available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service (PDF document).
Public Dove Fields Available for Opening Day
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission prepares a few fields each year for the opening weekend of dove season so the public has a place to enjoy this exciting form of wingshooting.
Opening day of dove season is the kickoff to fall hunting. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission manages a few public fields on wildlife management areas to attract doves and other wildlife throughout hunting season.
Dove fields on WMAs are available on a first-come, first-served basis. WMA acreage put into dove fields is relatively small because most hunters only pursue doves the first few days of the season. However, after opening weekend of dove season, many wildlife species feed in the fields, particularly those that were topsown with winter wheat.
Hunters should talk to area managers and regional offices for locations of fields, interest shown by other hunters and status of the fields. Dove fields for the 2017-18 season will be published after they have been established.