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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.

Licenses Needed

  • Hunters 16 or older must have on their person a valid Arkansas hunting license and Harvest Information Program registration while 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 in the field and while being transported from the field.
  • 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 any migratory game birds with the aid of bait or over any baited area. A baited area is where salt, grain or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed or scattered to lure or attract migratory game birds to, on or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them.
  • 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 for all migratory 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 line 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).

2023 Public Dove Fields

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.

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.

Steel shot is required for all migratory bird hunting (including doves) on the following WMAs: Bell Slough, Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita, Big Lake, Camp Robinson, Cypress Bayou, Cut-Off Creek, Dave Donaldson Black River, Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc, Earl Buss Bayou DeView, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou, Galla Creek, George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto, Harris Brake, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Petit Jean, Rex Hancock Black Swamp, Seven Devils, Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar, Shirey Bay Rainey Brake.

Public Dove Fields Available for 2023

WMA County Acres of Dove Fields Forage Type
Big Lake WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Mississippi 5 acres | Map Sunflowers
Camp Robinson SUA Faulkner 35 acres | Map Sunflowers, Wheat
Dardanelle WMA Johnson, Logan 15 acres | Map Wheat
Dave Donaldson Black River WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Clay 24 acres | Map Sunflowers, Wheat
Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Conway 59 acres | Map Millet, Wheat
Fort Chaffee WMA
*more info below
Sebastian 28 acres | Map Wheat
​Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA​ Desha 32 acres | Map Wheat
Frog Bayou WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Crawford 30 acres | Map Sunflowers, Wheat
Galla Creek WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Pope 45 acres | Map Wheat
George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Jefferson 32 acres | Map Wheat
Hope Upland WMA
*Dove hunting allowed only on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
Hempstead 75 acres | Map Wheat
J. Perry Mikles Blue Mountain SUA Logan 4 acres | Map Wheat
Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA Yell 30 acres | Map Millet, Sorghum, Wheat
Ozark Lake WMA Crawford 12 acres | Map Wheat, Sunflowers
Petit Jean River WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Yell 10 acres | Map Millet, Sorghum, Wheat
Poison Springs WMA Nevada  30 acres | Map Wheat
Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA
*Dove hunting allowed only on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday
Hempstead 77 acres | Map Wheat
Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA *Nontoxic shot only. Lawrence 38 acres | Map Sunflowers, Wheat
St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA Craighead 20 acres | Map Sunflowers
Trusten Holder WMA Desha 4 acres | Map Wheat
U of A Pine Tree Experimental Station WDA St. Francis 21 acres | Map Wheat
Wedington WMA Benton, Washington 32 acres | Map Millet, Wheat

*Fort Chaffee WMA: A General Use Permit (WMP) is required. The process and requirements for participating in hunting, fishing, trapping and other approved recreational activities at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center (FCJMTC) has changed. All facets of the Outdoor Recreation Program are conducted online at Permits are issued exclusively online through RecAccess at For more information, visit or call the FCJMTC Environmental Branch at 479-484-2226 or 479-484-2777. Public use compartments may be closed at any time due to military training.

Dove Processing 101 (Video)