Additional dove fields planned for Labor Day Weekend
Aug. 16, 2023
Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK —For the last seven years, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has cranked the excitement to Labor Day Weekend by adding a few special draw hunts on managed dove fields. The application window for those hunts is closed and applicants can visit www.agfc.com/license and click the “Special Hunt Application Status” tab to see their results. If you weren’t lucky in the draw, you can still make your own luck by checking out one of the other opening day opportunities being prepared by AGFC staff for dove season.
According to Luke Lewis, AGFC assistant chief of wildlife management, AGFC biologists and technicians are preparing more than 540 acres of additional dove-hunting opportunities that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The dove fields in the draw program are on agricultural fields leased by the AGFC from private landowners and a few WMAs where we can do a little more extensive management for sunflowers,” Lewis said. “Our open dove fields are actually an opportunity to get two birds with one stone, so to speak. We’re planting wheat on most of them that will add food for deer and other wildlife when it sprouts, but we plan the timing of the planting and top-sow the seed to attract doves for an opening day hunt. If the field doesn’t see a lot of rain before the opening day, you can have some good hunts on these top-sown fields. A few other crops are already planted on a few other fields, and those crops will be prepped for opening weekend as well.”
Hunters interested in pursuing opening day doves on these open public land fields are encouraged to take some time and scout the fields for the latest conditions.
“We do our best to update the website if a field can’t be prepared, but we list all of the fields on the website to let people get some boots on the ground before opening weekend to see the fields for themselves,” Lewis said. “Most of these won’t look like the traditional sunflower fields people will find in the draw hunts, but the birds will be there if the conditions are right.”
In addition to the field location, hunters who plan ahead will know exactly where doves are flying and where to set up their shooting station on opening morning.
The 2023-24 Arkansas Dove Season is Sept. 2-Oct. 22, 2023 and Dec. 8, 2023-Jan. 15, 2024. The daily bag limit for mourning dove and white-winged dove is 15, with a possession limit of 45. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit for Eurasian collared-dove, but all Eurasian collared-doves must remain fully feathered for identification purposes while in the field and during transport from the field. Dove hunters 16 and older must have a valid Arkansas hunting license and registration with the Harvest Information Program. Licenses and registration are available at www.agfc.com/license.
Visit www.agfc.com/dove for a list of WMAs and maps for the 2023 dove season.
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