BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – When it comes to deer or other animals that many people want to hunt, the Game and Fisheries Department must hold a lottery. Dove hunting season in North Dakota kicked off September 1, providing hunters and their dogs with a great opportunity to prepare for the hunt for upland waterfowl and birds.
“We have about 7,000 dove hunters in the state, based on our harvest estimates. In the early 1980s or so we had over 20,000. So our numbers of hunters have really dropped and there is certainly, I think, room to increase that,” said the biologist of migratory birds considered to be game Andy Dinges.
Mourning Doves are migratory birds, which means hunters must be HIP certified with their hunting license.
“So all the migratory birds that we manage either at the flyway level or in the case of the mourning doves, we manage them in management units, so North Dakota is part of the management unit. central management. We are responsible for writing management plans, monitoring populations, and then setting seasons based on those management plans and current population levels,” Dinges said.
How exactly do biologists monitor dove populations in North Dakota?
“Our mourning dove survey is our banding effort. Thus, all states are involved in the banding of mourning doves. For North Dakota, we have a quota of about 1,500 birds that we band every year to come up with the estimates that we would like to see,” Dinges said.
Biologists also count doves when surveying upland game broods in late summer in North Dakota.
If you plan to hunt doves, the first weeks of September offer the best opportunities for this migratory speedster.
“So it just happens to be early migrants. So often the best hunt will be in the first week, maybe the second week of the season,” Dinges said.
If you are new to dove hunting, here are some tips to consider.
“You probably need several shells, especially if you’re just starting out, they’re pretty hard to hit. I would say if you want to be successful, definitely do scouting. I would definitely say there will be a lot of opportunities for shooting dove types between feeding and roosting sites, that sort of thing,” Dinges said.
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