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Lake life

Doves at daylight

Boy, come Saturday morning, there sure are going to be some confused doves flying around Louisiana. Since I can remember, dove hunting has begun at noon on opening day, which allowed hunters to sleep in a bit and make a social event out of it. No Louisiana sportsman ever scoffed at those ideas.

But this year, doves become fair game at daylight. Dove hunting in Louisiana on private lands will begin half an hour before sunrise and go to sunset.  However, dovehuntershooting hours for these species will start at noon on the first day of dove season on state wildlife management areas. If you really love dove hunting and hunt them all year, you will also be glad to know that there are 20 more days this season than usual.

There are also two zones for dove hunting in Louisiana.The following boundary divides the state into North and South dove season zones: Beginning at the Texas-Louisiana border on La. Hwy. 12; thence east along La. Hwy. 12 to its intersection with U.S. Hwy. 190; thence east along U.S. Hwy. 190 to its intersection with Interstate 12; thence east along I-12 to its intersection with Interstate 10; then east along I-10 to the Mississippi state line.

Now I am starting to know how the doves will feel. If you are confused by the boundary, just know this. If you don’t drive far enough south to smell fresh boudin and start hearing people talk with a little French accent, you are probably still in the North zone. To make it more interesting, there are also three “splits” in the season, so it’s off and on like a famous Hollywood romance.

There’s more. Hunters are reminded that they must have a HIP permit to hunt migratory birds. Those permits are free and can be picked up when you get your hunting license. Oh yes, don’t forget your hunting license. In case you do plan more than one day at a time, here is a quick look at the entire season for doves in the state: the North Zone is open Sept. 6-28; Oct. 11 – Nov. 9; and Dec. 10 – Jan. 15. The South Zone is open Sept. 6-14; Oct. 11 – Dec. 3; and Dec. 20 – Jan. 15.

Mourning and white-winged doves and fully dressed Eurasian collared and ringed turtle doves: Daily bag limit 15 in aggregate, Possession 45 in aggregate, but note: there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared-doves or ringed turtle-doves provided that a fully feathered wing and head remain attached to the carcass of the bird. Fully dressed Eurasian-collared doves and ringed-turtle doves (those without a fully feathered wing and head naturally attached to the carcass) shall be included in the aggregate bag.

Any questions? If there are, consult your LDWF 2014-15 hunting guide, the official word on hunting rules, regulations and dates.

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