Dove Hunting In Missouri
You know fall is approaching when it gets close to dove season. Mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves, and white-winged doves may be taken from Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 from one half hour before sunrise to sunset with a combined daily limit of 15 and a combined possession limit of 45 for all three species.
Missouri Department of Conservation offers dove hunters of its more than 180 conservation areas around the state that allow dove hunting, including nearly 100 planted in multiple crop fields that attract the popular game birds. Crops include sunflower, corn, millet, wheat, and buckwheat.
Mourning doves, Eurasian collared-doves, and white-winged doves are legal to hunt. Allowing hunting for these three species maintains the integrity of mourning dove populations and provides more hunting opportunities. Mourning doves are found in every county in Missouri, with greatest densities occurring in southeastern counties. The other two dove species have expanded their ranges into Missouri. White-winged doves, native to the southern United States, are found statewide. Eurasian collared-doves have been documented statewide, though their greatest concentrations are in the southeast.
Predictions about dove distributions and numbers are difficult to make prior to the hunting season because dove migration depends upon the weather and food availability. Doves benefit from cultivated areas and are especially abundant in crop fields and weedy areas. Preferred foods include corn, sunflower seeds, and small grains. Doves also eat seeds from pigweed, crotons, panic grasses, foxtails, and ragweed, but sunflowers seem to be the most dependable lure crop. Dove hunting regulations are based upon information from banding programs and roadside, harvest, and wing collection surveys.
Federal Regulations Summary In addition to state regulations, the following federal rules apply to the hunting of migratory game birds. Note: This is only a summary. When state law is different from federal law, hunters must follow the more restrictive law.
No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
- With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.
- From or by means, aid, or use of a sink box or any other type of lowfloating device having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.
- From or by means, aid, or use of any motor vehicle, motor-driven land conveyance, or aircraft of any kind, except that paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance.
- From or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased.
- By the use or aid of live birds as decoys. All live, tame, or captive ducks and geese shall be removed for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, and confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl.
- By the use or aid of recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds.
- By means or aid of any motor-driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird.
- By the aid of baiting (placing grain, salt, or other feed to constitute a lure or attraction), or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. An area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the complete removal of bait. The following do not constitute baited areas or baiting: standing crops or flooded standing crops; standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; lands where seeds have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice; hunting from a blind or other place of concealment that is camouflaged with natural vegetation or vegetation from agricultural crops as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing or scattering of grain. Normal agricultural practices must be conducted in accordance with recommendations of the State Extension Specialists of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — Cooperative Extension Service. A normal agricultural planting is undertaken for the purpose of producing a crop. Waterfowl may not be hunted over freshly planted wildlife food plots where grain or seed has been distributed, scattered, or exposed because these plots are not normal agricultural plantings or normal soil stabilization practices. For doves only, grain or feed distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop on the land where it was grown does not constitute baiting.
Photos courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation - Used By Permission.