Dove hunting, which kicked off Saturday September 2, officially opens the 2023-24 hunting seasons in Louisiana
Hunters have had a tough time this summer. With the lingering drought and daily temperatures 100 degrees and above for days, deer hunters needed to be preparing food plots and getting stands set up and ready. Bow season kicks off in less than a month but it’s just been too blasted hot to do what needs to be done.
The nice showers and cool down last weekend will help immensely. In the meantime, hunting seasons officially began Saturday September 2 as dove season kicked off.
The first of the three-way split seasons opened in the North Zone (see wildlife and fisheries regulations as to the location of the line separating North from South zones) September 2 giving hunters a long Labor Day weekend to engage in the year’s first hunting season.
I did some research on these birds and found some interesting things about doves that inhabit Louisiana. Did you know there are seven sub-species of doves in our state?
The most common one, the Mourning dove; they can be so difficult to hit. The tendency is to frequently hit where they recently were; their darting, diving, twisting maneuvers and ability to turn on the after-burners result in more mourning doves escaping the barrage of shots than those ending up on the grill. Daily bag limit is 15.
A second dove, much more uncommon up this way than mourning doves, is the White-winged dove, a bird much more common in Texas and states to the west than here. I saw my first one a couple of seasons ago when a hunter on the field I was hunting downed one. These birds are legal to take with the same regulations as mourning doves; daily bag limit is 15.
There are two sub-species of doves in Louisiana that have no daily bag limit. However there is one caveat – one fully feathered wing and the head must remain attached to the bird after dressing and cleaning. Otherwise, they become part of the 15 bird daily limit.
The most common of these no-limit birds is the Eurasian Collared dove. They are larger than mourning doves and are lighter in color. The most telling feature is a dark ring around the bird’s neck. Another no-limit dove is the Ringed Turtle dove. These look similar to a slightly smaller and lighter colored version of the Eurasian Collared dove but are uncommon.
Louisiana has two species of doves that are protected; there is no season on the Common Ground Dove and the Inca Dove.
The Common Ground dove is the smallest of the Louisiana seven and is one you’re not likely to see; there have been no reported sightings in north-central Louisiana. The population of the Inca dove is increasing over the state; I have seen these beautiful birds at my feeders on several occasions. Their most telling feature is a layer of feathers that appear more like small scales than feathers.
The seventh species is one you’re not likely to consider a species of dove. You see them around town, sitting on the top of buildings or on phone wires. We know them as pigeons but technically, they’re Rock doves. These birds are not protected and can be taken anytime year round. Just don’t go walking down Trenton St. with your shotgun plunking pigeons off the roof of tall buildings. The authorities might not find that amusing.
Keep it legal, folks. You can grow crops and then manipulate them so that seeds that are grown in the field are more available to doves. You can bush-hog crops to knock down seeds, which is legal. Where you get in trouble is adding seeds to a dove field that didn’t grow there or harvesting grain and return some to the field. That’s a big no-no and not a good way to get your name in the paper.
Have fun, be safe, stay within the boundaries of the law and enjoy Louisiana’s first hunting season of the year. After a day of dove hunting, hook up the bush hog and head for the deer lease without risking heat stroke.
BLACK BAYOU – A few bream and crappie have been biting early mornings before water temp heats up. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE –Bass fishing continues to be fair with spinners with trailers and flipping jigs around the brush working best. A few good ones up to 9 pounds reported. The crappie are scattered around the brush. Bream have slowed. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water level continues to be dropping. Bass are best fishing in the cuts where there is a bit of current. Topwater lures, crank baits and spinners best. Crappie are fair in the river lakes on shiners or jigs. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass have been fair to good early mornings on topwater lures with square bill crank baits, spinners and soft plastics working best later. Some bass are starting to school and hitting shad imitations. Crappie have been best where water temperatures are cooler with areas around and under boat docks working best on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow. Catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Striper fishing has improved fishing shad imitation lures in the coves early mornings or late afternoons. Bream fishing has been slow. Crappie have been best at night fishing under the lights while the bass have been best early mornings on topwater lures and at night on dark plastic worms and spinner baits. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
CANEY LAKE – Bass have been fair to good early mornings on topwater lures with square bill crank baits, spinners and soft plastics working best later. Some bass are starting to school and hitting shad imitations. Crappie have been best where water temperatures are cooler with areas around and under boat docks working best on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Fishing for catfish has improved while other species ae slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water level is falling with few folks fishing because of the heat and fishing overall is slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.