An estimated 30,000 hunters will be in the field when Iowa’s dove season opens on Saturday.
The dry summer likely created conditions that will benefit dove hunters. Doves eat seeds, like sunflowers, corn and weed seeds, and prefer eating on bare ground.
If looking for a place to hunt, the Iowa DNR has a listing of public hunting areas with food plots for doves online at www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/mdove_plots.pdf.
Even without a dedicated food plot, hunters should look for any area that offers them concealment and small grains or weed seed, water or grit.
Since doves are considered a migratory game bird, hunters will need to have a plug in their gun limiting them to three shells and must register with the Harvest Information Program before they go hunting. Hunters may register online at https://jc.activeoutdoorsolutions.com/ia_customer/app/goHome.do or by calling
Hunters are required to have a valid Iowa small game hunting license and the habitat fee to hunt doves. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 doves with a possession limit of 30.
Iowa’s dove population is similar to last year and doves can be found in all 99 Iowa counties. Dove hunting is a great way to introduce individuals to hunting because it takes place when the weather is nice and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.