The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds the public that dove hunting season opening day is Labor Day, Sept. 2.
“This season’s opening has a couple of differences from previous years,” said Kate Pipkin, the Commission’s rules biologist. “Opening day is a Monday, not the traditional first Saturday of September. That’s because the first Saturday of the month this year is Sept. 7. Rather than wait, the Commission went with the earliest possible date allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Shooting hours for the entire season, including opening day, begin a half-hour before sunrise. Prior to 2012, shooting hours for opening day began at noon.
This also is the first year that the Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permit will be in effect, allowing newcomers a convenient and safe way to try the sport, in the company of an experienced hunter.
“Share the heritage and take a new hunter with you,” said Travis Casper, the Commission’s Hunter Education Program coordinator. “Dove hunting is such a social, group-oriented activity and one of the most popular forms of hunting in the state. If dove hunting is something you enjoy, you should consider sharing the experience.”
The Hunter Heritage Apprentice Permit allows someone to purchase a hunting license without first having completed hunter education, then go hunting, as long as the apprentice is within sight and hearing distance of an accompanying licensed hunter, at least 18 years old, who serves as mentor.
The 2013-14 season for mourning and white-winged dove is Sept. 2 – Oct. 5; Nov. 25 – Nov. 30; and Dec. 13 – Jan. 11. Daily bag limit is 15 and possession limit is 45. Shooting hours are half-hour before sunrise to sunset.
The Commission’s Home From The Hunt™ campaign encourages hunters to be safe and responsible in the field, with the following recommendations:
- When hunting in a group, adhere to established zones of fire.
- Never shoot at low-flying birds and alert others when a bird is too low for a safe shot.
- Take time prior to hunting to walk the field and inspect the area for bait.
- Never place decoys on utility lines, which is trespassing and risks electrical shock.
- Don’t combine game bags, which is a hunting regulations violation.
All hunters must follow applicable licensing requirements and hunting regulations. It is an individual hunter’s responsibility to know the area being hunted. Don’t hunt over baited fields. According to state regulations, the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain or other feed that could serve as a lure for migratory game can constitute a baited area. Because birds often return to a feeding area even after the food source is exhausted, hunting within 10 days after complete disappearance of feed from a baited area is illegal.
For more information on hunting seasons, Hunting Heritage Apprentice Permits and the Hunter Education Program, go to www.ncwildlife.org.