FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Sept. 1 marks the opening of dove hunting season in California. There are actually two hunt periods, the first runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 15.
The second is Nov. 14 through Dec. 28.
Fresno County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Tony Botti says the sound of gunshots comes as a surprise to many. “Even if you’ve lived here a number of years you sometimes forget where you are in the calendar and realize, ‘oh it is dove hunting season.’ Then there’s other people who are new to the area and don’t realize this occurs in September. They do call it in to our dispatchers. It’s not a problem. We usually just educate people this is probably what you’re hearing but we will send a car out just to make sure that it is that.”
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Upland Game Bird Biologist Ben Lewis says, “It’s historically always been Sept. 1 and is a time period based off of the life cycle of the dove. So we don’t want to do it during the breeding season. We want to do it after the birds have fledged and are self-sufficient. So all the young birds are now at the point where they’re adults.”
Licenses may be obtained through the Department of Fish and Wildlife. https://wildlife.ca.gov/
Lewis says, “Males have a little bit of incandescence and pink rosy chest and a blue nape on their head and neck. … Even if you don’t recognize it as a dove it’s almost guaranteed in the evening time you’ve heard the cooing of a dove.”
Hunters have a daily limit of 15 birds, though fewer in the case of white-winged doves. This limit recently expanded from 10 because monitoring shows healthy local populations.
Lewis says, “They’re super adaptable to things that change. That’s why they do so well in town and in the country.”
Botti reminds hunters written permission from the landowner is required when hunting on private property. He says, “If you’re within a quarter mile of a city you are not allowed to shoot. These maps that we have on our website they’re a great resource.”
The no-shooting maps are available at https://www.fresnosheriff.org/community/safety/no-shooting-maps.html