FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The first day of dove hunting season will begin this Thursday, September 1. 

“I take September 1 off. I haven’t missed a September 1 in over 20 years,” said Justin Watson. 

Watson lives in Reedley and said he’s been hunting since he was a child. 

“I’ve been dove hunting for over 30 years, since I was probably about 4-years-old, I’d go dove hunting with my dad,” he said. 

Watson, along with many other dove hunters throughout Fresno County, will wake up before dawn on Thursday morning to begin hunting.

“At the end of the hunt, you clean your birds and typically, most of the doves we harvest are eaten on the same day,” he said. “Whenever we go hunting we usually barbeque,. And one of the favorite ways to cook them is poppers on the BBQ.”

It will also be a busy morning for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. 

“People who have lived here a while, they expect it but if you’re new to the county and you hear some shotgun blasts going off,” said Tony Botti, PIO with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. “Maybe you just bought a home in the country and you hear some shotgun blasts going off, don’t be alarmed.”

Botti said they received an influx of shots fired calls on September 1.

“We will, we’ll get some calls where people will say, ‘hey, I thought I just heard a gunshot, I don’t know where exactly it’s coming from,’” Botti said. “We can’t automatically assume that it’s related to hunting but tomorrow, 9 times out of 10, maybe even 10 times out of 10, it’s probably going to be related to dove hunting.”

Officials also advise that hunters carry their hunting licenses in the event they are stopped by a deputy.