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How Does Your State Handle Growing Numbers of Collared Doves?

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September 06, 2011

How Does Your State Handle Growing Numbers of Collared Doves?

By Chad Love

Last Thursday was the dove opener in my home state, which meant I spent most of the day sitting at the base of prairie windmill baking my noodle in the 106-degree heat and reminding myself with each passing bird how little I practiced on the clays this summer. It took me a little while to limber up, but once the doves really started flying I got into that old familiar cadence my friends know so well: Bam. Bam. Curse. Bam. Bam. Curse. Look at shotgun in disbelief. Bam. Bam. Curse. And so on, ad infinitum, or at least until I run out of shells.

But on toward evening, with my shotgun's barrels glowing cherry red, a K2-sized pile of smoking hulls at my feet, and a pitifully light game bag on my back, I spied a pair of huge doves winging their way toward my stock tank. Inexplicably, I managed to hit both of them and they fell to the earth with the kind of audible thud you just don’t get from a mourning dove. I had just shot my first-ever non-native invasive upland bird (pheasants, huns and chukars notwithstanding), the Eurasian collared dove. When I went to pick them up (remember, the dog stayed home) I was impressed with how much larger they are (damn near pigeon-sized) than a native mourning or whitewing dove.

How did this bird, a native of Europe and Asia, and one that was never officially introduced as a game species, meet its end on a dusty southern plains stock tank? Apparently the collared dove was purposely introduced to the Bahamas sometime in the 1970s, and from there it hopped over to Florida, or, as I like to call it, the Ellis Island of invasive species. Then it began a slow, but inexorable march west. Ten years ago, at least in these parts, collared doves were mostly a bird of the urbs and burbs. They were a novelty at backyard feeders and you'd rarely see them away from towns. But no more. In the past few years they've begun showing up in hunters' bags more and more often. Last year, on a Kansas pheasant hunt, I saw literally hundreds of them around grain elevators and feed fields.

And so I wasn't totally surprised at finally shooting a collared dove in the wild. No one really knows yet what impact - if any - the spread of collared doves will have on native dove species, but some states aren't waiting around to find out. In my home state of Oklahoma you can shoot as many collared doves as you want, no limit, while in other states collared doves do count toward the dove limit.

So with that in mind, how has your dove season gone so far? Anyone shot any collared dove? What's the limit (or lack thereof) in your state?

Comments (24)

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from chargeaway wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here in AZ they have an unlimited year round collared dove season. So far I have only shot two of them this year. I have not really seen many of them.

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

They showed up in my large yard about three years ago here in central Arizona. I never would have put the words "agressive" and "dove" together, but that is exactly what these Asian doves are. We typically had about 12 mourning dove nests in my yard each year. We are now down to zero. This past May we witnessed one of these huge Asian doves (that's what we call them here) harass a mourning dove building a nest outside our kitchen window. After several days of this, the mourning dove moved on to parts unknown. The remains of the nest were pulled apart and dropped to the ground, presumably by the Asian dove that had been bothering her.

Beyond that, these Asian doves leave huge droppings behind on everything! They are prolific eaters!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Colorado, you can shoot them year round as of last dove season, but we have not seen any hunters out our way going after them outside of the season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from marlin1 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Im from AZ.to and I have got only one in 3 years. But I herd there is a lot in Wickenburg.Thay are a lot of fun to shoot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ngonseth wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Pretty sure you can shoot them year round, no limit, in SD.

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from lonewolf20 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

i know here in ky, they are not open year round, but they do not add to the 15 bird limit on mourning dove. you can shoot as many as you want as long as it is in season.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

South Dakota has the right idea. Invasives that were not introduced by the government should be open to hunting whenever and as much as possible. Feral hogs are a prime example. I was totally disgusted with California putting the dang things on a tag and season basis (and the tags aren't cheap!). Unlike collared doves, hogs are a known terrible environmental and agricultural problem. As long as a person has a hunting license of any sort they should be allowed to shoot as many dumpster species like collared doves and hogs as they want whenever they want. And if the hunters catch any of those bucket biologists transplanting game illegally, put them in the sights too! I feel very strongly about invasive species. We are on the verge of losing all the ash trees in North America (five species and billions of trees) to emerald ash borer. Tell me you don't think that isn't going to change the environment, our hunting & fishing, even the weather patterns! Leave your firewood home when you go camping and don't take any of it (dead or alive, big or small) out of the area where you have gathered it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nic Meador wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Oklahoma there's an unlimited bag limit, as long as there's a fully feathered wing. They do like to hang around farm houses and grain silos.

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from FSU70 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In South Carolina they don't count against your limit. We shoot them just like the mourning dove. I was in Fort Lauderdale this summer and I was amazed at the number of Collared doves I saw. They are prolific and like all invasive species will have and effect on our native doves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from billerooo wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Out of five limits of doves in north central Oklahoma we only had one collared dove. I was rather disappointed - I thought there would be more of them since there was no bag limit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kwackr wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Alabama, they do not count toward the limit. We kill lots of them if the field is near human development like neighborhoods and industrial areas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

There's no limit on the Eurasians. I usually don't see them in rural areas where I hunt in SE GA, but they have replaced park pigeons as the dominant winged rat in my large town.

This opening day, half of my shooting was bam, bam, curse, repeat. The other half was bam, bam, bam, curse. The later was when I was using my M37 28 gauge; prior, the 20 gauge 686. The significant difference was burning through shells quicker with the later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Are they edible? How do they taste? Even if they an invasive species, I'd prefer to be able to make use of them if I'm goinng to kill them.

What we really need is a Federal license, for lack of a better word, that specifically allows one to gun down the menace of feral cats without fear of harassment by state and local government prosecution for doing so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Gees, I should also have mentioned no one should be buying ash trees for landscaping anymore. For one thing, they might be infected with ash borer (that's how the infestation spread from Ohio to Virginia). Also, it would likely be a waste of money since the trees would probably die in the near future anyway.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Texas sees them as invasive species; no closed season, no bag limit, just leave feathers on for I.D. Obviously, these birds are primarily "in town", and as such not available to shotgunners. I saw none during the first few days of red-hot morning and whitewing dove shooting in southeast Texas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bushwackers wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

In Iowa they count against your limit,,but ive never seen one outside of town...Its our first dove season& theyve changed the rules so many times in the last month that nobody really knows what leagle & whats not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishrmn100 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I'm in northern Ca. I first saw them about two years ago. I didn't know what the heck they were. Looked like pigeons to me, but strange. I had a small flock sitting out back on my place. Had to get the binoculars to get a good look at them. I researched and came up with the name Turtle dove. I contacted Fish & Game and was told they were Eurasion collared doves and an invasive species.
All I know is that the mourning doves have disappeared from my place.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

As mentioned by a previous poster, collard doves are not regulated in Georgia. DNR would like to see them exterminated (like the starling and English sparrow), but that probably won't happen. As also mentioned, their greater size is making it difficult for the mourning dove population. I have not killed one in the field yet. They appear to still be found in localized areas. I would welcome them on a dove hunt. No limit and a bigger target! I need all the help I can get. They eat just like a regular dove, only better - more breast meat, or at least that is what I have been told by some of the game agents.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from utbrowningman wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

They showed up at my dove hunting grounds last year here in Utah. They also stayed through the winter. No permit, no limit, can be hunted year round.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

It is good to see some municipalities starting to wake up to the benefits of hunting in the city limits. My town (110,000) is finally thinking about allowing some cull hunting for deer. A couple of months ago a lady dodged a buck and hit a power pole leaving a major part of the business district without electricity for most of the day. That was a wakeup call! Didn't phase the city fathers much when that guy with a family was killed a couple of years ago when he clobbered a moose in the middle of town near the university. But when it's businessmen's $$$ .... well, now something has to be done!

We have a very active pigeon racing club here (a lot of first and second generation European immigrants in town, particularly Italians) and I know they would very much like to see something done to reduce the "winged-rat" feral pigeon problem. Me too! North Bay allows some hunting in the city limits with bows. I really can't see why bows, .410 shotgun, or pellet gun (air powered) couldn't be allowed in city parks, viaducts, etc. to safely get rid of pigeons and Canada geese. Not only could the city get rid of a huge health hazard but they could also MAKE MONEY IN THE PROCESS selling special licenses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dwain wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Some one mentioned earlier a permit to kill feral cats.That is a great idea!!In the 50s when I was a teen living on a farm My brother and I were told by a local Game Warden that We could kill any cat over 1/3 mile from a farm building as they destroyed so many birds including quail and young pheasants.He said He did when He had the chance and at that time it was legal to shoot non game off the road.
Too many people do not understand what damage feral or non native animals do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

What in the sam hill is so difficult about hitting a mourning dove? Unless you are just shooting outside your shotgun's capable range, it just ain't that hard,
bam, bam, curse? Whatever. Second season doves in December and January can be a different story. Heavily feathered and veteran fliers, one had best tighten chokes and up shot size to #7 1/2's.
Anyway, good luck with your inclination to improve your proficiency on opening day doves, Chad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Our state has a no limit year around policy.They are great on the plate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

from RES1956 wrote 15 hours 16 min ago
What in the sam hill is so difficult about hitting a mourning dove? Unless you are just shooting outside your shotgun's capable range, it just ain't that hard

Heh, heh. That's a good one!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

South Dakota has the right idea. Invasives that were not introduced by the government should be open to hunting whenever and as much as possible. Feral hogs are a prime example. I was totally disgusted with California putting the dang things on a tag and season basis (and the tags aren't cheap!). Unlike collared doves, hogs are a known terrible environmental and agricultural problem. As long as a person has a hunting license of any sort they should be allowed to shoot as many dumpster species like collared doves and hogs as they want whenever they want. And if the hunters catch any of those bucket biologists transplanting game illegally, put them in the sights too! I feel very strongly about invasive species. We are on the verge of losing all the ash trees in North America (five species and billions of trees) to emerald ash borer. Tell me you don't think that isn't going to change the environment, our hunting & fishing, even the weather patterns! Leave your firewood home when you go camping and don't take any of it (dead or alive, big or small) out of the area where you have gathered it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chargeaway wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Here in AZ they have an unlimited year round collared dove season. So far I have only shot two of them this year. I have not really seen many of them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

They showed up in my large yard about three years ago here in central Arizona. I never would have put the words "agressive" and "dove" together, but that is exactly what these Asian doves are. We typically had about 12 mourning dove nests in my yard each year. We are now down to zero. This past May we witnessed one of these huge Asian doves (that's what we call them here) harass a mourning dove building a nest outside our kitchen window. After several days of this, the mourning dove moved on to parts unknown. The remains of the nest were pulled apart and dropped to the ground, presumably by the Asian dove that had been bothering her.

Beyond that, these Asian doves leave huge droppings behind on everything! They are prolific eaters!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Colorado, you can shoot them year round as of last dove season, but we have not seen any hunters out our way going after them outside of the season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from marlin1 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Im from AZ.to and I have got only one in 3 years. But I herd there is a lot in Wickenburg.Thay are a lot of fun to shoot.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ngonseth wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Pretty sure you can shoot them year round, no limit, in SD.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lonewolf20 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

i know here in ky, they are not open year round, but they do not add to the 15 bird limit on mourning dove. you can shoot as many as you want as long as it is in season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nic Meador wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Oklahoma there's an unlimited bag limit, as long as there's a fully feathered wing. They do like to hang around farm houses and grain silos.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In South Carolina they don't count against your limit. We shoot them just like the mourning dove. I was in Fort Lauderdale this summer and I was amazed at the number of Collared doves I saw. They are prolific and like all invasive species will have and effect on our native doves.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from billerooo wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Out of five limits of doves in north central Oklahoma we only had one collared dove. I was rather disappointed - I thought there would be more of them since there was no bag limit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kwackr wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

In Alabama, they do not count toward the limit. We kill lots of them if the field is near human development like neighborhoods and industrial areas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

There's no limit on the Eurasians. I usually don't see them in rural areas where I hunt in SE GA, but they have replaced park pigeons as the dominant winged rat in my large town.

This opening day, half of my shooting was bam, bam, curse, repeat. The other half was bam, bam, bam, curse. The later was when I was using my M37 28 gauge; prior, the 20 gauge 686. The significant difference was burning through shells quicker with the later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Are they edible? How do they taste? Even if they an invasive species, I'd prefer to be able to make use of them if I'm goinng to kill them.

What we really need is a Federal license, for lack of a better word, that specifically allows one to gun down the menace of feral cats without fear of harassment by state and local government prosecution for doing so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Gees, I should also have mentioned no one should be buying ash trees for landscaping anymore. For one thing, they might be infected with ash borer (that's how the infestation spread from Ohio to Virginia). Also, it would likely be a waste of money since the trees would probably die in the near future anyway.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Texas sees them as invasive species; no closed season, no bag limit, just leave feathers on for I.D. Obviously, these birds are primarily "in town", and as such not available to shotgunners. I saw none during the first few days of red-hot morning and whitewing dove shooting in southeast Texas.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bushwackers wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

In Iowa they count against your limit,,but ive never seen one outside of town...Its our first dove season& theyve changed the rules so many times in the last month that nobody really knows what leagle & whats not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fishrmn100 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

I'm in northern Ca. I first saw them about two years ago. I didn't know what the heck they were. Looked like pigeons to me, but strange. I had a small flock sitting out back on my place. Had to get the binoculars to get a good look at them. I researched and came up with the name Turtle dove. I contacted Fish & Game and was told they were Eurasion collared doves and an invasive species.
All I know is that the mourning doves have disappeared from my place.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tigerbeetle wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

As mentioned by a previous poster, collard doves are not regulated in Georgia. DNR would like to see them exterminated (like the starling and English sparrow), but that probably won't happen. As also mentioned, their greater size is making it difficult for the mourning dove population. I have not killed one in the field yet. They appear to still be found in localized areas. I would welcome them on a dove hunt. No limit and a bigger target! I need all the help I can get. They eat just like a regular dove, only better - more breast meat, or at least that is what I have been told by some of the game agents.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from utbrowningman wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

They showed up at my dove hunting grounds last year here in Utah. They also stayed through the winter. No permit, no limit, can be hunted year round.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

It is good to see some municipalities starting to wake up to the benefits of hunting in the city limits. My town (110,000) is finally thinking about allowing some cull hunting for deer. A couple of months ago a lady dodged a buck and hit a power pole leaving a major part of the business district without electricity for most of the day. That was a wakeup call! Didn't phase the city fathers much when that guy with a family was killed a couple of years ago when he clobbered a moose in the middle of town near the university. But when it's businessmen's $$$ .... well, now something has to be done!

We have a very active pigeon racing club here (a lot of first and second generation European immigrants in town, particularly Italians) and I know they would very much like to see something done to reduce the "winged-rat" feral pigeon problem. Me too! North Bay allows some hunting in the city limits with bows. I really can't see why bows, .410 shotgun, or pellet gun (air powered) couldn't be allowed in city parks, viaducts, etc. to safely get rid of pigeons and Canada geese. Not only could the city get rid of a huge health hazard but they could also MAKE MONEY IN THE PROCESS selling special licenses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dwain wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Some one mentioned earlier a permit to kill feral cats.That is a great idea!!In the 50s when I was a teen living on a farm My brother and I were told by a local Game Warden that We could kill any cat over 1/3 mile from a farm building as they destroyed so many birds including quail and young pheasants.He said He did when He had the chance and at that time it was legal to shoot non game off the road.
Too many people do not understand what damage feral or non native animals do.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

What in the sam hill is so difficult about hitting a mourning dove? Unless you are just shooting outside your shotgun's capable range, it just ain't that hard,
bam, bam, curse? Whatever. Second season doves in December and January can be a different story. Heavily feathered and veteran fliers, one had best tighten chokes and up shot size to #7 1/2's.
Anyway, good luck with your inclination to improve your proficiency on opening day doves, Chad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JOHN ANDERSON wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

Our state has a no limit year around policy.They are great on the plate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dogwood wrote 2 years 31 weeks ago

from RES1956 wrote 15 hours 16 min ago
What in the sam hill is so difficult about hitting a mourning dove? Unless you are just shooting outside your shotgun's capable range, it just ain't that hard

Heh, heh. That's a good one!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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