Arizona’s dove season is rapidly approaching, and although it won’t be a banner year, hunters can expect some of the best dove hunting in the nation for the state’s Saturday through Sept. 15 early season and Nov. 23 to Jan. 6, 2008, late season hunts.
Once again, it will be half-day hunts (mornings) for adult hunters in the southern zone (desert areas), but youth can hunt all day during the early season. The full-day hunt for juniors allows young hunters to dove hunt after school.
The juniors-only dove hunt at Robbins Butte Wildlife Area is set for Sept. 8-9. The Chandler Rod and Gun Club will be providing a pancake and sausage breakfast each morning following the junior dove hunt.
Dove hunters should keep in mind Arizona is cooperating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in collecting mourning dove wings from hunters this year.
Randomly selected hunters will be asked to save one wing from each dove during the first week of the season and mail the wings — postage free — to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunters in the field may also be contacted and asked to contribute wings.
Data from the wings will be used to estimate annual productivity of the dove population and in helping establish hunting regulations.
Don’t forget dove and band-tailed pigeon (including coots, snipe, and common moorhens) hunters ages 16 and older must purchase a $4.50 Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp for the 2007-2008 season. The stamp validates a hunting license for the federal Harvest Information Program.
Visit www.azgfd.gov to view the 2007-08 dove and band-tailed pigeon regulations.
Widely distributed, the dove is the most numerous game bird in our land, and if you love barrel-heating action, the September opener is the day for you.
There are certain steps that successful hunters take to insure limits, says Jerry Lange of Phoenix, outdoor writer and columnist.
One is scouting prior to your hunt. It is more important than ever in these days of rapid urban growth and ever-changing land status. Lange recommends you look for roosting sites in salt cedar thickets, mesquite stands, and citrus groves — anywhere there is dense vegetation near food and water sources.
After you’ve found good concentrations of birds, study their flight patterns so you can position yourself under them on opening day. You’ll discover that doves usually take fairly fixed routes to and from watering and feeding areas. When they are converging on a field from all directions, they are coming from different roosting sites.
Lange suggests spending some time observing them before opening day will help you pick out flight paths and, on occasion, you can position yourself where flights intersect.
Fishing hot spot
Lake Pleasant: If you still haven’t tried this lake’s striper fishing, you’re missing a great opportunity. Great reports keep rolling in from anglers catching dozens of hard-fishing striped bass. A new state record striper was caught here recently. Striper fishing is good at night near the marina tires, the intakes, or in the northern coves at night under lights, especially over submerged creek channels. There is a good topwater bite at first light for stripers, whites and largemouth, but sometimes the best bite occurs in the late morning. The bite at first light is often inside the coves. The late-morning bite is typically along the major points, islands and reefs of the main lake. For a complete fishing report from the Arizona Game & Fish Dept., go to www.eastvalleytribune.com.
P.O. Box 859, Mesa, AZ 85211