Dove season is just around the corner and starts on the September 1st and shooting hours start at one half hour prior to sunrise and end at sunset. 15 Mourning, Eurasian Collared, and White-Winged Doves may be taken during the hunting day. Twice the daily limit may be kept in possession. Permits which are needed to dove hunt are a small game permit and a migratory bird hunting permit. There are several exemptions to the small game permit, such as hunting on your own property, being of the age of 65 or older, and being under the age of 16. A migratory bird permit is not needed for hunters under the age of 16. Hunters under the age of 16 needs to be in the immediate presence of properly licensed hunter or have hunter certification on their person while hunting. Baiting during dove hunting is illegal. It is not considered baiting to manipulate crops or plants which have grown at the location which is going to be hunted. It is considered baiting to add any additional food source to the area which is going to be hunted or to attract game to the area which is going to be hunted. Scattering wheat onto a dove field would be an example of this practice. Please remember to be safe while dove hunting and remember where the other hunters are and do not shoot level to the ground if at all possible. If you hunt on a Missouri Department of Conservation Area, please check to see if the area is a nontoxic shot area prior to hunting the area.
Also on September 1st, snipe, rail, and woodcock seasons open. Eight snipe, 25, rails, and three woodcocks may be taken per day. Shooting hours begin at one half hour prior to sunrise and end at sunset. As with any bird or wildlife, if you find a band on the bird, please report the band as the information obtained from the harvest is important information for the regulation and study of the species which the band was attached to. Also some bands may have an award amount attached to the band for the report. Permits needed are the same as those needed to dove hunt.
September 1st also marks a day for duck hunters who hunt Missouri Department of Conservation waterfowl areas to sign up for reservations. Hunters can go to the MDC website at Http://www.missouriconservation.org and search for waterfowl reservations.
Teal season will be opening on September 8th and last until September 23rd. Shooting hours are sunrise to sunset, so be mindful of the hunters shooting at doves a half hour earlier and watch the clock to not shoot early. You may take four blue winged, green winged and cinnamon teal in the aggregate daily and have eight in the possession limit.
Nontoxic shot is required. Crops may not have been manipulated for any type of waterfowl under federal regulations. In addition to the permits needed to dove hunt, you need a federal duck stamp to teal hunt if you are age 16 and above.
Please remember if you are outdoors to be mindful of the current drought conditions. MDC areas have a campfire bans in place and small embers such as cigarette butts which have not been properly extinguished can cause a wildfire with the current conditions. Until the drought lifts, the fire danger will be high and fires, especially in tall grass will start and spread easily. Please use common sense when using fire in these conditions. If in doubt, don’t start a fire and if you smoke, make sure you butts are completely out when you are done with your cigarette. If a fire starts from your negligence you could be held responsible for the damages it causes.
If you have any wildlife information or questions, please call me, Norman Steelman Audrain County Conservation Agent at 573-473-8000. You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you witness or have information about a wildlife violation. All information and names are kept confidential.