On Thursday, September 1, many Iowa hunters will be up early to head to the field edges for Dove Hunting Season Opening Day.

Photo Gallery: Keith B. via Canva
Photo Gallery: Keith B. via Canva

Dove hunting is fast-paced and fun and can be done by nearly everyone, regardless of skill level. Nor does it require expensive equipment to participate, only clothes that blend into the environment, a bucket, and plenty of shotgun shells. There's sure to be a lot of hunting action with a large population of doves in Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides a list of wildlife areas at www.iowadnr.gov/doves. It shows where dove plots were planted and identify the access point nearest the property. Hunters are also encouraged to do preseason scouting to see if the sunflower planting was successful, stunted, or damaged by any summer heat waves or hail storms.

It's recommended that hunters check the condition of the dove field a day or two in advance of the season's start and observe how the doves use the space.

Dove plots get busy on opening day, and hunters are encouraged to look out for one another, pick up spent shell casings, and leave the fields in good condition. 

Iowa's Dove season lasts from September 1 to November 29, shooting hours one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 (mourning or Eurasian collared) with a possession limit of 30.

The DNR reminds hunters that their guns must be plugged to hold no more than three shells. In addition, if hunting in public areas north of I-80, hunters should check to see if a nontoxic shot is required. 

Visit the Iowa online Hunting Atlas to identify all county, state, and federal land open to hunting, zone information, and nontoxic shot requirements.

All Iowa dove hunters are required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). It's free, and the information is used to help determine participation and harvest.

The DNR has detailed instructions on registering for HIP online at www.iowadnr.gov/waterfowl.

After registering, hunters need to keep the confirmation number. Print an updated copy, or take a screenshot of the confirmation. Then keep it on your phone for proof of registration. A confirmation number helps the DNR comply with a federal requirement to track migratory bird hunters better.

If you're having trouble, call the DNR customer service number, and their staff will help get you registered. The DNR customer service number is 515-725-8200.



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