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KY Afield Outdoors: Dove season opens Sept. 1, 2014

Perfect weather conditions portend a great dove season. Click on headline for complete story with photo(s)
Next earlier KY Afield Outdoors Article: Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Choosing a first shotgun

By Lee McClellan, Associate Editor
Kentucky Afield Outdoors magazine, KY Fish & Wildlife

FRANKFORT, KY - The diminishing daylight hours, foggy mornings and slightly different angle of the daytime sun informs hunters the best time of year is upon us. Dove season opens on Labor Day, Monday, September 1 statewide.

This season, hunters have an additional 20 days to pursue doves, with most of those days scheduled for the last two segments of the season. The opening segment of dove season closes October 26. Dove season opens again November 27 and closes December 7, 2014. The third segment opens December 20, 2014, and closes January 11, 2015.

"The crops are on time and on schedule and everything is teed up and ready for dove season," said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "The outlook for dove season is positive. The habitat is looking really good."

Pritchert reports seeing early silage and tobacco harvest, which is a good sign for the upcoming season. "The one negative may be with the habitat so abundant, birds may be less likely to concentrate," he said. "Whenever you have an abundance of habitat, the birds could spread out after opening day to areas undisturbed by hunting."

The public dove hunting fields on both private lands and on department wildlife management areas are in great shape for the upcoming season, Pritchert said. Fields on private land open to public hunting on September 1 and close September 2, 2014, through September 5, 2014, and open again on September 6 (fields hosting mentor/youth dove hunts don't open to public hunting until September 6). Dove fields on wildlife management areas open to public hunting September 1, but those hosting mentor/youth hunts open to public hunting September 2. All of the public dove fields on private lands close to hunting October 24.

Consult the 2014-2015 Kentucky Dove Hunting Guide available online at for a list of public dove fields. Printed versions of the guide will be available in a few days wherever hunting licenses are sold.

Scout the dove fields you plan to hunt, whether public or private, before the season. Study how doves enter the field. "Look for any tree lines, power lines, fence lines or brush lines doves are using for flyways," Pritchert said. "Position yourself along those flight lines. Place your back to the sun so you are not looking into it."

Pritchert also recommends finding a position in the dove field with some sort of backdrop. "You don't want to be silhouetted on an open hillside," he said. "Find cover or a rise behind you."

Some dove hunters possess a cavalier approach to hunting on opening day and wear bright shirts and hats with unnatural colors. "Always wear subdued clothing such as greens, browns or camouflage, even on opening day," Pritchert said. "Avoid wearing white, red, yellow or chartreuse. You are not trying to attract a bass to hit a spinnerbait with your clothing. You want concealment."

A 12 or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with shotshells containing No. 7

This story was posted on 2014-08-15 03:17:55
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Dove Hunting Season opens September 1, 2014, statewide

2014-08-15 - Franklin Co., KY - Photo by Lee McClellan, KY Afield Outdoors.
Rick and Clinton Hill await doves
at a field in Franklin County a few years ago. The coming dove season looks highly promising after perfect weather conditions placed habitat across Kentucky in great shape. Dove season opens on Labor Day, September 1, 2014, statewide.

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