Outdoor notes: Dove hunting season opens Sept. 1 in Nebraska
With the annual dove season opener on Sept. 1, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has some reminders for hunters, as well as recommendations for areas to hunt.
Doves are abundant statewide and, with generous bag limits, provide excellent wing-shooting opportunities. Doves may be hunted statewide Sept. 1 – Oct. 30, 2023, with daily bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively. Bag and possession limits are for mourning, white-winged and Eurasian collared-doves in aggregate. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.
Sunflowers, millet and wheat, which generally provide good food sources and dove hunting opportunities, were planted on numerous wildlife management areas earlier this year. For a listing of these “dove fields,” view the 2023 Dove Hunting Fact Sheet at OutdoorNebraska.gov on the “Other small game” webpage.
Drought conditions are affecting many areas of the state; hunters should follow proper safety practices to prevent wildfires.
Preseason scouting is recommended due to changing habitat conditions. All publicly accessible sites throughout the state — including federal, state, conservation partner and private lands enrolled in Game and Parks’ Open Fields and Waters Program — are displayed in the 2023-2024 Public Access Atlas.
Private lands throughout the state also provide excellent hunting opportunities for doves. Hunters are reminded they must obtain landowner permission prior to accessing private lands in Nebraska.
Nebraska residents 16 years and older and all nonresidents are required to have a valid Nebraska small game hunting permit, habitat stamp and Harvest Information Program number. Federal and state migratory bird hunting stamps, or duck stamps, are not required to hunt doves. Shotgun plugs restricting it to no more than three shells also are required.
Hunters who harvest a dove with a leg band should contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at reportband.gov. In addition, randomly selected hunters will be asked to save one wing from each dove during the first week of the season and mail them postage-free to the Service.
Eurasian collared-doves may be harvested between Oct. 31, 2023, and Aug. 31, 2024, with bag and possession limits of 15 and 45, respectively.
Hunters may enter lottery for deer hunting access on the Central Platte
Hunters may enter a lottery to gain deer hunting access to Platte River Recreation Access lands in the Central Platte River Valley, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Fifty-five hunters will be chosen from a random drawing in early September and allowed to hunt deer on designated PRRA lands Nov. 16-19, 2023.
Applications, limited to one per person, will be accepted by mail or drop box through 5 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Game and Parks service center in Kearney. Download an application at OutdoorNebraska.gov; search “PRRA.”
Hunters can apply to hunt three areas but will only receive permission on one area if their name is drawn.
Lottery winners will be notified by Sept. 20. Hunters are required to obtain the appropriate deer permit and habitat stamp in order to hunt.
PRRA lands are lands purchased by the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program for the restoration and maintenance of habitat for whooping cranes, least terns, and piping plovers in the central Platte River Valley. The PRRA program allows limited access to these properties when access will not disturb these species. More information on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program can be found at platteriverprogram.org/good-neighbors.