2017 Dove Season: Rules and Regulations

Nathaniel Gilbert, Hunting Violation Lawyer, on a successful 2016 dove hunt in which both mourning, white wing, and eurasian dove were killed.  Nathaniel is an experienced and avid outdoorsman who brings his hunting expertise into the courtroom when working with hunters accused of hunting violations.  When you consult with Nathaniel about your case, you can be confident you are speaking with a fellow hunter and conservation advocate.

Nathaniel Gilbert, Hunting Violation Lawyer, on a successful 2016 dove hunt in which both mourning, white wing, and eurasian dove were killed.  Nathaniel is an experienced and avid outdoorsman who brings his hunting expertise into the courtroom when working with hunters accused of hunting violations.  When you consult with Nathaniel about your case, you can be confident you are speaking with a fellow hunter and conservation advocate.

In This Post:

  1. Season Dates and Daily Bag Limits
  2. Baiting of Doves and Migratory Game Birds
  3. 10 Day Rule
  4. Tagging of Doves

September 1st marks the opening of the 2017 Colorado dove season.  For many, this is the first hunting season for fall and means shaking off the dust and fine tuning your alarm clock for later seasons.  It is no coincidence this is when a lot of mistakes are made in the field.  Forgetting your shells (or even your gun) is bad enough, but all too often many hunters forget laws and regulations put in place by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and end up starting out the season with a hunting violation.  No one likes to think that they’ll end up with a ticket for a mistake and talking to an attorney about it, but it happens.  Here are some regulations to make sure you remember when the doves start flying.

Season: September 1,2017-November 29, 2017

Mourning/Whitewing Dove Daily Limit: 15 (in aggregate of either species)

Possession Limit: 45 (in aggregate)

Doves are Migratory Game Birds

Migratory game birds can only be hunted under special regulations.  This means that hunting doves is different than hunting for quail or pheasant and is much more regulated. 

Doves May Not Be Hunted Over Bait

Doves may not be hunted over bait.  Baiting is defined as: the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could lure or attract migratory game birds to, on, or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them. A baited area is any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds.

Legal hunting areas for dove include:

  • Lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural operations, which include normal agricultural harvestings, normal agricultural postharvest manipulations, or normal agricultural practices.
  • Lands planted by means of top-sowing or aerial seeding where seeds have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, a planting for agricultural soil erosion control, or a planting for post-mining land reclamation.
  • Lands or areas where grain or feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown. Standing crops.
  • Lands planted as wildlife food plots, provided the seed is planted in a manner consistent with Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service recommendations for the planting of wildlife food plots. In states without Cooperative Extension Service recommendations for the planting of food plots, the seed must be planted in accordance with Extension Service guidelines for producing a crop.
  • Lands planted as pasture improvements or for the purpose of grazing livestock. (The Fish and Wildlife Service will not make a distinction between agricultural fields planted with the intent to gather a crop and those planted without such intent provided the planting is carried out in a manner consistent with the recommendations of State Extension Specialists).
  • Standing or manipulated natural vegetation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, provided your use of such vegetation does not expose, deposit, distribute or scatter grain or other feed. You should be aware that seeds or grains from such vegetation could create a baited area.
From Left to Right, Mourning, Eurasian, and White Wing Dove.  

From Left to Right, Mourning, Eurasian, and White Wing Dove.  

What is the 10 Day Rule?

The “10 Day Rule” applies to baited areas for dove hunting.  The 10 Day rule means that, essentially, the bait must be entirely removed from the area for 10 days prior to that area being hunted.

Doves Must Be Tagged If Left

It is illegal to leave migratory birds of any kind anywhere besides your home or with someone else for picking, cleaning, processing, permanent or temporary storage, or taxidermy without having a tag attached to the doves.  If you leave your birds somewhere other than those places without a tag identifying those birds as yours, you run the risk of being cited by either a federal game warden or state wildlife officer.  The tag MUST include: signature, address, total number and species of birds, date of kill, and your hunting license number.  For more on tagging, see Nathaniel Gilbert's article on tagging of waterfowl.

When you are out dove hunting this fall, try to remember some of these lesser known rules regarding dove hunting in Colorado.  Hopefully, you will never need the assistance of an attorney, but know that you will always have an ally.  Nathaniel Gilbert is a hunting violation attorney in Colorado and Kansas and can help when things go wrong on your hunt.  Tickets for hunting violations can add up quickly and have a lasting impact on your ability to hunt and fish in the future, so don’t delay in consulting with an experienced hunting attorney on your rights and defenses.