Oregon dove season runs through September
By Chuck Giles
9/23/11 -- In Oregon, dove season runs the entire month of September. To hunt, you will need a valid Oregon hunting license and a free Harvest Information Program (HIP) validation. Many doves will leave the state at the first sign of fall weather, so the best hunting is usually early in the season. Cool and rainy days are not good for dove hunting.
Besides state and federal wildlife areas and other public lands, many private lands are open to public hunting, thanks to special Oregon Division of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) programs. Remember, you are responsible for knowing boundaries and regulations for your hunting area and you must get permission to hunt on private lands.
Most wildlife areas and refuges require hunters use and possess only federally approved non-toxic shot. Look for doves around agricultural areas where cereal grains like wheat are being grown. Most doves prefer to stay away from forested areas and high elevations. Good numbers of birds can be found in the west and southern sections of the state, but the majorities of doves are observed in the Columbia Basin and northern Malheur County.
Pre-season scouting is critical for a successful dove hunt. As mentioned above, look around fields where grain is grown. Burned areas are another good spot to scout because the birds find it easier to spot seeds. Doves also perch on fences, trees and power lines. If you consistently have seen perching birds, hunt there.
These grey rockets travel along natural features like fence rows, edges of tree lines and small bluffs or rims. Take up a position near any of these to hunt. Doves also need to drink, of course. Look for water holes, drying ponds, stock tanks and gravel bars in river systems. Focus on these areas particularly if there is feed in the vicinity. Use decoys only in areas you are sure there are birds. This is another reason to pre-scout.
Any shotgun will suffice, but 12 and 20 gauges are the most popular. Use number 8 or 7-1/2 shot. Needless to say, follow all safety rules when hunting:
Keep your firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.
Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
Wear blaze orange clothing.
This is one of the most challenging and enjoyable types of hunting, so get out and use your hunting rights.
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