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DNR Dove Fields & Early Season Migratory Bird News

Forty-two fields available for public dove hunting Forty-two public dove fields will be available across the state during the 2012-13 season through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Management Area program. A county-by-county list of public dove fields and special youth hunts is available online at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/dove/fields.html or can be obtained by writing: DNR, Attn: Public Dove Fields, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, or by calling (803) 734-3886 in Columbia. The Public Dove Field List is also available at local DNR offices.

The 2012-13 mourning dove season will run as follows: Sept. 1-3 (noon until sunset); Sept. 4-Oct. 6; Nov. 17-24; and Dec. 21-Jan. 15. Legal hunting hours for mourning dove season, except for Sept. 1-3, are from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day.

Dove season traditionally opens on either the first Saturday in September or on Labor Day, whichever comes first. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, seasons for migratory game birds cannot begin before Sept. 1. The state’s mourning dove season is set each year by the DNR Board within a framework of regulations and timetables issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The number of hunters will be limited by a public drawing on five fields, the Oak Lea WMA field in Clarendon County, the Tuomey Fields (2 fields) in Sumter County, the Draper Tract field in York County, and the Pee Dee Station site in Florence County. Applications are available online or by calling (803) 734-3609. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on August 10.

A limited number of openings are available on eight special youth dove hunts scheduled for Abbeville, Anderson, Newberry, Oconee, Orangeburg, Sumter, Union and York counties. Applications for the special youth hunts are also available online, and the deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on August 10. No preregistration or application is required for the youth hunts at Botany Bay Plantation WMA in Charleston County. Applicants for the special youth dove hunts should be aware that adults are not allowed to shoot on any of the special youth dove hunts.

Hunters participating in public dove hunts on DNR Wildlife Management Area dove fields should be aware of special regulations in place on these fields. No entry is allowed on public fields before noon. Hunters will be restricted to 50 shells per hunt on all Wildlife Management Area public dove fields, and shooting hours will end at 6 p.m. on all public fields during the first segment of the South Carolina dove season (Sept. 1-Oct. 6).

Individuals who plan to hunt on public dove fields will need a South Carolina hunting license and a Wildlife Management Area permit. Also, all persons hunting migratory birds (including doves) are required to have a migratory bird permit. Migratory bird permits can be obtained free-of-charge at all hunting and fishing license vendors.

Early-season migratory bird seasons approved by S.C. Natural Resources Board The S.C. Natural Resources Board recently approved migratory bird hunting seasons for mourning doves, marsh hens (rails), woodcock, snipe, moorhens, purple gallinules, and early seasons during September for teal and Canada geese. The 2012-2013 seasons must still meet approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and be published in the Federal Register in order to become final.

For more information, write to Early-Season Migratory Birds, DNR, PO Box 167, Columbia, SC 29202, call (803) 734-3886 in Columbia, or visit the DNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/hunting.html. The annual Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations brochure will be available in early September after the regular duck seasons are finalized.

The 2012-2013 mourning dove season in South Carolina is Sept. 1-3 (noon until sunset); Sept. 4-Oct. 6; Nov. 17-24; and Dec. 21-Jan. 15. Legal hunting hours for mourning dove season, except for Sept. 1-3, are from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit is 15 birds per day. Dove season traditionally opens on either the first Saturday in September or on Labor Day, whichever comes first. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, seasons for migratory game birds cannot begin before Sept. 1.

The two-part season for marsh hens-including king, clapper, sora and Virginia rails-and common moorhens and purple gallinules will be from Sept. 18-22 and Oct. 13-Dec. 16. The daily bag limit for king and/or clapper rails is 15 birds per hunter and moorhens and/or purple gallinules is 15 birds per hunter. The daily limit for sora and/or Virginia rails is 25 birds per hunter. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

The 2012-13 South Carolina season for woodcock will run Dec. 18 to Jan. 31. Three birds per hunter is the daily limit for woodcock. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

The 2012-2013 season for common snipe, also called Wilson’s snipe, will be Nov. 14-Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is eight birds. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

An early season for Canada geese will be Sept. 1-30. This season is statewide. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. The daily bag limit for Canada geese during this early season is 15 birds.

The South Carolina early season for teal will be Sept. 15-30. The daily bag limit is four birds. Shooting hours are sunrise until sunset (not 30 minutes before sunrise, as with other migratory bird seasons).

Category II waterfowl areas will be open for hunting during teal and Canada goose seasons.

South Carolina migratory bird hunters age 16 and older must have a state hunting license and a free migratory bird permit. Additionally, participants in the September Canada Goose season and the early teal season must have the Federal Waterfowl Stamp and SC Waterfowl Permit. Completion of an approved hunter education course is mandatory for resident and nonresident South Carolina hunters born after June 30, 1979, to purchase a license, and voluntary for older and younger hunters.

These and other DNR press releases are also available at www.dnr.sc.gov.

 

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