Dove hunting season opens soon

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, August 17, 2021

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Wildlife Commission offers regulatory and safety reminders 

RALEIGH — The 2021-22 hunting season for mourning and white-winged doves opens on Sept. 4. This is big news for hunters who enjoy hunting migratory birds. It’s also an opportunity for officials from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to remind novice and new hunters the importance of being properly licensed, observing state and federal laws and following safe hunting practices.

All migratory game bird hunters are required to have a certification in the Federal Harvest Information Program (HIP). Hunters can purchase or renew their license and obtain their HIP Certification online at for immediate use in the field. Licenses can also be purchased through a wildlife service agent or by phone at 888-248-6834, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Dove hunting season will be separated into three segments: Sept. 4 through Oct. 2, Nov. 6 through Nov. 27 and Dec. 9 through Jan. 31. All hunters must follow applicable migratory game bird licensing requirements and hunting regulations.

The daily bag limit is 15 mourning or white-winged doves, either as single species or combined, and shooting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Hunting of migratory game birds by any method is not allowed on Sundays.

It is a violation of state and federal law to take migratory game birds with the use or aid of salt, grain, fruit or any other bait. Additionally, hunters need to be aware that an area is considered baited for 10 days following the removal of all salt, grain or other feed.

Migratory gamebirds may be hunted in agricultural areas where grain has been distributed as the result of normal agricultural operations. Information regarding agriculture and planting techniques may be obtained from a local N.C. State Extension Service Center. Visit the agency’s website to view an interactive map of game land dove fields.

As always, safety is a priority when hunting. The Wildlife Commission offers a variety of hunter safety courses and its Home from the Hunt campaign offers hunter’s online resources focused on being safe during time spent outdoors.

The Commission advises dove hunters to follow these safety tips:

  • Adhere to established safe zones of fire.
  • Ensure you have the correct ammunition for your firearm.
  • Keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • Do not shoot at low-flying birds.
  • Do not place decoys on utility lines.

For more information on mourning doves, visit Download the 2021-22 North Carolina Regulations Digest online at for additional hunting, fishing and trapping season dates and regulations.