CDFW (California Department of Fish and Wildlife) maintains many of the most popular wildlife areas where eager hunters will enjoy some of the best dove hunting in the nation. In fact, dove hunting in California is one of the most popular hunting seasons in the state.
Mourning and white-winged dove are the most prevalent throughout the state, and hunters can collect a bag limit of 15 per day. Hunters are limited to 10 white-winged doves per day, however. Once hunters hit 45, that’s as much as they can take on the season.
Owning your own land or knowing someone who owns plenty of land is helpful because hunting in California can get pretty expensive. California also maintains banded birds, which hunters have to report.
Dove Hunting in California
Do You Need a License to Hunt Dove in California
You do have to have a hunting license in the state of California if you want to legally dove hunt. California is like most states. They have several licenses available for purchase depending on your residential status, age, and various other factors.
|Resident Hunting License||$54.00|
|Nonresident Hunting License||$188.74|
|Junior Hunting License||$14.30|
|One-Day, Nonresident Hunting License||$25.92|
|Two-Day Nonresident Hunting License||$54.00|
|Disabled Veteran Reduced Fee Hunting License||$8.24|
|Recovering Service Member Reduced Fee Hunting License||$8.24|
|Duplicate Hunting License||$11.88|
While the licenses are one thing, it doesn’t stop there. If you’re on your own land and you have enough of it for dove hunting, you’re good to go. Everyone else has to cover an Upland Game Bird Variation Fee of $21.60.
Then there are the single-day passes for state-operated hunting areas. Since that’s where the dove hunting is really good, it’s a pass that most hunters will pay. The Type A pass, for a single day is $24.33, and for two days, it’s $39.14.
You can purchase season passes for state-operated hunting areas for $183.34 and a Type B season pass for $61.56.
How long is dove hunting season
California is one of the best states in the US for dove hunting because of Imperial Valley in Southern California. Dove hunting season kicks off on September 1 and runs for two weeks, coming to a close on the 15. It opens again on November 13 and runs for a much longer period, ending on December 27.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the season is over, as there is no limitation on spotted dove or ringed turtle doves. Collard doves are open to hunting all year round, but it doesn’t bring the explosive excitement of regular dove hunting season.
Can you bait dove
It’s against federal law to bait doves or any other birds. The only time that it’s legal is if the “bait” in question is a field seeded for agricultural purposes. And it’s only okay if you’re in dove hunting season.
The law is no different in California, and they have their version of the law that follows the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The act was passed into law over a hundred years ago, in 1918, and hasn’t changed since.
Another serious problem is hunters getting caught up in illegal baiting unknowingly. For instance, if someone has illegally baited a field and other hunters arrive, completely unaware of the bait, they are also subject to heavy fines and potential jail time.
According to judicial precedence, hunters “should know” when they’re hunting over an illegally baited field.
Steel shot requirements
Dove hunters in California are allowed to hunt with a 10-gauge or smaller caliber so long as the shotgun holds no more than three shotgun rounds, including one in the chamber.
According to California’s Resident and Migratory Upland Game Bird Hunting Regulations, Section 507, (b), §311, “Shotgun shells may not be used or possessed that contain shot size larger than No. BB”.
California also mandates that all shots should be loose in the shell. No lead shot is allowed.
The bag limit is 15 doves per day. However, you are limited even more to the white-winged doves. No matter what the combination, no more than 10 white-winged doves are allowed per day.
The possession limit, according to California state law, is “triple the daily bag limit.” California doesn’t set a limitation on spotted dove or ringed turtle dove, so you can hunt them as much as you want, all year long.
Last but not least is the Eurasian collared dove. California doesn’t care if you slaughter a thousand of them. There is no limitation on them, and there is not even a hunting season on them. It’s open season on Eurasian collared doves all year long, every year.
Best shot size to use
California makes this one really easy. According to the same law listed and linked above, No. BB is the only shot you are allowed to hunt dove with, and it has to be non-lead. The non-lead thing applies to all firearm ammunition and for any type of hunting in California.
How many rounds can you hunt with
Three is the effective limit. One in the chamber and two in the tube. Fortunately, if you wear a good vest, you will have plenty of shotgun shells ready to go and in easy reach. It’s not much, but California is one of the more heavily regulated states when it comes to firearms.
Dove season is incredibly popular in the state of California, and it’s also a deeply held tradition, especially within certain areas and districts throughout the state. The tradition of dove hunting’s opening day is shared with the entire family.
Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, siblings, cousins, and grandparents head to designated wildlife areas in droves when September 1 rolls around, ready to bag their limit for the day and pass the love for dove hunting down to the next generation.
Hopefully, the tradition will continue to remain strong in Cali, and ten generations from now, the 1st of September will be an exciting moment for migratory bird hunters across the state.
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