While dove hunting in Texas officially kicks off in September, the best time to get your gear on and head out is in late October and early November, when the doves sweep down south from Kansas and flood the Lonestar State.
Texas dove hunting is a rite of passage in many parts of the state and, regardless of your preferred hunting in the fall season and early winter, is accessible to all. Besides, venison is delicious, but there’s nothing quite like dove breast wrapped in bacon and bathed in BBQ.
This is especially true during the college football and NFL season. Dove breast isn’t huge, so it makes an excellent appetizer while you’re screaming at the TV.
What part of Texas has the Best Dove Hunting
The best dove hunting in Texas is divided into three zones—the North Zone, the Central Zone, and the South Zone. Each zone has its own dove season dates.
The North Zone
The first season runs from September 1 to November 12, goes on hold for over a month, and picks back up from December 18 through January 3. The best places in the North Zone depend on where the water is, so you’ll have more luck near ponds, lakes, rivers, etc.
Recently, however, the best places to hunt dove in the North Zone are the Blackland Prairie and the Rolling Plains. Unless you own property out there, ingratiate yourself with the local farmers. You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll be welcomed.
The Central Zone
The first season in the Central Zone is a little shorter, starting on September 1 and running till November 1. It starts back up again on December 18 and runs through to January 14, so you have a longer time on the back end.
The Trans-Pecos Ecoregion is pretty popular for dove hunting in the Central Zone, along with areas around San Antonio. According to the locals, you don’t have to go far outside San Antonio to find ripe dove hunting grounds.
The South Zone
The South starts latest on September 14 and runs till November 1. It picks back up again on December 18 and runs the longest, till January 23. The best dove hunting spot in Texas’ South Zone is the South Texas Plain.
Of the three zones, the South Zone is considered to be the best zone in Texas for dove hunting.
How much is a dove hunt in Texas
It depends on where you go. It won’t cost you anything extra if you are dove hunting on your own land, except for the hunting license and the Texas Migratory Game Bird Endorsement. A hunting license in Texas is $25 for residents, and the endorsement is an additional $7.
If you’re joining a guided or partially guided hunt, it can cost anywhere between $400 and $1,000, depending on the company providing the tour. If you want to save some money, however, it’s best to hit up some local farmers for the price of sharing your bounty.
The bag limit, like the dove hunting seasons, is determined by the zone you’re hunting in. For 2022, the bag limit is the same in all three zones at 15 doves. Of the 15, you can’t bag any more than two white-winged doves.
It’s subject to change from year to year, but you can go to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department before the start of the season and check what the bag limits will be for the upcoming seasons. They keep it regularly updated along with offering some good tips for dove hunting in general.
Texas dove hunting season is pretty popular every year, and some of the brands that offer guided and partially guided tours make an absolute killing. For those willing to pay the exorbitant prices, it’s a blast to be a part of.
For those who don’t have that kind of money, you can hunt dove on your own land during dove hunting season, provided you have a Texas hunting license and the appropriate endorsement.
For everyone else, it’s good to be an extrovert. Talk with your local farmers and work something out. It’s not uncommon at all for farmers to welcome hunters onto their land for a few annual dove hunts.
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