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Find Your Happy Hunting Grounds: The Best Dove Hunting in Texas

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The birds await and dove season calls your name! So you’ve been sighting in your guns, you’ve nailed down the size of shot that works best for your needs, and you’ve been stocking up on your ammo. You’ve gone out to your buddy’s place and have been repping practice shots on the clay targets. Now you’re almost ready to hunt. All that’s left is to make sure you choose the perfect location. Unsure of how to find your happy hunting grounds in the Lone Star State? Not to worry, the opportunities and accessibility are plentiful. Plus, 2020 may have helped you out with ample rain and great growth for dove habitat.

Texas is divided into three zones for dove hunting: the North Zone, the Central Zone, and the South Zone. You can check out the zone map if you need more clarification. Each zone has its own regulations and dates, along with different distributions of legal game birds.

Before heading out to your happy hunting grounds, take the final step in ensuring you enjoy the best dove hunting season possible and explore all that Guns.com has to offer. From a wide selection of great pump-action and semi-auto shotguns, down to money-saving deals on all the ammo you could ever shoot, Guns.com has the Texas hunter covered.

The North Zone:

Find Your Happy Hunting Grounds: The Best Dove Hunting in Texas

Photo: @ventureonmom via Twenty20

The first season in the North Zone starts on September 1 and runs to November 12. The second season, if you’re still aching for more action, starts up again on December 18 and ends on January 3. The bag limit in the North Zone will be 15 birds, and of those, you can’t harvest more than two White-tipped doves.

State biologists have recorded surprising increases in the number of birds in the Blackland Prairie and Rolling Plains ecoregions. Both of these sites fall in the North Zone. Biologists have also found that in recent years, increasingly, the birds are nesting in proximity to urban areas.

If you don’t have access to a lease, consider asking a farmer for permission to hunt on his fields a few miles outside of your city. The birds will be there waiting. Remember, a spot close to a watering hole will increase your odds.

The Central Zone:

Find Your Happy Hunting Grounds: The Best Dove Hunting in Texas

Photo: @dgbegg via Twenty20

The first season in the Central Zone starts on September 1 and runs to November 1. The second season, if you just can’t get enough, resumes on December 18, 2020, and ends on January 14, 2021. The bag limit in the Central Zone will be 15 birds, and of those, you can’t harvest more than two White-tipped doves.

According to biologists’ records, the Trans-Pecos ecoregion in the Western quadrant of the Central Zone is boasting an influx of birds. Ample rains in the area throughout the spring and summer have made it a ripe habitat. It also might be an area not traditionally hunted as heavily and could prove to be a bit of a “secret spot” for you.

Much like the North Zone in recent years, many hunters have found success in agricultural fields only miles outside of major urban areas. Wingshooters traveling a few minutes any direction out of Austin and north of the San Antonio have reported great day hunts. Again, if you don’t have a lease, look into some farmland on the edge of your city. You might get lucky and find the perfect spot for your happy hunting grounds!

The South Zone:

Find Your Happy Hunting Grounds: The Best Dove Hunting in Texas

Photo: @melissadoar via Twenty20

The first season in the South Zone starts on September 14 and runs to November 1. The second season, if you need to get your fix, shoots off again on December 18, 2020, and ends on January 23, 2021. The bag limit in the South Zone will be 15 birds, and of those, you can’t harvest more than two White-tipped doves.

Due to higher populations of White-winged doves, the South Zone features specials days to hunt these birds. The dates are September 5, 6, 12, and 13. You’ll be able to have a 15 total bird limit with no more than two White-tipped doves and two Mourning doves in your bag on these days.

The South Texas Plain in the South Zone is traditionally regarded as the best zone in Texas to go for a hunt. The area provides what is typically thought of as perfect habitat for a variety of game birds. 2019 was a dismal season for many hunters in this zone due to large amounts of rainfall during the season, and there were many weekend hunts rained out in the Corpus Christi area as a result. Back in 2017, the South Zone took an unexpected hit when unprecedented rains from Hurricane Harvey resulted in mass flooding, and ultimately, a change in the migration patterns of their usual birds.

Experts are expecting to reignite a good season in the South Zone for 2020. Ample amounts of spring and early summer rain has the zone primed for a perfect 2020 season. Hunters have their hopes high as they look for the zone to return to its glory days. Check out Guns.com for all your guns and gear, then head out to your new happy hunting grounds in the Lone Star State!